China has drastically increased the size and scale of its military over the last decade. It has more than doubled its annual military expenditure in that time, spending $228 billion in 2017. Still, China’s budget is less than half the military budget of the United States. The U.S. government spent $610 billion on its armed forces in 2017, more than the next seven countries combined.
For most of its history, the United States has been at war. Since declaring independence in 1776, the country has been engaged in armed conflicts for all but 21 out of the 242 years of its existence. This near-constant state of war has led the United States to continually update its military. As the world’s largest economy, the United States can afford to spend much more on its military than any other country.
While the United States is in a league of its own, there are other major military spenders, and they can be found all around the world. The top 14 military spenders, after the U.S., can be found on five continents, and each has its own vast web of military and political alliances. Some are allies, other are bitter enemies.
Based on annual military spending estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 15 countries with the largest military expenditure in 2017.