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June 19, 2014


In previous posts, I presented charts illustrating the recent decline in Canadian military spending as a percentage of GDP, and comparing Canada to other NATO and G7 countries.

This post examines regional patterns in global military spending.* The charts below indicate that defense expenditures have been going up in every region of the world except for three: North America, Western and Central Europe, and Oceania—namely, the West.

While it is true that the United States remains the world’s predominant military power, responsible for 37 percent of global military spending in 2013, trend-lines are important. Consider this: Between 2004 and 2013, as the US fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the net increase in American military spending was 12 percent. During the same period, China’s defence expenditures rose by 170 percent, while Russia’s rose by 108 percent. If these investment patterns continue, Western militaries will eventually lose the technological advantage that the...

June 17, 2014

This chart might come as a surprise to some Canadians. Canada’s defence spending as a percentage of GDP has decreased since 2009 and is now lower than it was when the Conservative government took office. Although, as I noted in an earlier post, GDP per capita is a blunt measure that tells us nothing about the effectiveness or efficiency of spending, it does indicate the broad direction of defence spending, relative both to the past and to spending by other countries.


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Roland Paris
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

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