World Military Profile 2019

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Military expenditures
2.14% of GDP (2018)
2.16% of GDP (2017)
2.2% of GDP (2016)
2.25% of GDP (2015)
2.24% of GDP (2014)
Maritime threats

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that 2018 saw an increase in global pirate activities; in 2018, pirates attacked a total of 201 ships worldwide including boarding 143 ships, hijacking six ships, and firing on 18; this activity is an increase from 180 incidents in 2017; in 2018, the number of hostages increased to 141, however, the number of seafarers kidnapped for ransom increased to 83 compared with 75 in 2017, with nearly all taken off West Africa

Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO naval task force established in 2009 to combat Somali piracy, concluded its operations in December 2016 as a result of the drop in reported incidents over the last few years; the EU naval mission, Operation ATALANTA, continues its operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean through 2020; naval units from Japan, India, and China also operate in conjunction with EU forces; China has established a logistical base in Djibouti to support its deployed naval units in the Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa continued to see pirate activities with three incidents in 2018, a slight decrease over 2017; the decrease in successful pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa since the peak in 2007 was due, in part, to anti-piracy operations by international naval forces, the hardening of vessels, and the increased use of armed security teams aboard merchant ships; despite these preventative measures, the assessed risk remains high

West African piracy more than doubled in 2018 to become the most dangerous area in the world with 85 attacks in 2018 compared to 33 in 2017; Nigerian pirates are very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore and boarding 29 ships in 2018; attacks in South Asian waters remain at low levels with 12 attacks off Bangladesh in 2018, up from 11 in 2017; Peru reported four incidents in 2018, up from two in 2017; attacks in Vietnam rose from two in 2017 to four in 2018; the majority of global attacks against shipping have occurred in the offshore waters of five countries - Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, Venezuela, and Bangladesh.


Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019