Military Expenditures

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United Nations Report on Military Expenditures

Countries can report to the UN their military spending in the previous year. Such transparency may increase confidence within regions and beyond. By making the figures publicly available, the UN encourages their verification and analysis.

Online reporting tool

Click to access the MILEX online reporting form

Reporting forms (for official use only)

National Reports not submitted through online tool


United States

Over the past century, Governments have sought to agree on reductions in military expenditures and to increase transparency or at least be open about how much countries spend on their military. They did so in the League of Nations, and later in the UN. Early proposals in the UN focused on reducing expenditures of militarily important States, with a view to freeing up funds for development aid.

Those attempts to agree on reductions of military expenditures were unfruitful. Attention turned towards greater transparency in military spending. A UN Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures was established — recently renamed United Nations Report on Military Expenditures — under which countries annually provide national reports on their military spending.

Reports of the Secretary-General on objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures

The original goal of the UN Report on Military Expenditures — to facilitate reduction of the biggest military budgets — has long been overlooked, but remains vital given that global spending is well over 1.5 trillion dollars per year.

Group of Governmental Experts – Secretary-General Reports

Related Links

SIPRI Arms Transfer Database

IISS Military Balance

Transparency International – International Defence & Security Programme