We face a paradoxical situation today, where despite near record levels of global military expenditure many would describe the world as less secure than it has ever been. However, there is growing awareness that security can be built and strengthened in many ways. This issue of Disarmament Forum examines a range of actions that can be considered investments in security.

We start with an overview of the “traditional” investment in security, as measured by military expenditure. We then turn to how investing in development, particularly the Millennium Development Goals, can make an essential contribution to building security. Our third author looks at the various costs associated with armament, many of which are often misattributed to disarmament. Another article describes the checks and balances of the US arms export system and examines how these contribute to security in both the importing and exporting states. The final contribution looks at security sector reform and democratic control of the armed forces, particularly in relation to arms procurement.

Citation: Kerstin Vignard (ed.) (2005). "Disarmament Forum: Investing in Security", UNIDIR, Geneva.

Disponible aussi en français.


  • Editor’s note, Kerstin Vignard
  • Military expenditure, Elisabeth Sköns
  • Investing in development: an investment in security, Michael Brzoska and Peter Croll
  • Disarming the costs and benefits of arms control, Susan Willett
  • Transparency and accountability in arms export systems: the United States as a case study, Matt Schroeder
  • Beyond military expenditure and arms control: promoting democratic governance of the security sector, Ravinder Pal Singh