The Brazilian government plans to increase the number of its voluntary army from 300.000 to 500.000 in the next two decades as the defense budget keeps growing steadily said ministry sources. The country’s defense budget soared 44.5% in real terms in the last five years.
The increase in the number of military personnel, without counting recruits will be parallel to the expansion of investments established in the National Defense Strategy approved by President Lula da Silva in 2008, added the sources quoted by daily O Estado de S. Paulo.
“Lula increases defense spending by 44,5% between 2004 and 2009 when it reached the equivalent of 26 billion US dollars,” was the essence of the article published Sunday in O Estado.
“The defense budget tends to keep growing because 36 new fighter bombers are to be purchased, a new submarine base is to be built and a flotilla of submersibles including one nuclear powered will be incorporated to the Brazilian navy,” said Professor Márcio Scalercio, from the International relations Department from the Catholic University or Rio do Janeiro.
However, together with other academics, Professor Scalercio rejected the idea that the region was facing an arms race, particularly against neighboring countries.
“Brazil needs defense resources, it must re-equip and this does not mean an arms race with other countries of the region,” pointed out Professor Thomas Heye from the Fluminense Federal University.
Brazil’s defense expenditure as percentage of GDP was 2.6% in 2006, the latest available data.
Based on SIPRI’s (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) top 15 countries with the highest military expenditure for 2008 using market exchange rates, Brazil ranks 12 with US$ 23.3 billion with a 1.6% share of world military expenditure.