Military

This Country Has the Largest Defense Budget, and It's Not Even Close: The Top 25 Ranked

Photo by Abid Katib / Getty Images

The United States, China and Russia rank as some of the strongest militaries in the world and a large part of this is because they spend the most on their respective militaries. It’s no secret that how much countries spend on their militaries corresponds to their standing on the world stage. Here, 24/7 Wall St. is taking a closer look at which countries spend the most on their militaries. (See how the U.S. military budget has skyrocketed over the years.)

To identify the countries with the biggest defense budgets, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2024 Military Strength Ranking from Global Firepower, an annually updated defense-related statistics website with information on 145 countries. Countries were ordered according to their defense budgets. We included supplemental information regarding total personnel, total population, aircraft, vehicles, as well as each country’s overall military strength score.

Russia ranks near the top of this list as a big spender, with much of these funds currently dedicated to its ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Although there was a slow start to the conflict and it initially looked like neither side was budging, Russia has proven successful in recent months in maintaining a hold on territories that it is claiming as its own. Much of this can be attributed to its targeted spending on its military.

On the other hand, the United States spends the most of any country in the world on its military. In fact, it spends more than the next ten nations combined on their respective militaries. Much of this spending goes to keeping U.S. forces outfitted with the most technologically advanced gear, aircraft and vehicles. (These are the U.S. military’s most expensive weapons programs, ranked.)

Across the board, these military budgets go towards paying soldiers, buying new assets, and maintaining current arsenals. With geopolitical tensions at all-time highs, this military spending may come into play sooner than later.

Here is a look at the countries with the largest defense budgets:

Why Are We Covering This?

Source: bwilking / Getty Images

Understanding the defense budgets for different countries gives context to their military capabilities. Outfitting troops with the newest technology costs money, but it also acts as a force multiplier. So there is a balance that must be struck by countries with limited budgets on what they can afford to get the most bang for their buck.

25. Mexico

Source: Joel Carillet / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $14.82 billion
  • Total population: 129,875,529
  • Total military personnel: 630,655
  • Total military aircraft: 462
  • Total military vehicles: 17,601
  • Total naval vessels: 194
  • Military strength score: 0.4274 – #31 out of 145

24. United Arab Emirates

  • Defense budget: $15.50 billion
  • Total population: 9,973,449
  • Total military personnel: 207,000
  • Total military aircraft: 560
  • Total military vehicles: 12,253
  • Total naval vessels: 79
  • Military strength score: 0.8083 – #51 out of 145

23. Taiwan

Source: presidentialoffice / Flickr

  • Defense budget: $19.10 billion
  • Total population: 23,588,613
  • Total military personnel: 2,580,000
  • Total military aircraft: 750
  • Total military vehicles: 19,868
  • Total naval vessels: 93
  • Military strength score: 0.3302 – #24 out of 145

22. Algeria

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Defense budget: $21.60 billion
  • Total population: 44,758,398
  • Total military personnel: 610,000
  • Total military aircraft: 605
  • Total military vehicles: 35,990
  • Total naval vessels: 213
  • Military strength score: 0.3589 – #26 out of 145

21. Spain

Source: ManuelVelasco / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $22.00 billion
  • Total population: 47,222,613
  • Total military personnel: 226,902
  • Total military aircraft: 513
  • Total military vehicles: 15,046
  • Total naval vessels: 168
  • Military strength score: 0.2882 – #20 out of 145

20. Venezuela

Source: Oscar Sabetta / Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $24.12 billion
  • Total population: 30,518,260
  • Total military personnel: 337,000
  • Total military aircraft: 242
  • Total military vehicles: 14,966
  • Total naval vessels: 32
  • Military strength score: 0.9447 – #57 out of 145

19. Israel

Source: Joel Carillet / E+ via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $24.40 billion
  • Total population: 9,043,387
  • Total military personnel: 670,000
  • Total military aircraft: 612
  • Total military vehicles: 43,407
  • Total naval vessels: 67
  • Military strength score: 0.2596 – #17 out of 145

18. Brazil

Source: pabst_ell / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $24.75 billion
  • Total population: 218,689,757
  • Total military personnel: 900,000
  • Total military aircraft: 628
  • Total military vehicles: 44,044
  • Total naval vessels: 134
  • Military strength score: 0.1944 – #12 out of 145

17. Indonesia

  • Defense budget: $25.00 billion
  • Total population: 279,476,346
  • Total military personnel: 1,050,000
  • Total military aircraft: 474
  • Total military vehicles: 11,604
  • Total naval vessels: 333
  • Military strength score: 0.2251 – #13 out of 145

16. Canada

Source: Arseniy45 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $26.50 billion
  • Total population: 38,516,736
  • Total military personnel: 100,500
  • Total military aircraft: 375
  • Total military vehicles: 18,054
  • Total naval vessels: 67
  • Military strength score: 0.3813 – #27 out of 145

