By Laicie Heeley
In 2013, the most recent year for which complete data is available, the U.S. approved $600.4 billion in defense budget authority (fiscal year 2014 dollars). This figure includes funding for the Pentagon base budget, Department of Energy-administered nuclear weapons activities, and the war in Afghanistan.
This number accounts for 38 percent of total global military spending, putting the U.S. far above any potential adversary. The next closest country, China, comes in at just $112.2 billion, or 7 percent of total global military spending. No other country spent more than $70 billion in 2013.
|Country or Region||2012 Spending|
|United States (including war and nuclear)||600.4|
|Middle East and North Africa||167.8|
|Russia and Eurasia||78.1|
|Latin America and The Caribbean||70.9|
|Country||2013 Spending||Percent of GDP|
|United States (including war and nuclear)||600.4||3.70|
The analysis above uses data from The Military Balance 2014, the authoritative reference almanac produced annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Defense spending estimates for China and Russia, both of which regularly underreport their annual military budgets, have been reported using a methodology known as Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The Military Balance typically uses market exchange rates to convert countries’ defense spending figures into U.S. dollars. In the case of China and Russia, however, the market exchange rates fail to fully reflect the purchasing power of the yuan and the ruble, respectively. To compensate for this, The Military Balance 2014 uses PPP. This allows for a more balanced calculation of the numbers. All of the figures for China and Russia in the analysis above use PPP figures, which are significantly higher than both officially reported and market exchange rate figures.
The bottom line is that this analysis uses the highest possible defense spending estimates for China and Russia.