Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Nora, 24, from Washington, D.C., stands outside of the White House on January 8, 2020. (Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Nora, 24, from Washington, D.C., stands outside of the White House on January 8, 2020.  (Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Fueled by US Under Trump, Global Military Spending in 2019 Had Biggest Increase in a Decade

The amount the United States increased in defense spending between 2018 and 2019 was nearly the same as the United Kingdom's entire defense budget.

Andrea Germanos

2019 saw the biggest increase in global military spending in a decade, according to data published Friday, which also showed the United States ramping up war expenditures under President Donald Trump.

The findings are from The Military Balance 2020, the latest annual assessment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) formally launched at the Munich Security Conference.

According to the report, which measures over 170 countries, global defense spending rose 4% in 2019 compared to 2018 amid "an unstable international security environment." 

The U.S. continued to claim top spot in military expenditures, spending $638 billion in 2019. China was the second biggest spender at $185 billion. Both countries' spending grew 6.6% compared to the prior year.

But, "the trajectory of the two states' defense spending is diverging," wrote Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, IISS research fellow for Defence Economics and Procurement, in a related blog post. "The budget increase in the U.S. was the largest in 10 years, and spending has increased year-on-year since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. While spending is still rising in China, the pace of growth is decelerating." As a result, the spending gap between the two countries has widened.

The U.S. increase alone of $53.4 billion, the report added, was roughly on par with Britain's entire defense budget.

The increased U.S. spending came as the country "is simultaneously reducing its financial assistance to allies' defence budgets," Béraud-Sudreau added.

Among the factors the report linked to the environment of uncertainty are the collapse of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the unclear fate of the New START treaty, the Islamic State (ISIS), and the ongoing war in Yemen.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Political Malpractice': House Democrats' Bill Wouldn't Add Dental to Medicare Until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

Jake Johnson ·


'How Many More Deaths Must It Take?' Barbados Leader Rips Rich Nations in Fierce UN Speech

"How many more variants of Covid-19 must arrive, how many more, before a worldwide plan for vaccinations will be implemented?"

Jake Johnson ·


To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Kill the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo