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Publication 22.12.2021

GDI 2020 Global Report: Disruption, Democratic Governance, and Corruption Risk in Defence Institutions

The Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI) measures institutional resilience to corruption in the defence sector by focusing on both policymaking and public sector governance in national defence establishments. It is the first global analysis of institutional and informal controls to manage the risk of corruption in defence and security institutions. It measures resilience in five broad risk areas of defence: policymaking, finances, personnel management, operations, and procurement. This report examines the findings from the 2020 iteration of the GDI, which comprises 86 individual country assessments, all published between October 2019 and November 2021.

These country assessments form the basis of this research report which examines how key findings from the index fit into broader global geopolitical and governance trends. In doing so, the report also outlines an extensive framework of good practice that promotes accountable, transparent, and responsible defence governance.

The report’s conclusions give serious cause for concern. Nearly two thirds of  defence sectors in all regions and economic groups present high to critical levels of corruption risk. While overall performance is poor across all five risk areas assessed, military operations stand-out as the most compromised risk area. The arms trade is another significant area of corruption risk, with 49% of global arms imports going to countries with high to critical corruption risk in the defence sector. 

A positive finding from analysis of the GDI data is that some of the largest military spenders and defence exporters also have the highest levels of transparency. Confidentiality, therefore, is not an essential pre-condition for a strong defence sector but a political decision.

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