Global Military Spending at Record High with Europe Leading the Way

A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to announce Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023 that his government will approve supplying German-made battle tanks to Ukraine. The …
AP Photo/Michael Sohn

The world has never spent so much on military muscle. Figures released Monday show $2.24 trillion was outlaid globally in 2022 with Europe leading the way due to Ukraine’s demands for continued supplies of battlefield hardware.

Spending overall rose for the eighth consecutive year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annual report on global military expenditure.

There was a 13 percent rise in Europe, the steepest in at least 30 years, coming on the back of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and broader insecurity around the world.

Some of the sharpest increases were seen in Finland (+36 percent), Lithuania (+27 percent), Sweden (+12 percent) and Poland (+11 percent).

“The continuous rise in global military expenditure in recent years is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world,” Nan Tian, senior researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said.

WATCH: GOP Rep. Garcia — Ukraine Aid Can’t Be at the Expense of our Security

“States are bolstering military strength in response to a deteriorating security environment, which they do not foresee improving in the near future.”

Overall the United States remains by far the world’s biggest military spender.

U.S. military spending reached $877 billion in 2022, which was 39 percent of total global military spending and three times more than the amount spent by China, the world’s second largest spender.

The 0.7 percent real-terms increase in U.S. spending in 2022 would have been even greater had it not been for the highest levels of inflation since 1981.

‘The increase in the USA’s military spending in 2022 was largely accounted for by the unprecedented level of financial military aid it provided to Ukraine,” Nan Tian continued.

“Given the scale of U.S. spending, even a minor increase in percentage terms has a significant impact on the level of global military expenditure.”

The report set out a list of other notable developments:

  • The real-terms increase in world military spending in 2022 was slowed by the effects of inflation, which in many countries soared to levels not seen for decades. In nominal terms (i.e. in current prices without adjusting for inflation), the global total increased by 6.5 percent.
  • India’s military spending of $81.4 billion was the fourth highest in the world. It was 6.0 percent more than in 2021.
  • In 2022 military spending by Saudi Arabia, the fifth biggest military spender, rose by 16 percent to reach an estimated $75.0 billion, its first increase since 2018.
  • Nigeria’s military spending fell by 38 per cent to $3.1 billion, after a 56 per cent increase in spending in 2021.
  • Military spending by NATO members totalled $1232 billion in 2022, which was 0.9 percent higher than in 2021.
  • The United Kingdom had the highest military spending in Central and Western Europe at $68.5 billion, of which an estimated $2.5 billion (3.6 percent) was financial military aid to Ukraine.
  • In 2022 Turkey’s military spending fell for the third year in a row, reaching $10.6 billion—a decrease of 26 percent from 2021.
  • Ethiopia’s military spending rose by 88 per cent in 2022, to reach $1.0 billion. The increase coincided with a renewed government offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the north of the country.

The think tank said military spending in Ukraine surged more than six times to $44bn in 2022, the highest single-year increase in a country’s military expenditure ever recorded in SIPRI data.

Meanwhile Russian military spending grew by an estimated 9.2 percent in 2022 to around $86.4 billion.

This was equivalent to 4.1 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, up from 3.7 percent of GDP in 2021.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.