Battlefields are constantly evolving, and modern warfare is quickly advancing. In turn, this is causing countries around the world to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into their militaries in the constant race to develop the most advanced training, technology and weaponry. The permanent pressure to have the best armed forces in the world is usually connected to certain geopolitical and geostrategic goals, and military force or the projection of this force is a very important factor in achieving those goals.
But head-to-head comparisons of military strength between countries are extremely hard to come by — which is what makes the Global Firepower annual rankings so noteworthy. Their 2021 Military Strength Rankings draw on more than 55 factors to assign a Power Index score to 139 countries. The ranking assesses the diversity of each country’s weapons and pays particular attention to their available manpower. Geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the size of defines budgets are also considered. The top power index score is 0.0000, which is “realistically unattainable,” according to Global Firepower. The closer a country is to this number, the more powerful its military is. But who are the top five militaries in the world? Let us take a quick glance over the list and the explanation behind the rankings.
For 2021, Japan is ranked fifth. After its defeat in World War II Japan was considered down and out. However, in recent decades it has been arming up at a great rate. With its huge economy, educated population, and being a technological powerhouse, its military is greatly equipped and budgeted.
The fourth place is held by India. India is one of the largest military powers on the planet. It has the most active manpower of any country aside from China and the US, in addition to the most tanks and aircraft of any country besides the US, China, or Russia.
China’s armed forces have been ranked third out of a list of 139 countries based on their capability on land, sea and air, as well as their financial dexterity and diversity of weapon systems. The Chinese military has grown rapidly in terms of both size and capability in the past few decades. In terms of raw manpower, it is the largest military in the world. China has also made rapid strides in its military modernisation program.
The Russian armed forces are unquestionably the second strongest military power in the world. More than a decade ago, the Russian government began to modernise its military forces and recalibrate its strategic doctrines. Russia has the world’s largest tank fleet, the second largest aircraft fleet behind the US, and the third largest submarine fleet behind the US and China.
In what should not be a surprise, the US retains its top spot as the undisputed military power in the world. America’s biggest conventional military advantage is its fleet of aircraft carriers, by far the most aircraft of any country and cutting-edge technology. Despite budget and spending cuts rumours, Washington has allocated more than $740 billion to the U.S. military budget in 2021.