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Global Militarization Index 2017

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Release date: 2017-12

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 2017 covers 151 states and is based on  the latest available figures (in most cases data for 2016). The index project is financially supported by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and  Development.

The ten countries that have the highest levels of militarization for the year  2016 are Israel, Singapore, Armenia, Russia, South Korea, Kuwait, Jordan, Cyprus,  Greece and Brunei. These countries allocate particularly high levels of resources to  the armed forces in comparison to other areas of society. For some countries that  are included in the top 20 militarized countries in the world, the sharp decline in  the price of oil has led to a reduction in military expenditures: Oman, Bahrain,  Saudi Arabia but also Azerbaijan.

In South American countries too, especially in Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and  Mexico, the drop in oil prices caused military spending to fall more or less significantly. One regional focus of the GMI 2017 is the Americas: The two most militarized countries in the region are Cuba and the United States. US military spending  increased again for the first time since 2009 and, at US $611 billion, was the highest  in the world. While the countries of Central America and the Caribbean, with the  exception of Cuba, show a relatively low level of militarization, the South American states can be found more in the upper mid-range.

This year’s GMI also positions the degree of militarization relative to Transparency International’s Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index. The defence sector is particularly opaque and vulnerable: Corrupt elites negotiate arms  deals which, even though they frequently make little sense from a military point  of view, help to make them rich. The comparison of the indices shows clearly,  however, that corruption does not by any means only occur in highly militarized  countries but also in many countries with comparatively low levels of militarization, indicating deficits in the security sector and weak state institutions.