“Militarism is probably the world’s largest barrier to ending poverty. Whether it be armies and weapons of war, or small arms flowing into our neighbourhoods and local communities, militarism destroys communities, wastes resources and prevents sustainable development. Military and weapons spending consumes resources that could be applied instead to human needs. The flow of arms into a conflict region destroys democratic and traditional control structures for land-use, production and the economy and replaces this with warlords, gang leaders and militias.

Armed conflicts push people out of their houses, off their lands and into slavery, refugee camps or having to accept other subhuman conditions. The use of weapons kills or maims people, taking them out of the workforce and adding an additional economic burden of medical care for the wounded. Weapons testing and use also destroys the environment, whether it be the devastation from nuclear weapons testing, the farmlands no longer usable because of landmines or cluster munitions, the toxins released from explosions in war or other weaponry like depleted uranium weapons.

And the use of military vehicles – aircraft, ships, rockets, tanks, armoured vehicles – in exercises and military operations constitutes possibly the largest single global contributor to carbon emissions and climate change.

Addressing militarism is thus the best hope we have of achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals of ending poverty, achieving universal education, providing primary health care, adequately combating major diseases, addressing key environmental concerns such as climate change and providing sufficient renewable energy for basic needs.”

 Alyn Ware, a New Zealand peace educator and campaigner, founder and international coordinator of the network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

“Defense spending wastes societal and global resources, and also weakens the U.S. in the medium and long term. Cutting it seems like something people of most ideological persuasions should be able to get behind, but “spending a lot of money on things that can blow shit up” has been conflated with “patriotism” for too long now…..I was taught in the sixth grade that we had a standing army of just over a hundred thousand men and that the generals had nothing to say about what was done in Washington. I was taught to be proud of that and to pity Europe for having more than a million men under arms and spending all their money on airplanes and tanks. I simply never unlearned junior civics. I still believe in it. I got a very good grade.”

Kurt Vonnegut (Economist 2012)

“Ladies, do you know the numbers? Our taxes are higher than three billion and the ministers of the army and navy devour a third themselves….The household with six francs a day for expenses, for example, starts each day by throwing two francs away.”

Sylvia Flammarion, 1905 speech to working class French women.

“If war boosts the economy of the industrial nations that own the war supplies, it smashes the economy of the nations that consume them.”

Fereshten Gol-Mohammadi, Iran, 1983.

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Download The Five Percent Campaign Report [pdf]



1   PART ONE – Introduction to the Five Percent Campaign

1.1   Tipping Point & the Film ‘We Are Many’

1.2   Why Does Execessive Military Spending Matter?

1.3   Why Now?

1.4   Global Military Spending – a ‘Structural’ Issue for Global Civil Society

1.4.1   Some Basic Facts

1.4.2   Military Spending as a ‘Structural’ Issue

1.4.3   Military Spending and Current ‘Structural’ Campaigns   Debt   Environmental Degradation and Climate Change   Environmental Degradation   Climate Change:  The Us Military, Wars and Climate Conventions   The US Air Force   Tax:  Military Contractors, Taxation and Profits from War   Low to ‘Negative’ Tax   Government/Defense Industry Contracts 2003-2007   It Pays to Lobby   War on Drugs

1.4.4   Summary:  Military Expenditure is a Structural Issue

1.5 The Five Percent Campaign – Delivering deep, sustainable cuts to global military spending

1.5.1   Global Military Spending Cuts: Overdue, Proportionate and Just

1.5.2   Aims

1.5.3   The Core Demands – The 5% Formula   Cutting Down to $1 Trillion   Beyond the First Decade – the 5% Threshold Rule   What Is the 5% Threshold Figure?   Countries with 5% Growth or Less (the Majority)   Countries with More than 5% Economic Growth (eg BRICS)

1.5.4   How to Track This

1.5.5   Clinton Era Levels of the 1990s   Can We Get Back to Mid 1990s Levels?

1.5.6   Conclusion

2   PART TWO: The Campaign – Why, What, How

2.1   Why

2.1.1   We Need Sensible Defence and Sustainable Security

2.1.2   What Is Just?   The (In)Security Paradox   Non-offensive Defence   Sustainable Security   Essential for Human Security   Oil: a Driver for Military Spending, Conflict and Insecurity

2.1.3   Ending Global Inequality ~ Diverting Excessive Military Spending   We All Know It’s Mad, so What Can We Do to Reverse the Situation?   Bombs and Bullets or Schools and Hospitals?   The Poorest are Hardest Hit   An Arms Trade Treaty

2.1.4   $2 Trillion and Counting: How They Spend Your Military Tax Dollars, Pounds And Euros   SIPRI’s Definition of Military Expenditure   Make War Not Peace – Peacekeeping Profoundly Underfunded   Nuclear Spending   Strategic Defence Initiative – USA And EU Wasting Money   Military Expansion into Space   Militarization of the Drug War   Latin America   Afghanistan   Excluded Expenditures -The ‘Bi-products’ of War   Excluded Military Related Expenditures (SIPRI)   The Arms Industry

2.1.5   The Influence of the Arms Trade   Arms Sales   The Work of Andrew Feinstein   War Is Good Return for the Defence Company Shareholder   New Business – Drones   And If You Have a Bank Account, You’re Involved

