International Military Statistics

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The United States’ number of nuclear warheads and military expenditures as a percent of total government expenditures are the most intriguing statistics on this page.

  Milex as a percent of GDP Milex as a percent of central government expeditures Percent of total arms exports Country rank Arms and ammunition exports Arms and ammunition imports Nuclear Warheads % of world arms market to developing countries
Australia 1.9 7.16   Not in top 20 75 889 0  
Canada 1.5 6.28 1 14 276 188 0  
Denmark 1.5 4.22   Not in top 20 23 69 0 *
France 2.3 5.39 6 4 1,139 149 300 3.78
Germany 1.4 4.34 7 3 1,193 183 0 0.00
Italy 1.7 4.50 2 8 847 215 0 1.54
Japan 1.0 6.42   Not in top 20 Not in top 50 239 0  
Netherlands 1.4 3.96 2 11 740 260 0 *
Norway 1.5 4.83 1 15 169 163 0 *
Sweden 1.3 4.31 2 12 496 228 0 *
United Kingdom 2.6 6.31 4 6 863 598 225 0.42
United States 4.8 19.26 30 1 8,760 1,297 7,700 78.74


View SISPRI statistics

Military expenditure as a percent of GDP View Graphical Data

Military expenditure as a percent of central government expenditure View Graphical Data

For 2012. US military expenditure is larger than that of all other nations combined, has doubled since the mid 1990s, and is, in 2012, the highest since World War II. In 2007 US milex was about 57 percent of the world total. U.S. figure has increased by 17% since from 2010 to 2012. The budget for Iraq and Afghanistan is not in the military budget but in supplementary appropriations totaling more than the military spending of Russia plus China. The true cost includes not only regular and supplemental appropriations for the Department of Defense, but also the nuclear warhead program of the Dept. of Energy, the foreign military assistance program of the Dept. of State, extra incentives for a volunteer military, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, defense activities of the Dept. of Homeland Security, paramilitary activities of the FBI, the military retirement fund of Dept. of the Treasury, military activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and interest payments on debt caused by military spending. We don't know how much of this is included in the SIPRI estimate. Chalmers Johnson estimates the 2008 total at $1.1 trillion ($1,100,000,000,000). (TomDispatch, Jan. 22, 2008) About 30 to 40 percent of the budget is "black," i.e., classified spending hidden in other parts of the budget. Most web estimates leave out hunks of the US milex, but they also are simplistic for other countries as well. See also Chalmers Johnson's "Going bankrupt: Why the debt crisis is now the greatest threat to the American Republic," TomDispatch, Jan. 22, 2008.

Percent of total arms exports View Graphical Data

Country rank View Graphical Data

Percent of total arms exports and country rank, for 2008 to 2012: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Others: Russia #2; China #5; Ukraine #10.  Russia combined with the US total well over 50% of the world total.

Required citation from SIPRI: Information from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),

Arms and ammunitions importas and exports for 2012, in 1990 constant prices.

Arms and ammunition exports View Graphical Data

Arms and ammunitions imports View Graphical Data

View FAS nuclear warhead statisticsView Graphical Data

"More than two decades after the Cold War ended, the world's combined inventory of nuclear warheads remains at a very high level: more than 17,000. Of these, some 4,300 warheads are considered operational, of which about 1,800 US and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice. Despite significant reductions in US, Russian, French and British nuclear forces compared with Cold War levels, all the nuclear weapon states continue to modernize their remaining nuclear forces and appear committed to retaining nuclear weapons for the indefinite future." FAS note on U.S.: "In addition to the nearly 4,650 warheads in the military stockpile, approximately 3,000 retired warheads are awaiting dismantlement. In addition, more than 15,000 plutonium cores (pits) and some 5,000 Canned Assemblies (secondaries) from dismantled warheads are in storage at the Pantex Plant in Texas and Y-12 plant in Tennessee."

View CRS arms trade reportView Graphical Data

Arms transfer agreements with developing nations, by supplier for 1999-2006. Russia is not covered on this site, but owns the second highest percent of the market at 5.73%. *Asterisk represents European countries other than France, UK, Germany, or Italy for which report gives a combined percentage of 3.36. Conventional Arms Transfers to developing Nations, 1999-2006. September 26, 2007. PDF p. 93.


"US is top purveyor on weapons sales list," Bryan Bender

Nov. 13, 2006. The Boston Globe. From Congressional Research Service annual report on weapons sold abroad. 2005, US$, millions.

U.S. 1st in weapons sales in 2005, $18,100 million, 45.8% of total; UK sold 13%; Russia sold 15%. U.S. transferred weapons to 18 of the 25 countries where there is ongoing war, 13 of the 25 were defined undemocratic

In 2005 the United States spent 4.70% of its GDP on weapons, 2.64 times as much as the European Union had spent (1.78%). However, Mark Burgess critiques EU defense spending efficiency in his article, "The State of the (European) Union" (The Defense Monitor, March/April 2008). Burgess notes that the EU, altogether are spending too little, with several countries "freeloading" on other member states who carry most of the defensive budget.

"Global Weapons Spending Hits Record Levels," Richard Nixon-Taylor

June 8, 2009, The Guardian UK. As the United States position as the top military spender remains solid, as of 2008 China has moved up to the second highest spender. According to Richard Norton-Taylor, Over the past ten years global military spending has increased 45% with the United States accounting for over half of thatincrease. Britain's military has experienced a decrease, allowing the country to fall from 2nd to fourth behind the U.S., China, and France.

"United States Re-emerges as Leading Arms Supplier to the Developing World," Rachel Stohl

December 30th, 2008, Center for Defense Information. Stohl reviews the United States arm exports to developing countries dduring a two year period as they had been topped by Russia in 2006 but only to regain the spot in 2008. Of the $60 billion dollars in global arms sales in 2007, the United States was responsible for $24.8 billion of those sales.

Web resources:

Needed indicators:

Military Industrial Complex: Percent of manufacturing plant and equipment used for military purposes. (Chalmers Johnson reports 83 percent for 1990.)

Percent of research used for military.

Cumulative defense spending over long period.