Last year, total world military expenditure rose to a shocking $1.8 billion, the highest level it has been since records began 30 years ago.
According to the new annual report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the 2.6 increase from 2017 was alrgely attributed to an increase in military spending by two leading superpowers: the United States and China.
U.S. military spending was particularly robust, rising for the first time in seven years to reach $649 billion. U.S. military expenditure along accounted for 36 percent of total global military spending, as much as the next eight biggest-spending countries combined.
China followed the United States with a five percent rice to $250 billion, making 2018 the 24th consecutive annual increase.
According to SIPRI, global military spending has gradually risen following a post-2009 low in 2014. It is now 76 percent higher than in the post-cold war low in 1998.
The top ten countries with the highest military spending, in order, are the United States, China, Saudi Arabia ($67.6 billion), India ($66.5 billion), France ($63.8 billion), Russia ($61.4 billion), United Kingdom ($50 billion), Germany ($49.5 billion), Japan ($46.6 billion), and South Korea ($43.1 billion). The countries remain the same from last years top ten, though in a slightly different order.
Notably, although Saudi Arabia decreased its military spending from the previous year, the country still leads the world as the biggest spender per capita.
“The increase in U.S. spending was driven by the implementation from 2017 of new arms procurement program under the Trump administration,” Aude Fleurant, director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) program, said in a statement.
SIPRI expects the trend to continue, particularly in the U.S. where the Trump Administration has implemented a “a new modernization program of the military that will start in 2019 or 2020” that is in the region of $1.8 trillion of the next 20 years.