Chinese naval officers and sailors line up on the deck at a port in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang Province, April 28, 2020.

Chinese naval officers and sailors line up on the deck at a port in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang Province, April 28, 2020. Xinhua/Jiang Shan via Getty Images

Defense Business Brief: Global defense spending up; In-person trade shows to resume; Lawmakers want billions for shipyards; and more.

While the U.S. defense budget is flattening, global defense spending climbed 2.4 percent in 2020, according to a new analysis from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. “The five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62 percent of global military expenditure, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom,” the analysis states. Of note: 

  • China’s military budget totaled $252 billion, growing for the 26th consecutive year. 
  • The nearly $2 trillion spent globally comes as the global GDP shrank by 4.4 percent.
  • 12 NATO members spent the recommended 2 percent of GDP on defense, three more than 2019. “Although more NATO members spent more than 2 percent of GDP on their militaries in 2020, in some cases this probably had more to do with the economic fallout of the pandemic than a deliberate decision to reach the Alliance’s spending target,” SIPRI’s Lopes da Silva said in a statement.
  • Since 2014, global defense spending has increased 14 percent, according to Cowen & Company’s Roman Schweizer.

In-person trade shows are on track to resume this summer. The Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland, is scheduled for the first week of August. Organizers of the Space Symposium, held annually in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said this year’s gathering in late August will feature both in-person and virtual attendees. The Association of the U.S. Army also emailed that it “is designing a first-class and safe in-person 2021 Annual Meeting and Exposition in close coordination with the District of Columbia and with the full support of the U.S. Army.” The AUSA conference is scheduled for mid-October.

The State Department this week approved a $1.7 billion sale of 160 M1A1 tanks to Australia. It also OKed a $259 million sale of four CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Australians.

Raytheon Technologies disclosed it has received a subpoena related to a Justice Department investigation of a 2017 contract.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would invest $25 billion “to make investments needed to optimize, improve, and rebuild shipyard facilities, electrical infrastructure, environmental systems, and the equipment of public and private shipyards in the U.S. that support the U.S. Navy fleet.” More here.

Making Moves

  • The Senate confirmed Colin Kahl as the defense undersecretary for policy. President Biden has nominated Frank Kendall to be Air Force secretary and Heidi Shyu to be defense undersecretary for research and engineering. 
  • Former House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, has joined the U.S. board of CAE, the Canadian defense training firm. 
  • Vincent Stewart, the retired Marine Corps lieutenant general who led the Defense Intelligence Agency, has been named a partner at Pine Island Capital Partners, a private investment firm.
  • Boeing’s board of directors has extended the company’s standard retirement age from 65 to 70 so CEO Dave Calhoun, 64, can remain in his position. Also, CFO Greg Smith announced he plans to retire in July. The company is searching for a successor.
  • Raytheon Technologies Chairman Tom Kennedy will retire on June 1, on which day CEO Greg Hayes will become chairman.

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