Though the U.S. has ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending will likely continue increasing. The House overwhelmingly passed a defense spending bill for $768 billion in December 2021. The bill would increase the Pentagon’s budget by $24 billion more than President Joe Biden requested and is expected to pass easily in the Senate.
Some of the main beneficiaries from this spending increase will likely be American military contractors. These companies are tasked with research and development of new arms and defense systems as well as with providing arms, munitions, vehicles, navigational systems, and more to the U.S. military. Worldwide, there are dozens of companies that sell billions of dollars each year in armaments and military services.
To determine the 20 companies profiting the most from war, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Top 100 Arms-Producing Military Services Companies, 2020. Companies were ranked based on SIPRI’s estimates of arms and military services sales in 2020. Some Chinese companies were not considered due to lack of sufficient data. Arms and military services sales figures came from SIPRI. Revenue figures for the latest fiscal year came from financial reports and corporate press releases.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the global economy, arms sales continued to increase. The 100 largest military contractors sold $531 billion in arms and military services, a 1.3% increase compared to 2019, according to SIPRI.
Though many of these companies primarily work to develop new technologies for the military, these projects often end up having civilian applications. Many everyday items and technologies like microwaves, GPS, and even the internet were initially conceived of either by or for the U.S. military. These are 19 commercial products invented by the military.