Bang for Bucks

Defense Spending Hits New High

The global economic downturn had slowly begun to shrink the world's defense expenditures, but that trend ended last year: Global defense spending turned upward, to $1.6 trillion, the highest it's ever been. Spending rose 1.3 percent, up from a 5.9 decrease in 2009, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Expenditures in Europe shrunk last year, especially in small countries in the eastern part of the continent and in nations like Greece. The U.S., however, increased its spending by 2.8 percent, down from a 7.7 increase the year before. American defense spending, which now stands at $698 billion, has increased a whopping 81 percent since 2001—and the U.S. still spends far more on its military than the entire rest of the world combined.