Global military spending soared to a new high in 1987 of about $930 billion, or $1.8 million a minute, an annual study has found.

But along with the increase of $50 billion from 1986, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed for the first time to scrap an entire category of nuclear weapons -- missiles with ranges of 315 to 3,125 miles.

There were more wars under way than at any previous time in history, but also several promising breakthroughs for peace, said Ruth Leger Sivard, a former U.S. official who compiled the spending figures.

As potential turning points in the arms race, she cited the Washington summit meeting last month that produced the treaty, a proposed withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and efforts to reduce tensions in Central America and the Persian Gulf.

Sivard received financial help from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Arms Control Association, the British Council of Churches and other private groups.

In 1987, Sivard reported, the United States spent $293 billion on its military and the Soviet Union $260 billion. Together, this represented 59 percent of the world's military expenditures.

U.S. military spending went up $13 billion from 1986 and Soviet spending $15 billion. Overall, the developed countries spent $790 billion on the military in 1987, a boost of $76 billion, while developing countries spent $140 billion, a $5 billion decrease.

There were 26.6 million men and women in armed forces around the world last year, an increase from 25.8 million in 1986. Middle Eastern countries reached a peak of 3 million, while there were decreases in China and Africa.

The United States trimmed its forces to 2.16 million from 2.4 million, and the Soviet Union's forces increased to 3.8 million from 3.66 million.

Twenty-two wars were under way in 1987, a record high. The total death toll so far is 2.2 million, Sivard said. Civilians account for 64 percent of the casualties.

In a section called "Priorities," Sivard included these findings:

The Soviet Union, which has spent an estimated $4.6 trillion for military purposes since 1960, ranks 23rd among 142 countries in economic-social standing.

Protecting Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf costs the U.S. Navy an extra $365 million a year above normal operating costs, about three times as much as the U.S. budget in research on energy conservation.