15. Italy

Source: naphtalina / iStock via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $31.60 billion
  • Total population: 61,021,855
  • Total military personnel: 289,000
  • Total military aircraft: 800
  • Total military vehicles: 61,892
  • Total naval vessels: 309
  • Military strength score: 0.1863 – #10 out of 145

14. Poland

Source: Kamila Kozioł / iStock via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $38.36 billion
  • Total population: 37,991,766
  • Total military personnel: 602,100
  • Total military aircraft: 468
  • Total military vehicles: 13,956
  • Total naval vessels: 45
  • Military strength score: 0.2917 – #21 out of 145

13. Turkey

Source: ardasavasciogullari / iStock via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $40.00 billion
  • Total population: 83,593,483
  • Total military personnel: 883,900
  • Total military aircraft: 1,069
  • Total military vehicles: 55,104
  • Total naval vessels: 186
  • Military strength score: 0.1697 – #8 out of 145

12. Ukraine

  • Defense budget: $42.00 billion
  • Total population: 43,306,477
  • Total military personnel: 2,200,000
  • Total military aircraft: 321
  • Total military vehicles: 22,110
  • Total naval vessels: 104
  • Military strength score: 0.2598 – #18 out of 145

11. South Korea

  • Defense budget: $44.70 billion
  • Total population: 51,966,948
  • Total military personnel: 3,820,000
  • Total military aircraft: 1,576
  • Total military vehicles: 66,492
  • Total naval vessels: 200
  • Military strength score: 0.1416 – #5 out of 145

10. France

Source: Bumble Dee / Shutterstock.com
  • Defense budget: $49.73 billion
  • Total population: 68,521,974
  • Total military personnel: 376,000
  • Total military aircraft: 972
  • Total military vehicles: 85,023
  • Total naval vessels: 128
  • Military strength score: 0.1878 – #11 out of 145

9. Australia

  • Defense budget: $52.56 billion
  • Total population: 26,461,166
  • Total military personnel: 89,400
  • Total military aircraft: 325
  • Total military vehicles: 16,162
  • Total naval vessels: 43
  • Military strength score: 0.2515 – #16 out of 145

8. Japan

Source: Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

  • Defense budget: $53.00 billion
  • Total population: 123,719,238
  • Total military personnel: 328,150
  • Total military aircraft: 1,459
  • Total military vehicles: 37,662
  • Total naval vessels: 155
  • Military strength score: 0.1601 – #7 out of 145

7. Germany

Source: huettenhoelscher / iStock via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $55.94 billion
  • Total population: 84,220,184
  • Total military personnel: 215,600
  • Total military aircraft: 618
  • Total military vehicles: 79,317
  • Total naval vessels: 64
  • Military strength score: 0.2847 – #19 out of 145

6. United Kingdom

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

  • Defense budget: $62.82 billion
  • Total population: 68,138,484
  • Total military personnel: 1,108,860
  • Total military aircraft: 664
  • Total military vehicles: 27,203
  • Total naval vessels: 117
  • Military strength score: 0.1443 – #6 out of 145

5. Saudi Arabia

Source: Photo by Abid Katib / Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $71.72 billion
  • Total population: 35,959,806
  • Total military personnel: 407,000
  • Total military aircraft: 914
  • Total military vehicles: 20,694
  • Total naval vessels: 57
  • Military strength score: 0.3235 – #23 out of 145

4. India

Source: BDphoto / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $74.00 billion
  • Total population: 1,399,179,585
  • Total military personnel: 5,137,550
  • Total military aircraft: 2,296
  • Total military vehicles: 151,248
  • Total naval vessels: 294
  • Military strength score: 0.1023 – #4 out of 145

3. Russia

Source: Laski Collection / Getty Images

  • Defense budget: $109.00 billion
  • Total population: 141,698,923
  • Total military personnel: 3,570,000
  • Total military aircraft: 4,255
  • Total military vehicles: 161,382
  • Total naval vessels: 781
  • Military strength score: 0.0702 – #2 out of 145

2. China

Source: Anton Petrus / Moment via Getty Images
  • Defense budget: $227.00 billion
  • Total population: 1,413,142,846
  • Total military personnel: 3,170,000
  • Total military aircraft: 3,304
  • Total military vehicles: 174,300
  • Total naval vessels: 730
  • Military strength score: 0.0706 – #3 out of 145

1. United States

Source: Mehaniq / Shutterstock.com
  • Defense budget: $831.78 billion
  • Total population: 339,665,118
  • Total military personnel: 2,127,500
  • Total military aircraft: 13,209
  • Total military vehicles: 360,069
  • Total naval vessels: 472
  • Military strength score: 0.0699 – #1 out of 145

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