The war between Israel and Hamas, ongoing fighting in Ukraine and rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific and Africa foreshadow “what is likely to be a more dangerous decade,” a British military think tank warned on Tuesday.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in its annual “Military Balance” report that the world has entered “a highly volatile security environment,” which will endure.
“The current military security situation portends what is likely to be a more dangerous decade, characterized by the brazen application by some of military power to pursue grievances,” the report says.
He also noted “the desire among like-minded democracies to establish stronger bilateral and multilateral defense ties in response.”
The “age of insecurity” is resetting the global industrial and defense landscape, with the United States and Europe increasing missile and munitions production “after decades of underinvestment,” the report added.
A Ukrainian serviceman from the 82nd Separate Air Assault Brigade prepares for combat with the Challenger 2 tank
Sudanese army soldiers, loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, sit atop a tank in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan.
A photograph taken from Rafah shows smoke rising during the Israeli bombardment of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
The Taiwanese navy launches a US-made Standard missile from a frigate during the annual Han Kuang drill.
As the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches, the London-based IISS reported that Moscow had lost around 3,000 battle tanks in the conflict, about the same number as it had at the start of its operation.
The IISS said Russia had been forced to trade “quality for quantity” in its efforts to replace tanks lost since it invaded its western neighbor in February 2022.
“So far, Ukraine has been able to compensate for equipment losses through Western donations, improving quality in the process,” the think tank added in its annual assessment of the militaries and defense economies of more than 170 countries.
Driven in part by NATO member states’ response to Russia’s invasion, global military spending grew 9 percent in 2022 to a record $2.2 trillion, it noted.
The report comes days after White House hopeful Donald Trump said he had previously told an unspecified leader of a NATO member that he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever it wants” in that country. if it had not met its financial obligations to NATO.
‘You have to pay. You have to pay your bills,” Trump said at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday.
Only 10 members of the Western-led security alliance met the group’s target of spending two percent of GDP on defense, although 19 of them increased spending last year, according to IISS figures.
Fighter jets and ships are seen from the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during a three-day maritime exercise between the U.S. and Japan in the Philippine Sea Jan. 31, 2024.
Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike during a military operation in the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Smoke rises after tank fire towards Bakhmut
Ukrainian soldiers remove camouflage netting on a military vehicle in their combat position near Bakhmut
“Russia’s actions have revitalized NATO, and Finland completed its rapid accession process to the alliance in April 2023,” the report notes.
“Russia’s border with NATO members is now more than 1,300 kilometers longer.”
Separately, the annual report said Iran’s supply of missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen and drones to Russia highlighted Tehran’s growing influence in conflict zones.
China had also demonstrated “greater power projection capabilities,” he added.
“The IISS military balance study is published at an important time when the rules-based order is increasingly being questioned,” said Bastian Giegerich, its executive director.
“As Western defense spending is increasing and plans to modernize equipment are underway, we reflect on the challenges, including those posed by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s military modernization and developments in the Middle East,” he added.