U.S. nosed out by Yemen on military spending

November 5, 2009

In 2006, the Republic of Yemen had a gross domestic product of $19 billion and a military budget of $1.1 billion*—5.8 percent of GDP.

Despite America’s 5,000 nuclear warheads, 1½ million active service members, 300 major military bases,§ and two significant wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Yemen STILL has aislightly bigger defense budget than the United States** as a percentage of GDP.


The usual disclaimer applies—this particular post is about Islamic militarism, not terrorism, and any impression that the two are connected is your own.  Stay tuned to Money Jihad for more evidence of the pattern of hefty military spending by Muslim countries.

*  “Yemen, Country Profile.”  Library of Congress – Federal Research Division.  August 2008.

†  Norris, Robert S. and  Kristensen, Hans M.  “U.S. nuclear forces, 2008.”  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  Volume 64, Number 1, March / April 2008 .

‡  Department of Defense statistics at http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/MILITARY/miltop.htm

§  Global Security data at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/sites.htm

** CIA World Factbook and Travis Sharp, Growth in U.S. Defense Spending Over the Last Decade, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, February 26, 2009.

One comment

  1. Sadly its more than that. Official sources like the national budget are revised a couple of times a year and released through the ministry of finance, the parliament and the central bank, none of the official budgets correspond or reconcile, moreover spending for various arms of government are hidden in different budget lines. The best indicator is to track major purchases of aerospace defence – Sukhoi and Mig – and to relate these back to the official budgets. Estimates of aggregate spending on arms alone sit up around 3.7bn – 4.4bn, around 5% of GDP on its own, If you add the salaries, the diesel quote that id given to military and quasi military users, the figure nudges the 14% mark. This is not unusual for the middle east but Yemen cannot afford it – its economy lies well below the African petro-state norm.
    More homework needed..

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