Global defense spending increased by 9 percent in 2023 to exceed $2.2 trillion; NATO countries spent over half of that amount, with the U.S. leading the pack by a vast margin.
In Europe, countries ramped up spending to assist Ukraine, whose domestic defense industry has been severely damaged by the war.
But the ongoing war has “laid bare the challenges of scaling up production to keep pace with the conflict’s demands” and is showing the cracks in European military preparedness, according to Giegerich.
Despite all the new spending, there is a problem in ramping up the West’s military production capacity. In its report, the IISS noted the EU is on track to miss its target of delivering Ukraine 1 million 155-millimeter artillery shells by March.
Despite those shortcomings, Russia’s continued war against Ukraine has pushed more European countries to meet their NATO defense target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on the military. According to the report, 10 European NATO allies hit that goal last year, up from just two in 2014.
Ukraine is also in a desperate plight, but — for now — is getting crucial aid from its allies.