The Global Militarisation Index (GMI) depicts the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of one state in relation to its society as a whole. The update of the GMI 2014 is based on data from the year 2013 (i. e. the most recent year for which data has been available) and comprises 152 states. BICC’s GMI is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In the 2014 GMI, Israel, Singapore, Armenia, Syria, Russia, Cyprus, South Korea, Jordan, Greece and Azerbaijan (rank 1 to 10) are amongst the ten countries with the highest levels of militarisation—three of which are situated in the Middle East, two in East Asia and the remaining five in Western and Eastern Europe. The high levels of militarisation in these countries are mostly the result of comprehensive arms purchases.
The causes for the generally high levels of militarisation in The Middle East are manifold. They range from the defence of existing authoritarian regimes against possible internal adversaries to external conflicts and potential threats from the outside. All in all, one will have to assume that the level of militarisation in the region will remain high or will even increase.
The neighbouring states Armenia (rank 3) and Azerbaijan (rank 10), both belonging to Europe, show very high levels of militarisation and have initiated major increases in their military expenditures over the past years. The high levels of militarisation in these two countries must, however, be seen in the overall context. Russia (rank 5) delivers arms to both South Caucasian republics and has been pursuing a comprehensive military reform since 2008.
Between 2009 and 2013, expenditures for equipment and procurement in European NATO states fell by more than US $ 9 billion. Still, some states show high levels of militarisation (Greece: 9, Estonia: 21, Turkey: 24, Bulgaria: 27, Portugal: 28).
Singapore (rank 2) and South Korea (rank 7) are the two countries within East Asia that are amongst the ten most militarised countries in the world. Singapore’s procurement efforts are a reaction to its many unresolved territorial issues, the importance of strategic waterways in the region and the Chinese anti-access / area denial strategy. South Korea’s high level of militarisation can be understood in the context of the ongoing state of war with North Korea, but also with unresolved territorial issues with Japan and China in the Yellow Sea.