Who Has the Biggest Defense Budget?

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Who has the biggest defense budget?

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According to a new report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Saudi Arabia devotes the greatest percentage of its GDP (some 10.5 percent) to defense. The U.S. comes in second at a little over 4.5 percent. China sizes up at under 2 percent of its GDP. The U.S. continues to spend the most in absolute dollars, accounting for 60 percent of the world's total defense spending.

IISS goes on to argue that despite the massive preponderance of defense spending, the trend lines point to a shift in power away from the West:

These further emphasise the key theme that while the military sector in the West is, overall, contracting as a result of financial constraints, elsewhere the picture is often quite different. Many states are seeking to translate their economic strength into military power which they may then use in support of national goals ranging from protecting their energy supplies to asserting territorial claims.

How quickly the global redistribution of military spending and procurement will translate into useful military capability will vary according to national circumstances. However, it is already clear that as a result of shifts in the global distribution of economic power and consequently the resources available for military spending, the United States and other Western powers are losing their monopoly in key areas of defence technology, including stealth aircraft, unmanned systems – and cyber warfare.

Among the fastest ways to national insolvency is for the U.S. to attempt to sustain across the board dominance in a world of rapidly growing economies.

(AP Photo)

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