Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Comparing pan-European intelligence spending

We commonly hear about German net contribution to the EU, as they are without a doubt the largest. However, this is not considering the full picture, as other factors really should be considered.

We all know that German defence spending run afoul NATO guidelines (2% of GDP), however what is less commonly reported is the pan-European level of spending on intelligence.

I located this master's degree titled "A STUDY INTO THE SIZE OF THE WORLD’S INTELLIGENCE INDUSTRY", which dates back to 2009. No doubt numbers have grown significantly since then. (see below)

UK: $2.85bn
Italy: $2.23bn
France: $636m
Germany: $515m

Without the shadow of a doubt, when measuring relative to GDP, only Italy really challenge us.


Looking further into this, for FY 2013-14:

"The three security and intelligence agencies already get a combined budget that in 2013-14 amounted to £2.48bn, known as the Single Intelligence Account (SIA)."


"The government's new Joint Security Fund is to allocate an extra £1.5bn annually for military and intelligence agency spending across government."

That's anywhere in the range of £2.5-£4bn. The average GBP/USD FX rate in 2013 was 1.6, meaning we committed $4-6.5bn only 4 years later.


2015-16 numbers are £2.87bn, and £1.5bn = £4.37bn * 1.4 $/£ = $6.1bn

Here's Germany's outlay for 2017: €832.86 * 1.10 = $915m.

In simple terms - the UK spends more than $5bn more annually on intelligence than Germany, yet the Germans expect to benefit from this without increasing their own contribution. That sounds rather suspiciously like Germany shirking their responsibilities wrt intelligence spending, much as they do in regards to stated NATO spending policy.

Finally, as a member of Five Eyes, the UK cooperates closer to American intelligence, thereby accessing a substantially wider array of information.

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