Rise in world defence spending hits a decade high
Munich — Global spending on defence rose 4% in 2019, the largest growth in 10 years, led by big increases from the US and China, a study says.
Beijing’s military modernisation programme, which includes developing new hard-to-detect hypersonic missiles, is alarming Washington and helping drive US defence spending, says the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The IISS’s annual “Military Balance” report says the increase alone in US spending from 2018 to 2019 — $53.4bn — was almost as large as Britain’s entire defence budget.
China and the US increased spending by 6.6 %, the report says, while Europe — driven by ongoing concerns about Russia — stepped up by 4.2%.
But this growth only brought European defence spending back to levels seen in 2008, before the global financial crisis caused budgets to be slashed.
European Nato members have been seeking to increase spending to placate President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly accused them of freeloading on the US.
Trump has railed at European allies, particularly Germany, for not living up to a 2014 Nato pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defence.
The president’s anger over spending has fuelled concern about his commitment to the transatlantic alliance, culminating in an explosive 2018 summit at which he launched a blistering public attack on Germany in a televised meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.