World Military - 2023


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Military expenditures

2.3% of GDP (2021 est.)

2.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

note: in 2022, the world's largest defense budgets belonged to the US, China, India, the UK, and Russia; total global military expenditures were estimated at more than $2 trillion

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 20 million active-duty military personnel worldwide (2023)

note: the largest militaries in the world based on personnel numbers belong to China, India, the US, North Korea, and Russia

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the US is the world's leading arms exporter, followed by Russia (2022)

Military deployments

there are over 85,000 personnel, including military, police, and civilians from 121 countries deployed on UN peacekeeping missions worldwide (2023)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) received 115 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2022 compared with 132 reports in 2021; the 2022 figures are broken down as 107 vessels boarded, five attempted attacks, two vessels hijacked, and one fired upon; though the downward trend in reported incidents is welcomed, the risk to crew remains with 41 crew taken hostage, six assaulted and threatened, and two kidnapped; the continued and much-needed reduction is attributed to an overall decrease of piratical activity within the Gulf of Guinea region – down from 35 incidents in 2021 to 19 in 2022; in 2022, incidents in these waters were reported at up to 260 nm from the coast; though crew kidnappings decreased from 57 in 2021 to two in 2022, during the duration of the hijackings 29 crew were kept hostage

the EU naval mission, Operation ATALANTA, continues its operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean through 2024; naval units from Japan, India, and China also operate in conjunction with EU forces; China has established a logistical base in Djibouti to support its deployed naval units in the Horn of Africa

the Horn of Africa saw no reported piracy attacks in 2022; although the opportunity for incidents has reduced, the Somali pirates continue to possess the capability and capacity to carry out incidents; the decrease in successful pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa since the peak in 2007 was due, in part, to anti-piracy operations by international naval forces, the hardening of vessels, and the increased use of armed security teams aboard merchant ships; despite these preventative measures, the assessed risk remains high

incidents in the Singapore Straits continue to increase year on year with 38 in 2022 compared to 35 in 2021; vessels were successfully boarded in all 38 incidents in 2022; while the majority of vessels boarded reported incidents as predominately low-level opportunistic thefts, four crew were taken hostage and a further two threatened during these incidents; the majority of incidents were reported during the hours of darkness and while vessels were underway; there were 10 attacks in Indonesian waters in 2022 compared to nine in 2021, primarily to ships anchored or berthed

South American ports in Brazil, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela as well as those in Mexico and Haiti continue to be affected by the crime of armed robbery; this region experienced a decrease in 2022 with 24 incidents reported compared to 36 in 2021; the reduction is partially attributed to the decrease in reported incidents in Callao, Peru which saw a 33% drop compared to 2021; the majority of boardings were on anchored vessels and at night; during these incidents, seven crew were taken hostage and six assaulted and threatened, making this region risky for crewmen; the majority (64%) of global attacks against shipping occurred in the offshore waters of five countries - Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Singapore Straits, and Peru (2021)

NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of World 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.