Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Comparative Southeast Asian Military Modernization

Comparative Southeast Asian Military Modernization

Southeast Asia’s military modernization over the last half decade has been impressive. Defense expenditures across the region have risen, on average, by nine percent each year since 2009, but the region’s countries have not been uniform in their approaches. The degree to which those countries with maritime interests have modernized their militaries appears to be increasingly linked to their strategic concerns related to changes in the geopolitical environment, edging out domestic considerations that have long dominated many of their military procurement decisions.1 In this “Topics of the Month,” I compare the approaches of various states in the region and raise questions about the sources of differences, which may stimulate an exchange of opinions.

Of course, the biggest change in Southeast Asia’s geopolitical landscape has been…

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