SIPRI Annual Report: Three Takeaways from Global Defense Spending

cc Flickr Official U.S. Navy Page, modified,, PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 12, 2020) An unarmed Trident II (D5LE) missile launches from Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) off the coast of San Diego, California, Feb. 12, 2020. The test launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs’ demonstration and shakedown operation certification process. The successful launch demonstrated the readiness of the SSBN’s strategic weapon system and crew following the submarine’s engineered refueling overhaul. This launch marks 177 successful missile launches of the Trident II (D5 & D5LE) strategic weapon system. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)

In its latest update on government defense spending, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) forecasts that 2019 may represent an apex in what has been a historic run over the last decade. With response and recovery plans associated with COVID-19 absorbing a significant amount of government resources, defense spending is likely to see a decline, even as governments shift and deploy military resources as part of their pandemic response efforts.

Underlying SIPRI’s annual report and its compiled figures are a series of findings that offer insight on the geopolitical ambitions and concerns of the world’s powers and its periphery. In particular, three findings are salient in understanding shifts in the security realm: the anticipated return of “great power conflict,” the Asian arms race, as well as a Central and Eastern European-led effort to hedge against Russia’s regional aspirations.

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