Speed Reads

Leader of the pack

America led the world in weapons sales with $40 billion last year

The U.S. signed weapon-sale deals worth about $40 billion last year, ranking it first in the world, according to a new congressional study. France ranked as the No. 2 arms seller, far behind with $15 billion. Developing nations continued to rank as the top buyers, led by Qatar with more than $17 billion in weapons purchases, followed by Egypt with $12 billion, and Saudi Arabia with more than $8 billion.

Despite ongoing terrorism threats, total sales in 2015 dropped to $80 billion from $89 billion the year before, "due, in part, to the weakened state of the global economy," wrote Catherine A. Theohary, a national security policy specialist at the bipartisan Congressional Research Service and author of the study.