Having a powerful military has always proven to be the key for the development of any nation. Right from the middle ages, nations have spent a considerable amount of money in maintaining and developing an active army. Since, investment in the army helps keep order, and research advance equipment, that are both beneficial to the army and the nation. Unlike the past, military expenditure is mainly done with the tax payer’s money – almost directly. So, a strong economy supports a powerful army and vice versa; also, now the people have a rather direct influence on how large an army is to be maintained. Hence, the military expenditure of each nation depends largely on the government policies and the GDP of the nation. Here we list the ten countries that have the highest military spending based on the percentage GDP used for the military budget. The list is maintained by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) based on the amount of money spent on the army in a given year; and here are the top spenders.
Brazil has steadily developed its military prowess right from the Second World War; though an active participant in the Second World War, Brazil heavily depended upon its allies to provide it with ammunitions and armaments. With the cut down of its supply routes during the war, the nation struggled to hold the fort. Since then, Brazil has come a long way into developing into a powerful militaristic nation, funding its own research and military industries. With over, 327,710 active personnel, Brazil has the largest army in Latin America; its annual military budged is US$ 28.07 Billion. Fielding such an army, Brazil almost exclusively uses it mostly for Civic action programs and maintaining internal order since there are no actual threats to Brazil. Brazil has also been an active participant in the UN peace keeping missions around the globe.
The Germans have always known to be fearsome warriors right from the medieval times. The German army is one of the oldest armies in the world; also their technological advancements have always helped them to be a formidable force. Though embracing a dark history, the present army of the Federal Republic of Germany – the Bundeswehr – is the 9th largest spender in the world in terms of military expenditure. The army is one of the world’s most technologically advanced and best supplied militaries. The country spends approximately 1.3% of it GDP on military expenditure, which is the lowest military budgets in the world in terms of share of GDP. Approximately 31.5 Billion euros are allocated for military budget for maintaining its 190,517 strong military personnel and for its research and development activities.
8. Saudi Arabia
The only nation form the Middle East to feature in the top ten military spenders – Saudi Arabia is one of the largest importers of military armaments. The Saudi Arabian military is commanded by the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, which is representative of the populace. Though the Saudi Arabian Guard is directly controlled by the Prince – Mutaib Bin Abdullah. With over 200,000 active personnel, the Saudi Arabian military is one of the most densely armed nations. It spends over $48.2 Billion annually on its military budget, with the second highest percentage share of GDP of 11.4% annually. The major suppliers of the army are US, France and Britain; with US alone selling $80 billion worth of armaments to the country, the highest in history.
The Indian army is the 3rd largest army in the world by number, with a force of 1,325,000 active armed personal. The Indian army is headed by the President, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces. The democratic influence on the army is represented by the Defense council, headed by the Defense minister, who is also a member of the parliament. The Indian army is the World’s largest importer of armaments, importing supplies majorly from Russia and Israel. The army has planned for a future spending of $112 billion, on the modernization of the military and its advancement. The country spends $48.9 billion annually with $50 billion spent almost exclusively on new equipment in the last five years. The percentage GDP spent on the military budget is 2.5%, which is considerably high with respect to its populace.
The Unified Military Forces of Japan was formed shortly after the end of the Second World War. Though majorly constricted from performing operation overseas, the Japanese army has shown tremendous military prowess in terms of technological advancements. The nation currently spends 3% of its GDP on the military budget, and allocates $58.9 billion annually in maintaining its armed forces. The major of its funds are invested on the technological development and maintenance of the military. In recent years, the Japanese have played a played a major role in NATO operations, with joint military exercises overseas.
France has a military history of over 2000 years, participating in numerous battles right from the medieval times. The French armed forces are headed by the President of The Republic of France who has the sole authority to launch or initiate any military action. The French army comprises of 230,628 active military personnel with an annual spending of over 44.788 billion euros. The French army plays a crucial role in NATO operations, participating in both inland and overseas operations. France is also one the biggest exporters of armaments, supporting its expansive military industry.
4. United Kingdom
The British armed forces consist of the armies of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, headed by the British Monarch. Though the commander in Chief is the British Monarch, the supply to the army and funds are directed only on consent with the parliament, which allows the maintenance of a standing army. Hence, the Prime minister has the defacto authority, accompanied by the ministry of defense. The British armed forces comprises of 220,350 active personnel, with an annual expenditure of $62.7 billion on their maintenance and development. The Nation spends 2.6% GDP on its military, and one of the five recognized nuclear powers of the world.
After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian armed forces suffered a serious setback, followed by years of stagnation. As a major part of its troops posted in pre-Soviet dissolution swore loyalty to their new ruling nation, the size of the Russian armed forces considerably reduced. Growing steadily, the military was put back to its former glory by the resurgence of the oil industry and backup of the economic growth. The Russian armed forces spend $71.2 billion annually on its armed forces, which consists of 1,040,000 active personnel. The percentage GDP expenditure is 3.2% which is planned to be increased further. Plans have also been announced to purchase $640 billion worth of armaments for the current army.
2. People’s Republic of China
Fielding the largest army on the entire planet by number of troops, the People liberation army is one of the top spenders on its military budget. With a compulsory military service, having the world’s largest army is not a big deal for the Chinese; yet it manages masterfully to maintain a modernized army with advanced equipment. The Military expenditure has grown 10% annually like clockwork for over the last 15 years. It mainly focuses on modernizing the army, and on the research of advanced technologies for new weaponry. In 2012 alone, the Chinese central military commission has spent over 106.4 billion US dollars on military. To maintain its active personnel of 2,285,000, the government spends just 1.46% of its GDP.
1. United States of America
The united stated armed forces spends annually over 660 billion US dollars on its military forces, which is more than 43% of the entire world’s military expenditure. So, it comes as no surprise that the US, tops the list of highest military spenders in the world. It spends a whopping $160 billion on its overseas contingency operations alone, which is higher than the second largest spender – the People Liberation army. The major funding is done for the procurement and development of advanced and powerful machinery, which is roughly over $549.3 billion in a year. It spends 4.9% of its GDP share in maintaining and paying the armed forces and carrying out its overseas operation. It fields 1,456,862 active personnel and is the second largest army in the world; with its highly advanced weaponry, its monumental military expenditure and strategically outposts both inland and overseas; it’s the most powerful military at present.