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 worldwide and requires a large budget to be built and maintained. Only 36 countries worldwide do not have a military.
National security requires defense and military spending. In the United States, this includes all regular activities of the Department of Defense, war spending, nuclear weapons spending, international military assistance, and another Pentagon-related spending.
The total world military expenditure was about $1.917 trillion in 2019. The ten countries with the highest defense spending are:
- The United States ($750 billion)
- China ($237 billion)
- Saudi Arabia ($67.6 billion)
- India ($61 billion)
- United Kingdom ($55.1 billion)
- Germany ($50 billion)
- Japan ($49 billion)
- Russia ($48 billion)
- South Korea ($44 billion)
- France ($41.5 billion)
The United States spends the most on defense, and more than the next seven countries combined. The United States spent $750 billion on defense in 2020, more than the next seven countries (China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, the UK, and Germany). 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. The U.S. also has the second-largest military worldwide at 1.358 million members.
China is the second-largest defense spender in the world, spending $237 billion in 2020. This is still less than half of what the United States spent. China’s defense spending has increased every year for the past 24 years and was 10 times higher in 2018 than in 1994.
France, the tenth-largest defense spender, has mandatory military service for up to one year. Additionally, Russia requires one year of military service, and South Korea requires military service longer than 18 months.