Do Oil Exports Fuel Defense Spending?
Dr Clayton K S Chun
Monograph by the US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute
"This monograph explores the impact that oil revenue had on the national defense spending of five oil-exporting countries. Despite periods of falling oil revenues, these countries typically did not lower defense spending. In some cases, defense spending increased sharply, or the rate of decrease was much lower than the drop in oil revenues. This condition creates challenges for national security professionals. If nations face falling oil revenues and still have the will and ability to expand their military or security capabilities, then they might do so through the sacrifice of domestic spending or regional stability. Economic sanctions, worldwide recession, or falling oil demand may not stop these oil-exporting nations from purchasing weapons and creating large security forces. Although oil might have been a key to provide past or future earnings expectations to fund defense, perhaps there are other reasons why nations want relatively high defense spending levels despite lower oil revenue. The politics of oil and its impact on government control, regional threats, national interests, and other strategic factors may explain why these nations pursue defense spending despite falling oil revenue."