Global defense spending increased 9% in 2023 to exceed $2.2 trillion; NATO countries spent more than half of that, with the United States well ahead of the pack.
In Europe, countries have increased spending to help Ukraine, whose national defense industry has been badly damaged by the war.
But the ongoing war has “highlighted the challenges of scaling up production to keep pace with the demands of conflict” and shows the cracks in European military preparedness, according to Giegerich.
Despite all this new spending, there is a problem in increasing Western military production capacity. In its report, the IISS notes that the EU is on track to miss its target of delivering 1 million 155-millimeter artillery shells to Ukraine by March.
Despite these shortcomings, Russia’s continued war against Ukraine has pushed more European countries to meet NATO’s defense target of spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on the military. Ten European NATO allies achieved this goal last year, compared to just two in 2014, according to the report.
Ukraine is also in dire straits, but – for now – it is receiving crucial aid from its allies.