National security is the security of a nation-state, regarded as a duty of government. It includes the nation’s citizens, economy, and institutions. National security is a vital priority in several countries around the world and requires a large budget in order to be built and maintained.
National security requires military and defense spending. In the United States, this includes all regular activities of the Department of Defense, war spending, nuclear weapons spending, international military assistance, and other Pentagon-related spending.
The total world military expenditure was about $1.8 trillion in 2018, a 2.6% increase from 2017. The ten countries with the highest defense spending are:
- The United States ($649 billion)
- China ($250 billion)
- Saudi Arabia ($67.6 billion)
- India ($66.5 billion)
- France ($63.8 billion)
- Russia ($61.4 billion)
- United Kingdom ($50 billion)
- Germany ($49.5 billion)
- Japan ($46.6 billion)
- South Korea ($43.1 billion)
The United States spends the most on defense, and more than the next seven countries combined. The United States spent $649 billion on defense in 2018, and the next seven countries (China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, the UK, and Germany) spent a combined total of $609 billion. National security in the US is the third most expensive government program behind Social Security and Medicare. Historically, the United States has consistently spent more on defense than any other G-7 nation.
China is the second-largest defense spender in the world, spending $250 billion in 2018. This is still less than half of what the United States spent. China’s defense spending as increased every year for the past 24 years, and was 10 times higher in 2018 than it was in 1994.
Below is a table of each country’s defense spending in 2018 in billions of US dollars.