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Global Militarization Index 2016

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Release date: 2016-12

Compiled by BICC, the Global Militarization Index (gmi) presents on an annual basis the relative weight and importance of a country’s military apparatus in relation to its society as a whole. The GMI 2016 covers 152 states and is based on the latest available figures (in most cases data for 2015). The index project is financially supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
With Armenia, Russia, Cyprus, Greece and Azerbaijan, five European countries are amongst the top 10 worldwide. Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in particular and the continuing conflict in eastern Ukraine, the security situation in Europe has changed. While, for 2015, eastern European states in particular have shown a marked increase in militarization, a similar trend cannot be observed for most western European countries.
Against the background of protracted conflicts in the Middle East, the level of militarization of most countries remains high. Israel is still at the top and Jordan on position four. It will be interesting in the coming years to see how oil prices, which have sharply fallen since mid-2014, will affect the militarization of the Gulf States and their extensive weapons purchases.
Singapore, South Korea and Brunei are also in the top 10. It remains to be seen how the tensions from the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and connected modernization and armament efforts will shape the level of militarization in Asia.
This year’s GMI highlights the relationship between the level of militarization and the Global Hunger Index, which defines the causes of hunger not only in economic or climate change terms but also with regard to instability or violent conflict. The fact that most states suffering from hunger also have comparatively low levels militarization shows that a low level of militarization often does not point to a peaceful society but more often than not to a weak security sector and the absence of a safe environment. But, within the 20 states that suffer the most from hunger, there are also countries with a relatively high level of militarization. There, high investment is tied up in military resources that would otherwise be available to fight against hunger or to invest in the health system.