President Donald Trump has emphasized military might during his first year in office, but the US is not the only country seeking to expand its battlefield capacities. Between 2012 and 2016, more weapons were delivered than during any five-year period since 1990.
Arms sales indicate who is beefing up their armed forces, but head-to-head military comparisons are harder to come by. Global Firepower’s 2017 Military Strength Ranking tries to fill that void by drawing on more than 50 factors to assign a Power Index score to 133 countries.
The ranking assesses the diversity of weapons held by each country and pays particular attention to the manpower available. The geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the status of local industry are also taken into account.
While recognized nuclear powers receive a bonus, the nuclear stockpiles are not factored into the score.
Moreover, countries that are landlocked are not docked points for lacking a navy, though they are penalized for not having a merchant marine force.
Countries with navies are penalized if there is a lack of diversity in their naval assets.
NATO countries get a slight bonus because the alliance would theoretically share resources, but in general, a country’s current political and military leadership was not considered.
“Balance is the key — a large, strong fighting force across land, sea and air backed by a resilient economy and defensible territory along with an efficient infrastructure — such qualities are those used to round out a particular nation’s total fighting strength on paper,” the ranking states.
Below, you can see the 25 most powerful militaries in the world:
Power Index rating: 0.4366
Total population: 40,263,711
Total military personnel: 792,350
Total aircraft strength: 502
Fighter aircraft: 89
Combat tanks: 2,405
Total naval assets: 85
Defense budget: $10.6 billion
24. Saudi Arabia
Power Index rating: 0.4302
Total population: 28,160,273
Total military personnel: 256,000
Total aircraft strength: 790
Fighter aircraft: 177
Combat tanks: 1,142
Total naval assets: 55
Defense budget: $56.7 billion
23. North Korea
Power Index rating: 0.4218
Total population: 25,115,311
Total military personnel: 6,445,000
Total aircraft strength: 944
Fighter aircraft: 458
Combat tanks: 5,025
Total naval assets: 967
Defense budget: $7.5 billion