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Global Arms Firms See Sales Decline

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The global arms industry saw its dollar sales decline in 2011, down five percent from 2010, according to new data from the Stockholm Institute (China is excluded from Stockholm's research due to a lack of available data). It's the first such drop since 1994.

The Institute has created a "top 100" in the global arms and military services industry. Of those, there are 44 American firms responsible for 60 percent of total arms sales. There are 30 Western European companies which account for 29 percent of all sales.

In total, the top 100 firms generated $410 billion in sales in 2011.

So why did arms sales dip? Stockholm cited the impact of austerity budgets in Europe and the draw downs in both Iraq and Afghanistan as driving factors.

The world is not engaging in a rush of disarmament, however. Since 2002, Stockholm notes that arms sales by its top 100 firms grew 51 percent. A five percent year-over-year declines seems rather modest in comparison.

(AP Photo)