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By 2015 China’s military spending exceeds that of Britain, France, and Germany combined.*

A U.S. Air Force pararescueman jumping out of an HC-130P Hercules aircraft.Singapore and other countries eschew traditionally heavy and expensive Western defense models, instead “leapfrogging” to unmanned, autonomous models. Just as mobile phones allowed developing countries to skip land lines, the self-sufficiency and cost-effectiveness of emerging tools strengthen these actors’ roles in future conflicts. China, among others, effectively skips years of costly R&D, allowing it to benefit from speedy weaponry and equipment modernization, thereby reducing the competitive edge of foreign nations. Iran, taking advantage of less-expensive and widely available munitions and battle-networking technologies, develops ballistic missiles and guided munitions, and transfers them to non-state proxies.

See: Global defense outlook 2014

 

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* “As West cuts, global defense industry balance shifts,” Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/12/us-arms-companies-global-idUSBREA1B18N20140212.