Global Defence Outlook 2016

Article

Global Defence Outlook 2016

Shifting postures and emerging fault lines

Global defence postures have moderated as economic development reduces the dependence of the world economy on defence spending, but tensions are rising along five global 'fault lines' identified in Deloitte’s 2016 Global Defence Outlook.

Deloitte’s Global Defence Outlook examines policies, practices and trends affecting the defence budgets and strategies of the 50 nations whose combined defence budgets total over 95% of global defence spending. In the 2016 report, Deloitte also introduces its unique Defence Posture Index, a numerical ranking of national-level commitments to defence, allowing comparisons of national defence approaches and tracking of changes in national defence policies over time.   

Rapid, sustained economic growth combined with a broad-based decline in global levels of military operations continues to transform the global defence environment. This report makes clear that over the next five years, economic forces appear likely to continue moderating global commitments to defence, and to increase the relative parity between armed forces capabilities worldwide. 

But, even as global defence postures moderate, weak global institutions and advancing technological capabilities raise the prospect of conflict along five global fault lines:

  1. Russia/NATO: conventional forces confrontation in Eastern Europe
  2. China/Pacific States: maritime confrontation in the South China Sea
  3. States/Terrorists: asymmetric confrontation in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia
  4. Mature/Emerging Nuclear Powers: emerging asymmetries among nuclear states 
  5. Information Economies/Emerging Economies: confrontation in cyberspace.  

“Only nine of the fifty largest defence spenders have raised their defence posture since 2008,” says Jack Midgley, Asia Pacific Region Public Sector Defence practice leader for Deloitte Global. 

“Some 41 countries, including the United States, Russia and China have held the line, or lowered their overall commitment to defence. Pakistan, India, Iraq and Russia maintain the highest defence postures, while Belgium, Canada, Argentina and Germany display the lowest postures among the Top 50 defence spending nations.” 

How does Australia fair? According to the report Australia joins China, India, and South Korea ―all Asia-Pacific states―in planning the largest defence budget increases, accounting for US$70B or 80 percent of the total global increase, through to 2020.

Global Defence Outlook 2016
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