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August 21, 2020

Soldier Modernization: Macroeconomic Trends

Warfare, and more specifically the way it is viewed throughout the last century, has certainly come a long way since the two World Wars. From trench warfare to Blitzkrieg, the necessity to keep adapting and modernizing to global threats is paramount to national governing bodies. The 21st century is no different, for a new era of warfare is now on the horizon.

By GlobalData Thematic Research

With soldier modernization (SM) at the constant forefront of military powers, it was only a matter of time until futuristic sci-fi weaponry and integrated soldier systems became a reality.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the soldier modernisation theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Defence budgets

Defence budgets will determine the ability of governments to acquire the necessary capabilities and establish cooperation with allied nations. Nevertheless, considering the range of security threats that need to be tackled, along with the rest of a society’s need, financial and other resources (manpower, raw material etc.) will always be in scarcity. In sum, given the cyclical nature of an economy, defence budgets will always go through periods of increase, but that would never suffice to procure the full range of capabilities, even for the major powers.

Common procurement and R&D cost sharing

Sharing the costs of platforms and systems development is expected to expand as a trend, as new technologies require considerable investments. In addition, given the limited funding in relation to the range of needs, initiating common procurement between countries can reduce the acquisition and life-cycle costs.

The BENELUX soldier modernisation program is such an example that allowed three bordering countries to maximise their purchasing power by procuring the same system (VOSS – BEST – COMPASS).


Pooling and sharing of forces are a positive step towards many directions, including tackling fast arising security threats or ones that cannot be fully addressed by one country. An example of that is the NATO VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force). When it comes to digital soldier systems, the member-countries of a task force will have to establish a common operational and technical ground to cooperate seamlessly during operations.

This is an edited extract from the Soldier Modernization – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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