Estonia shows high levels of defense spending, personnel and materiel for its small population, ranking 21st in the Global Militarization Index.
Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) published its annual Global Militarization Index (GMI) on Tuesday. This is the first year that five European countries - Armenia, Russia, Cyprus, Greece and Azerbaijan - are ranked among the top 10.
The GMI evaluates the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of the 151 states studied in relation to society as a whole. Three indicators represent the level of militarization of a country:
- Military expenditure score - the comparison of military expenditures with its gross domestic product (GDP) and its health expenditure (as share of its GDP);
- Military personnel score - the contrast between the total number of (para)military forces and the number of physicians and the overall population;
- Heavy weapons score - the ratio of the number of heavy weapons systems available and the overall population.
The index is based on data from 2013.
The list is topped by Israel, Singapore, Armenia, Syria and Russia. The high levels of militarization in these countries is said to be mostly the result of comprehensive arms purchases, said BICC.
Estonia is ranked 21st. It was 20th in 2012 and 30th in 2011.
Estonia's high militarization level is underpinned by a large number of military or paramilitary personnel and a high score for heavy weapons.
The United States, which has the highest military budget in the world, making up 37 percent of the global military expenditure, is ranked 31st because its health expenditure offsets the overall GMI score.
The least militarized countries in the world are Haiti, Costa Rica, Panama and Iceland.