Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Transparency in Military Spending and Arms Acquisitions in Latin America and the Caribbean

Mark Bromley, Carina Solmirano

January 2012

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Military spending has risen considerably in Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years and several states in the region are engaged in major arms acquisition programmes. Despite generally positive interstate relations, fears have been expressed about the impact of these developments on regional stability and poverty-reduction efforts. Allaying such fears requires high levels of transparency in military spending and arms acquisitions in order to build confidence among states and permit informed public debates on the appropriate allocation of national resources. This original and thorough study surveys transparency in the region. It assesses information published at the national level on defence policy and the military budget and measures participation in regional and international transparency mechanisms. It suggests ways to improve the current levels of transparency in the military sector and will provoke debate and open the door to further research on the topic.