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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchThe Human Security Case for Rebalancing Military Expenditure

The Human Security Case for Rebalancing Military Expenditure

Authors: Michael Brzoska, Wuyi Omitoogun, Elisabeth Sköns

Affiliation: SIPRI, SIPRI and Senior Political Advisor at the African Union Liaison Office (Sudan), SIPRI (20 years’ experience as a researcher on military expenditure and arms industry)

Organization/Publisher: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Date/Place: May 2022/Stockholm, Sweden

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 44


Keywords: Security, Military, Human Security, Threat, Defense Spending


This report discusses the non-traditional security threats that endanger millions of people, their lives, livelihoods and dignity. It strengthens the argument for a reassessment of military expenditure by expanding the scope of conception of security, zooming-in on human security “as a standard of security necessarily leads to a reconsideration of the levels and compositions of military expenditure in relation to spending on other means of protecting people’s security.” It also notes how climate change and growing loss of biodiversity are “increasing such vital risks and threats and adding unprecedented urgency to investing in people’s security.” It points to increasing military expenditure and how it impacts spending on human and social security, drawing from UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres’ call for a reduction in excessive military budgets to ensure adequate social spending. Linking disarmament to development opportunities, this report argues that human security “does not need to come at the expense of state security.” The report regrets the failure of past international initiatives to reduce military expenditure. The authors argue that changes in thinking about security have evolved and advanced in two directions. The first concerns the nature of threats, that in “addition to traditional conception of threats from external military and terrorist attacks,” there is an expansion on the focus of security “with respect to what or who is to be secured.” Second, the report notes that although the “prime concern is with the territory and political order of a state,” that “As states are comprised of people, the traditional conception also includes the protection of citizens from military threats.”

By: Riyaz ul Khaliq, CIGA Non-resident Research Associate



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