Global defense spending increased by four percent in 2019, the highest growth in 10 years, led by large increases in the US. UU. And China said a study on Friday.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said the increase was fueled by growing rivalries between major powers, new military technologies and rumbling conflicts from Ukraine to Libya.
Beijing’s military modernization program, which includes the development of new hard-to-detect hypersonic missiles, is alarming Washington and helping boost US defense spending, the IISS said.
His annual “Military Balance” report said only the increase in US spending. UU. From 2018 to 2019 – $ 53.4 billion – it was almost as large as Britain’s entire defense budget.
“Expenditure increased as economies recovered from the effects of the financial crisis, but the increases were also driven by the sharpening of perceptions of threats,” said IISS chief John Chipman, presenting the report. at the Munich Security Conference.
Both the United States and China increased spending by 6.6 percent, according to the report, to $ 684.6 billion and $ 181.1 billion, respectively.
Europe, driven by constant concerns about Russia, increased 4.2 percent, but this only brought the defense spending of the continent to 2008 levels, before the global financial crisis reduced budgets.
European NATO members have been trying to increase spending to placate President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly charged them with free cargo in the United States.
Trump has criticized European allies, particularly Germany, for not fulfilling NATO’s promise of 2014 to spend two percent of GDP on defense.
The mercurial president’s anger over spending has fueled concern over his commitment to the transatlantic alliance, which culminated in an explosive 2018 summit where he launched a devastating public attack on Germany in a televised meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In giving the opening address at the annual security meeting, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that Trump’s “America First” strategy had shaken the international order and fueled insecurity.
“We are witnessing an increasingly destructive momentum in global politics,” Steinmeier said.
“Every year we are increasingly moving away from our goal of creating a more peaceful world through international cooperation.”
The key elements of the international order that developed after World War II have been the subject of a growing challenge.
The collapse last year of the Intermediate Reach Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty of the Cold War era and the doubts surrounding the renewal of the new START arms reduction treaty, which expires in 2021, have contributed to the state of instability , according to the IISS report. .
China’s military modernization program, described by the IISS as “surprising by its scale, speed and ambition,” has disturbed both Washington and its allies in the Pacific.
In October, Beijing showed new technologies, including its DF-17 hypersonic gliding vehicle, designed to launch warheads at high speeds to avoid interception.
Russia, following its own modernization project, has already announced the entry into service of its own hypersonic missile system.
Nicknamed Avangard, the system has been tested at speeds of Mach 27, or approximately 33,000 kilometers (20,500 miles) per hour, according to Moscow.
Hypersonic missiles worry Western officials, because they are so fast and maneuverable that they make existing defense systems useless and give almost no warning of attack.
A senior NATO official warned that in an attack with hypersonic missiles, it may not even be clear what the objective is “until there is a boom in the ground.”
Elsewhere, spending in Asia is booming: it grows more than 50 percent in a decade, from $ 275 billion in 2010 to $ 423 billion in 2019 in real terms, since the economic success of the continent has allowed to countries to invest more in their armies.