World’s Armed Forces Ranked

From Strategy page. They also rank all the countries so I urge you yo go to site and read more



Armed Forces of the World

Data current to 2002-2008

The charts shows key data on most of the world’s nations as of mid-2008.

One very important things to keep in mind is that a small number of nations possess the majority of the worlds economic power and population. Just eight nations (U.S., China, Japan, Germany, France, India, Britain and Russia) possess two thirds of the world’s economic activity (GDP), 51 percent of the population and 31 percent of the real estate. This small group of nations, out of some 200 on the planet, also possess nearly all nuclear weapons. Very few nations have armed forces that can do much more than fight internal foes, or neighbors.

Small nations not shown on the Charts; Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Cape Verde Islands, Comoro Islands, Cyprus (Greek and Turkish), Guyana, Iceland, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Suriname and Trinidad. All of these nations have miniscule armed forces (although the two halves of Cyprus can call on the armed forces of Greece and Turkey).

For details on the nations in each continent, see the individual nation notes below.

These charts give evaluations of the quantity and quality of each nation’s armed forces. The quantity of each combat unit has been derived from various open sources. Quality has been determined by evaluating historical performance. All armed forces are not equal, and this inequality has been expressed numerically. In calculating the numerical value of total strength it is important to differentiate between what floats and what doesn’t. Aircraft carriers and tank divisions are very different instruments of destruction. Both cost about the same, but a carrier cannot march on Moscow, nor can a tank division hunt submarines in the Atlantic. For this reason, land force capabilities only are listed. In reality, they are not entirely separate. Naval forces, particularly carriers, can support ground combat. Tank divisions can seize ports needed by naval forces for their sustenance. Destructive effect was the main consideration in assigning values. This was modified by the mobility and flexibility of the system. Tank divisions can move over a wide area to fight while most air defense forces are limited in their capabilities and mobility. While the numbers of men and weapons are fairly accurate, estimates of quality factors are subjective. Readers may impose their own evaluations. The assessments given are based on current conditions and historical experience. Don’t underestimate the historical trends.

Naval power is difficult to compare to land power, as it is with land power that you ultimately defend yourself or overwhelm an opponent. For nations that are not dependent on seaborne trade, naval power is less important than those that are. For most industrial nations, and many third world countries that have periodic food shortages, loss of sea trade is a serious problem.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to most of the second largest fleet in the world rapidly decaying in the 1990s. Russia lost about 80 percent of its naval power. It’s still the second largest fleet in the world, but the U.S. Navy now has over half the naval combat power in the world, and even more of the kinds of ships that can be sent anywhere on the planet. We are now in the third century of either Britain or the United States as the dominant naval power in the world.

When the Cold War ended, all navies shrunk, even the U.S. Navy. But those of the European nations were reduced the most. In the Pacific, Japan, South Korea and China continued to expand their fleets. So did India. But the U.S. naval forces in the Pacific are still the major player in that region.

Column keylists every nation with a combat value of one or more. Nations with a combat value of less than 1 have little more than national police capability. Many smaller countries, especially those that lack a threatening neighbor, use their forces primarily for internal security. These lesser military powers often repel an invasion most effectively simply by arming the population. Nations are grouped into six regions:. European Nations, Middle East Nations, American Nations, East Asian Nations, African Nations, South Asian Nations.


is the ranking of each nation within its region

is the total combat capability of the nation’s armed forces except for their navies. Certain nations like Israel and Switzerland have a rapid mobilization capability which achieves the combat value shown within three days of mobilization. Their normal, unmobilized, combat value is less than one third of the value shown. As explained elsewhere, combat value is modified by geographical, climate and political factors. The value given here is a combination of the quantity and quality of manpower, equipment and weapons. This raw combat value is then multiplied by the force multiplier (see below) to combat value shown in this column.

NAVAL capability is separate from land value and is found on the naval forces chart

(total force quality) is a fraction by which raw (theoretical) combat power should be multiplied to account for imperfect leadership, component of force quality, support, training and other “soft” factors. Think of it as an efficiency rating, with “100” being perfect and “55” being a more common 55 percent efficiency.

(population in millions) indicates the nation’s relative military manpower resources. Population is also a more meaningful indicator of a nation’s size than territory. By our count, the world population is 6.6 billion.

(Gross Domestic Product, in billions of dollars) is a rough gage of the nation’s economic power. This does not translate immediately into military power because of the time needed to convert industry from civilian to military production. Mobilization of some types of military equipment takes years. Other types of weapons, especially those using electronics, can be brought to bear in months. By our count, the world GDP is $57.7 trillion (thousand billion).

 (active military manpower in thousands) is the total uniformed, paid manpower organized into combat and support units. Because of the widely varying systems of organizing military manpower, this figure is at best a good indicator of the personnel devoted to the military. Industrialized nations hire many civilians to perform support duties, while other nations flesh out skeleton units with ill-prepared reserves, uncertain effect on wartime strength. The use of reserve troops varies considerably. By our count, the world total of active troops is 20.6 million.

 (Military Budget in millions of dollars) is the current annual armed forces spending of that nation. All nations use somewhat different accounting systems for defense spending. Efforts are made to eliminate some of the more gross attempts at hiding arms expenditures. Some of the figures, particularly for smaller nations, may be off by 10 percent either way. By our count, the world defense spending is $1.35 trillion (2.34 percent of GDP).

is the annual cost per man for armed forces in thousands of dollars. This is an excellent indicator of the quantity and, to a lesser extent, the quality of weapons and equipment. Some adjustments should be made for different levels of personnel costs, research and development, strategic weapons and waste. The United States, in particular, is prone to all four afflictions. The precise adjustments for these factors are highly debatable. One possible adjustment would be to cut the US cost per man by at least one third. Other nations with strategic programs and large R&D establishments (Russia, Britain, France, China, etc.) should be adjusted with deductions of no more than 15 percent. Britain could also take another 5 or 10 percent cut because of its all-volunteer forces higher payroll. Most nations are willing to pay for a volunteer force, if they can afford it. That’s because volunteers tend to be more effective. At the other extreme, many nations produce a credible defense force using far less wealth. Low paid conscripts, good leadership and the sheer need to improvise enables many of these poorer nations to overcome their low budgets. However, most nations end up getting what they pay for.

(Armored Fighting Vehicles) These include tanks, armored personnel carriers and most other armored combat and support vehicles. AFV are the primary components of a ground offensive, and greatly enhance chances of success.

 are the number of combat aircraft available, including helicopter gunships and armed maritime patrol aircraft. This, like AFV, is a good indicator of raw power. The quality of the aircraft, their pilots, ground crew and leadership, air force are the most important factors in the air power’s overall value.

The Total Quality is calculated by assigning 0 (lowest) to 9 (highest) values for the following components of combat capability.

is leadership. The quality of officers and NCOs.

is equipment. The quantity and quality of military equipment.

is experience. Not just combat experience, but the quality of training.

 is support. This is logistics, the ability to get military supplies to the troops.

is mobilization. The ability to mobilize the national resources for combat.

is tradition. Military tradition, good military habits, based on practical experience.

Notes on National Military Power

(for those who are not keen on numerical analysis)

What follows is a brief comment on each nation covered in the chart. In alphabetical order.

One Response

  1. this is very stupid so

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