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Top 10 military spending nations; oil countries post biggest jumps this decade

Despite a global recession, worldwide military spending increased in 2009 by its fastest pace since 2003, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Chad boosted spending by 663 percent. The US still has the biggest defense budget.

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The US spent $661 billion on its military in 2009, a 75.8 percent increase from 2000. While current US military spending is still a carryover from the years of George W. Bush, President Barack Obama shows no signs of cutting spending. The Nobel Peace Prize winner excluded security-related expenditure from a planned three-year squeeze in discretionary expenditure. At a recent hearing before Congress, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates talked about efforts to trim the fat but the proposed Defense Department baseline budget for fiscal 2011 is $708 billion.

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Engaged in two wars, the US led the decade of increases, but it was joined by 16 additional nations in the G20.

In 2009, Timor-Leste led the world with the biggest increase in military spending, upping its budget 54 percent. Uruguay, Cyprus, and Lebanon were also big spenders, with each country upping their military budget more than 20 percent this past year.

Biggest drops seen in Iraq, Georgia

While oil-rich countries saw big budget increases over the whole decade, 2009 alone saw a decrease in gas prices that therefore somewhat slowed the rising trend of military budgets in oil-dependent economies. The fall in oil prices in 2009 most affected the military spending of oil producers Iraq (down 28 percent), Venezuela (down 25 percent), and Oman (down 16 percent), according to SIPRI. "But the long-term trend of oil and other natural resource revenues driving increased military spending in many developing countries seems set to continue," the report states.

The largest relative real decrease in 2009 was in Georgia, whose military spending fell 39 percent from exceptionally high levels in 2008 due to the conflict with Russia in South Ossetia. In the decade leading up to the war, however, Georgia had one of the world's most rapid increases of military spending.

“Their rapid expansion was building up to a conflict,” says Perlo-Freeman. “Essentially having failed in the war, they would appear to have decided that the military option isn’t going to work anymore.”

IN PICTURES: World's Top 10 Military Spenders



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