Observers increasingly have expressed concern about what has been described as the militarization of the Third World. Yet it is seldom clear what is meant by the term. This paper represents an attempt to cut through the multitude of conflicting conceptualizations, provide a more precise and operational meaning of the term, and differentiate between militarization and militarism. Two forms of militarization are identified and its multiple dimensions are operationalized and utilized in an evaluation of its nature and extent in the contemporary Third World. According to recent data, it seems that militarization in developing countries is not advancing as rapidly as it once was; and it may not be the problem some have assumed it to be.