European Defense Trends: Briefing Update

David J. Berteau, Gregory Sanders, T.J. Cipoletti, Meaghan Doherty, Abby Fanlo
Content Type
Working Paper
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The European defense market, though impacted by lethargic economic growth and painful fiscal austerity measures, continues to be a driver in global defense. Five of the fifteen biggest military spenders worldwide in 2013 were European countries, and Europe remains a major market for international arms production and sales. Surges in military spending by Russia, China, and various Middle Eastern countries in recent years has augmented the defense landscape, especially as European countries in aggregate continue to spend less on defense and the United States embarks on a series of deep-striking budget cuts. This report analyzes overall trends in defense spending, troop numbers, collaboration, and the European defense and security industrial base across 37 countries. To remain consistent with previous reports, this briefing utilizes functional NATO categories (Equipment, Personnel, Operations and Maintenance, Infrastructure, and Research and Development) and reports figures in constant 2013 euros unless otherwise noted. Many of the trends identified within the 2012 CSIS European Defense Trends report continued into 2013, namely reductions in topline defense spending, further cuts to R spending, and steadily declining troop numbers. Though total European defense spending decreased from 2001-2013, with an accelerated decline between 2008 and 2010, select countries increased spending2 between 2011 and 2013. Collaboration among European countries has decreased in the R category; however, it has increased in the equipment category – indicating increased investment in collaborative procurement. Defense expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure has decreased across Europe from 2001-2013 with the exceptions of Albania and Estonia. An updated CSIS European Security, Defense, and Space (ESDS) Index is included within this report and exhibits a shift in geographic revenue origin for leading European defense firms away from North America and Europe and towards other major markets between 2008 and 2013. Finally, a brief analysis of Russian defense spending is included in the final section of this report in order to comprehend more fully the size and scope of the European defense market within the global framework. In 2013, Russia replaced the United Kingdom as the third largest global defense spender, devoting 11.2 percent of total government expenditures to defense. This briefing report concludes with summarized observations concerning trends in European defense from 2001 to 2013. CSIS will continue to follow and evaluate themes in European defense, which will appear in subsequent briefings.
Security, Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Budget
Political Geography
Russia, China, United Kingdom, America, Europe