List of sources


BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion) is an independent, not-for profit organisation and deals with a wide range of global topics in the field of peace and conflict research centering on Conversion Studies.

BICC calculates the number of heavy weapons systems on an annual basis. Its primary source for data on weapons holdings is the publication The Military Balance of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).When necessary, IISS data have been complemented by information on individual countries from various sources, such as Jane’s weapons handbooks and newspaper articles.

The BICC database on weapons holdings contains data on ten types of weapons of the following four categories a) heavy weapons systems: armoured vehicles (armoured personnel carriers, light tanks, combat tanks), b) artillery of more than 100mm calibre (multiple rocket launchers, howitzers, field howitzers) c) combat aircraft (attack helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft), and d) combat vessels (submarines, surface vessels larger than corvettes). Smaller combat vessels as well as carrier vessels, tankers, etc. have not been taken into account.

The definition of “weapons holdings” only includes holdings of government troops; holdings of armed opposition groups are not included, neither are stored weapons systems.



BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion) is an independent, not-for profit organisation and deals with a wide range of global topics in the field of peace and conflict research centering on Conversion Studies. The Global Militarisation Index (GMI) is calculated by BICC. The GMI depicts the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of a state compared to society as a whole. The following indicators are taken into account: Military expenditures as a share of GDP and in relation to the health sector, military personnel and reservists in relation to the population and to doctors, and finally the ratio of heavy weapons systems to the population.



Each year, the German government publishes its arms exports report on its exports policy regarding conventional arms and related materials. It lists the total value of individual export licences in the context of an export list. The export of all arms and related materiel must be licensed. This list is based on the EU Common List of Military Goods and of the Wassenaar Agreement. All arms export applications are decided individually and under careful consideration of the foreign, security, and human rights policy arguments of the German government. Germany bases these decisions on the common rules for the control of the export of military technology and military goods laid down in the Common Position of the European Union.



The IISS publishes figures on military capacities available worldwide on an annual basis. With research being central to IISS activities, its experts deliver impartial policy advice on military and strategic issues. In its annual publication The Military Balance, it provides information on the number of service personnel, weapons, population and GDP for 171 countries. It mainly provides detailed and differentiated lists of weapons and soldiers (including recruits and paramilitaries) per country. The Institute also evaluates military capacities and arms economies.


SIPRI - Milex Database

The open-access Military Expenditures Database by SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute) provides latest data on defense expenditures worldwide. The current data, published in 2018, is calculated for the base year 2017 in US-Dollar. Basically, official documents of the respective governments, reports of the UN or NATO or secondary sources like magazines or newspapers are consulted for the annual data. Furthermore, SIPRI carries out its own surveys to complete the data. Since national defense expenditures can be transferred to non-scheduled budgets, they can be difficult to quantify. Hence, SIPRI sometimes reaches its limit with regard to the completeness of the data.



UNESCO supports science, education, communication and culture. Global expenditures on education are published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in an annual study. The data are based on official documents of the national governments and ministries (mostly ministries of finance and education). The data set shows all teachers who teach full- or part-time in lower and upper level secondary school.



The World Health Organization is part of the United Nations. Its duties are technical and advisory support, the setting of normative standards and the assessment of trends in the health sector. It collects data on national governments based on their respective health reports, as well as further information published by governments or ministries. The WHO estimates missing data, when possible. Expenditures on health comprise, for instance, wages for medical staff and materials.


The World Bank

The World Bank, based in Washington, DC, supports developing countries through financial and technical means. Its focus is the sustainable fight against poverty through further education and advisory services. The World Bank has 188 members and is divided into five institutions. It obtains its data on the population from the United Nations. As not all governments provide data on a yearly basis, the United Nations refers to the last official population census as the basis for their estimates. It takes into account the factors of birth- and death rate as well as international migration.



In its annual yearbook, SIPRI publishes current global imports and exports of arms and related materiel of countries. For this, it uses a system that it created which is based on indicators of different values. Each weapons system is allocated a value, a so-called TIV (trend indicator value). With the help of the TIV, SIPRI calculates all weapons transfers to, from and between countries and non-state actors and obtains an indicator for the scope of the transfers. SIPRI collects the data from primary sources, such as data from national governments or the United Nations, evaluations of these sources as well as further secondary sources, such as journals and newspapers.


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