U.S. Defense Spending Vs. Global Defense Spending

By Sarah Tully

According to the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database 2015, in 2014, the U.S. approved $609.9 billion in defense budget authority (fiscal year 2014 dollars). This figure includes funding for the Pentagon base budget, money allocated for the Pentagon in the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, and defense related activities in the 050 budget function. It also includes Department of Energy-administered atomic energy defense activities.

This number accounts for 34 percent of total global military spending and puts the U.S. far above any potential adversary. The next closest country, China, comes in at $216.4 billion, or 12 percent of total global military spending. That means the U.S. spends nearly three times as much on defense than China, and more than seven times what Russia spends. Last year, the U.S. spent more on defense than the next seven countries combined, five of which are allies.

While U.S. spending is down since peak expenditure in 2010, the total defense spending for 2014 was only $11 billion less than in 2006, when we were fully engaged in two wars overseas.

Global Total: $1.78 Trillion

Global Military Spending

Top Five Spenders on Defense (in billions of current U.S. dollars)

Top Five World Military Spenders

U.S. vs. Global Military Spending (in billions of current U.S. dollars)

U.S. vs. World Military Spending

2006-2014 Defense Expenditure (in billions of constant 2011 U.S. dollars)

Country or Region 2006 Spending 2007 Spending 2008 Spending 2009 Spending 2010 Spending 2011 Spending 2012 Spending 2013 Spending 2014 Spending
United States (including war and nuclear) 589 604 649 701 720 711 671 618 587
Asia and Oceana 276 297 313 349 356 371 388 403 423
*Middle East 123 130 131 137 142 147 156 172 181
Africa 26.2 27.2 31.0 32.5 34.6 38.9 40.4 43.9 46.5
America (minus U.S.) 76 81 88 92 95 94 97 100 99
Global Total 1464 1522 1604 1712 1738 1744 1740 1719 1711


Figures in red indicate that more than 10% of the total figure consists of estimates for countries for which data is missing.
*Middle East total from SIPRI data release (which is slightly higher than the time-consistent 1988-2014 series.)

2010-2014 Defense Expenditure (in billions of constant U.S. dollars)

 World Military Spending Over Time

Countries of Interest (in billions of current U.S. dollars)

Country 2014 Spending
Afghanistan 0.27
Australia 25.4
Brazil 31.7
Canada 17.5
China 216.4
France 62.3
Germany 46.5
India 50
Iran **
Iraq 9.5
Israel 15.9
Italy 30.9
Japan 45.8
Jordan 1.3
Libya 3.3
North Korea 0.83
Oman 9.6
Pakistan 8.5
Russia 84.54
Saudia Arabia 80.8
South Korea 36.7
Taiwan 10.2
UAE 22.8
United Kingdom 60.5
United States* 609.9
Venezuela 5.6
Yemen 1.7
*Includes war and nuclear spending.
** Data unavailable.
1 Note that two different figures are used throughout the analysis; the historical data is listed in constant 2011 dollars while the data for 2014 is in current dollars.
2 There is no agreed-upon international definition for “defense expenditure.” Many countries count spending differently and, in some cases, a lack of transparency makes it difficult to estimate expenditures.
3 The Asia and Oceana region includes Central & South Asia, East Asia, and Oceania. Europe includes Russia and Eastern, Western, and Central Europe, butbut does not include Turkey. The Middle East region does not include North Africa but does include Turkey Africa includes Sub-Saharan and North Africa Americas includes Central America & the Caribbean, South America, and North America minus the United States.