Countries Spending the Most on the Military

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10. Brazil
> Military expenditure: $36.8 billion
> Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 1.5%
> One-year spending change: -0.5%
> Total exports: $14.1 million (24th highest)
> Total imports: $212 million (24th highest)

Brazil spent roughly $36.8 billion on its military in 2012, higher than all but nine other countries. Military spending has fallen in Brazil since 2010, when the government spent $38.1 billion. Despite being among the top 10 in military spending, the country is barely among the top half in terms of the spending as a percentage of GDP, which was just 1.5% in 2012. In addition to the more than 371,000 people in Brazil who were actively serving in 2011, there were more than 1.3 million Brazilians serving in the active reserves, more than all but five other countries.

9. India
> Military expenditure: $48.3 billion
> Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 2.5%
> One-year spending change: -2.8%
> Total exports: $1.8 million (32nd highest)
> Total imports: $2.0 billion (the highest)

Military spending in India comprised 2.5% of the country’s GDP in 2012, higher than most other countries. However, this has declined every year since 2009, when India spent 2.9% of its GDP on military affairs. Between 2011 and 2012, India’s military budget declined by 3%. As of 2011, India had more than 1.3 million active military members, more than any other country except for China and the United States. In addition, India had 1.7 million active reserve members, more than any country except for North Korea and South Korea. India has been the biggest arms importer worldwide in recent years, as it has been upgrading its largely Soviet-era weapons.

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8. Germany
> Military expenditure: $48.6 billion
> Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 1.4%
> One-year spending change: 0.9%
> Total exports: $486 million (6th highest)
>Total imports: $126 million (33rd highest)

Germany spent more than $48.6 billion on its military in 2012, or 1.4% of the country’s GDP. This was in line with the 1.3% of GDP it spent back in 2011 but still lower than the majority of countries measured. Germany exported $486 million worth of arms in 2012, higher than all but five other countries. In 2012, Germany announced the largest cuts to its military since the end of World War II. The government intends to scale back or close 100 of its 400 bases and cut the number of soldiers by 15,000 to 185,000. Germany expects to implement the cuts through 2017 at the latest.

7. Saudi Arabia
> Military expenditure: $54.2 billion
> Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 8.9%
> One-year spending change: 11.7%
> Total exports: n/a
> Total imports: $261 million (16th highest)

Saudi Arabia’s military budget comprised 8.9% of the country’s GDP in 2012, higher than any other country. However, this was down from 11% of GDP in 2009 and 10% of GDP in 2010. Military spending in 2012 has increased by nearly $10 billion since 2008, reaching more than $54.2 billion last year. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, military spending increased by 12%, higher than most other countries in the world. Solmirano pointed out that oil revenue in Saudi Arabia has allowed the country to spend heavily on the military in recent years. As of 2012, Saudi Arabia produced more than 11.1 million barrels of oil a day, more than any other country.

6. Japan
> Military expenditure: $59.2 billion
> Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 1.0%
> One-year spending change: -0.6%
> Total exports: n/a
> Total imports: $6 million (78th highest)

Although just five nations spent more on their military in 2012 in absolute terms, in relative terms — as a percentage of GDP — more than 100 nations spent more than Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began pushing for a stronger military after winning the office at the end of 2012. Abe’s plans to boost military spending may be limited by the country’s massive debt concerns. The IMF estimates Japan’s gross debt at nearly 238% of GDP in 2012, proportionally more than any other country. Despite these concerns, Japan recently increased military spending for the first time in 11 years. Although Japan’s constitution prohibits initiating military action, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently has argued that the country should be permitted to join U.N.-sanctioned military actions.