2.1.6   The Current Scale of Military Spending

2.1.7   Military Spending/War Spending Is Not Good for the Overall Economy   War Spending   The USA Is the Most Exposed as a Result of the Two Post 9/11 Conflicts   Greece – a Bailout with Arms Sales Built in   Better Value – Spend on Wider Society   How Government Allocates Your Taxes   USA   UK

2.1.8   Some Reasons Why Military Spending Is Not Yet a Structural Issue

2.1.9   Summary

2.2   What

2.2.1   Redress Imbalance and Secure Redistribution: Geo-political Power, Military Spending, Economic Priorities   Redressing Imbalance of Power   From Defence Contractors to Civil Society – Redirecting Taxes   Redistributing $600bn over Ten Years and Resetting Priorities   And If We Do Nothing?

2.2.2   What If Top Military Spenders Diverted Military Spending Increases To Fund The MDGs In The 2000s

2.2.3   Divert. Transform. Sustain ~ the Winners   Immediate and Essential Development Needs of Millions   Fund Global Health   World Health Organization (WHO)   Health Spending   The Five Percent Formula – new funds   Sustainable Development   Fund Civil Society and the Economic and Climate Justice Agendas   Climate Change   Fund Peacekeeping; Early Warning & Conflict Prevention; Post-conflict Cleanup   The Global Green Economy   Switching Priorities From Oil to Renewables   EU Submission To Rio+20 – Words Not Actions?   Renewable Energy Investment 2009: G20 Countries   The United Kingdom – the Green New Deal ~ the New Economics Foundation   Summary

2.2.4   Campaign Goals & Messages   Goals   Messages   Campaign Targets

2.2.5   The Same Vision – Expressed in a Variety of Ways   Regional Relevance and Appropriateness Is Key to the Campaign   Brazil   Far East   Indian Sub-Continent   Current Military-spend Related Campaigns   Suggested Arms Sales Campaign – ‘Don’t Buy, Don’t Sell’   Proportionality and Fairness

2.3   How

2.3.1   Identifying Cuts – Some Underway but Much, Much More Needed   Where to Cut: the United States   The Sustainable Defense Task Force – Cuts that would Save $960bn over 10 Years   The Center for American Progress   The United Kingdom   Greece   NATO – an Obstacle to Reductions

2.3.2   Implementation – Public Support Leading to Pressure on Law-Makers   Jubilee Debt Campaign   The Financial Transaction Tax   The Next Stage of Campaign Research   Feasibility: demands, hurdles/opposition, implementation; coalition building; public support   Military Spending Initiatives of Relevance

2.3.3   Re-directing 50%: New Priorities and Where Funds Could Go   Immediate and Essential Needs: MDGS   new funds for global health   Sustainable Development – Reflecting Climate & Economic Justice   Climate Finance   Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Post Conflict Clean Up – Uranium, Landmines

2.3.4   Funding the Global Green Economy   In The UK   In The USA

2.3.5   Influencing Public Opinion   Public Opinion in the USA – Majority Favour Defence Cuts   CBS Poll 2012: Cut Military Spend and Tax the Rich   However, We Have Further to Go in the UK   And this Is Echoed across the EU

2.3.6   The United Nations – 10% Option Resolution   10% Option

3   Conclusion

4   Appendix

4.1       The Real Costs of War

4.2       Top Defense Contractors – U.S. Pretax Profits & Federal Income Taxes

4.3       Lobbying and Federal Contracts

4.4       “Balance” of Global Military Expenditures In 2010

4.5       USA President’s Proposed Discretionary Spending (FY 2013)

4.6       Department of Everything

4.7       What If Top Military Spenders Had Adopted ‘the 5% Threshold Rule’ retrospectively (2001-2010)

4.8       The (In)Security Paradox

4.9       Top Military Spender (per Capita) 2010

4.10     Opportunity Costs: Military Spending and the UN’s Development Agenda

4.11     Nuclear Proliferation

4.12     Arms Trade

4.12.1   Arms export agreements

4.12.2   Changes in Regional Arms Export Agreements between 2 Periods

4.12.3   Top 15 arms exporters 2007-2011

4.12.4   Top 20 arms importers 2007-2011

4.12.5   5 largest arms exporters and their major recipients, 2007–11

4.12.6   5 largest arms importers and their major suppliers, 2007–11

4.13     While Most People Were Hit Hard by the Recession, the Defense Industry Boomed

4.14     The World’s Biggest Defense Contractors (Sales)

4.15     Drone Proliferation

4.16     Better Ways to Create Jobs

4.16.1   Massive Defense Spending Leads to Job Loss

4.16.2   How many jobs does $1 billion buy?

4.17     G20 Countries: Renewable Energy Investment (2009)

4.18     Asian Defence Spending

5   Data and calculations

“We have produced one firearm for every ten inhabitants of this planet, and yet we have not bothered to end hunger when such a feat is well within our reach.” 

Óscar Arias Sánchez, former President of Costa Rica (the first country to formally abolish its military forces)

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”  

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower


Read the Executive Summary (pdf also available).

Click to access the-five-percent-campaign-report-020317.pdf