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Irish annual military budget

  • 03-08-2014 2:39am
    Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭ Snickers Man

    Do we really spend a billion dollars every year on our military?

    I just got curious about the amount of money different countries spend every year on military, especially with the current conflict in Gaza, so I was keen to investigate.

    I hied my way to my usual source for dry factual information, namely the CIA World Factbook website to satisfy my curiosity. That site gives an estimate for each country's military expenditure as a percentage of GDP. Elsewhere, in the site it gives its estimate for each country's GDP so you don't have to be a mathematical genius to infer a country's annual spend in dollars from those two figures.

    Using this method I inferred that for 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available) the figures for my selectionof countries were as follows.

    Country Total Military Budget ($bn)
    USA 716.45
    Russia 112.64
    Saudi Arabia 71.48
    United Kingdom 58.34
    France 43.11
    Israel 15.05
    Egypt 9.31
    Iraq 6.89
    Lebanon 2.56
    Jordan 1.80
    Ireland 1.04

    It doesn't surprise me that America's is by far the largest, or that Israel's is disproportionately huge, but I am surprised that Ireland's is as high as it is. Does anyone have a different estimate for Ireland's military expenditure over a year or does a billion dollars sound just right?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,298 ✭✭✭✭ Jawgap

    It's not high.

    The usual measure is %GDP and when you apply that you see we spend a miserable amount on our defence budget.

    The absolute amount is somewhat irrelevant, the real question is do we get value for money out of the defence budget, and I'd say yes we do.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,816 ✭✭✭ skooterblue2

    I would say we have a disproportionate amount of military spending on turkey projects compared to other counteries, in that we dont buy equipment that gives bad value for money ..... ie M-16 (original), SA-80 (refits), British Drone project (mothballed),

    Lets look at the success.... Air corp are giving value for money with Fisheries Protection, SAR, MATS Air Ambulance over the years. Now that the Naval Service are part of an integrated EU plan they are more effective at seizing drugs in Irish waters.

    The Army are small and highly trained with great equipment small amounts changed regularly and kept up to date and if they need to increase orders .... the have the people trained. I think compared to other nations we get great value for Money.

    As for the ARW ...... as long as we dont hear about them they are doing an excellent job

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,683 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Morpheus

    I am surprised that Ireland's is as high as it is.

    Why are you surprised?

    9500 fulltime soldiers and about 2000 reserve soldiers - air land and sea
    8 naval vessels
    about 2000 military vehicles (mostly cars and jeeps in fairness - may not even be that many)
    26 (i think) aircraft
    anti tank weapons
    EOD robots
    anti aircraft weapons
    main ship armaments
    aviation fuel
    purchasing spares
    training both at home and overseas
    maintenance of all of the above
    purchasing new equipment
    overseas missions

    You do know that if we disbanded the Defence forces tomorrow completely, including army air corps, navy and reserve forces and literally turned every soldier into a civilian and left them unemployed and handed that annual budget to the department of health, that it would run the dept for health for about 3 weeks?

    I'm surprised that we in this country take our own sovereign defence so for granted, that we think by simply ticking over with a tiny tiny capacity to ramp up for very very small level operations with the minimal equipment and man power required, that we are doing great. Its an absolute disgrace and shows that we are absolutely completely and utterly dependent on other countries around us to step in and save us should anything go wrong or our sovereignty ever be threatened, especially with the natural resources findings we've been making off our coastline.

    Im not however surprised that Irish people think we spend far too much. Many Irish make me sick to the pit of my stomach in their attitude and COMPLETE lack of knowledge in the sphere of a nations self defence.

    Maybe the fact that since the nation has been founded we've hidden behind bigger allies in whatever world crisis was happening, pointed over their shoulders and complained about those "allies", whilst taking the moral highground as we cowered behind some crazy misconception that the rest of the planet sees us as a virtuous and peace loving nation who can calm everyone down simply by saying were irish and (we imagine) that were neutral.

    When in reality weve just been lucky enough that no bad people ever made it their business to pay us a permanent visit. Yet.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,816 ✭✭✭ skooterblue2

    Morpheus wrote: »
    and about 2000 reserve soldiers - air land and sea

    The Reserve Defence forces havent been left go so low???? Were we asleep while this was happening?

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,683 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Morpheus

    theres been 2 reorgs in the last 10 years

    theyre down from 14000 in the late 90s

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,816 ✭✭✭ skooterblue2

    Morpheus wrote: »
    theyre down from 14000 in the late 90s

    happy times!!!! and we all too worried about what our house cost and if we had a big enough car

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭ Snickers Man

    Thanks for the replies. I wasn't complaining about the money spent on the Defence Forces. I was just surprised it was of the order of a billion.

    I was really only wondering whether my method for estimating what countries spend on defence was valid.

    The CIA World Factbook only gives the estimated expenditure in terms of percentage of GDP. You have to work out the actual cost from the separate estimate it gives for that. Thank God for Excel, eh. :)