The 11 Most Powerful Militaries In The World
Asymmetrical wars in Afghanistan, Vietnam, and now in Syria demonstrate all too clearly that relatively small numbers of belligerents can carry out successful military operations against superior forces.
But still, firepower is extremely important. A country's projection of power relies in large part upon its military capabilities. Successfully being able to project and wield that power is a key diplomatic asset.
The website Global Firepower ranks the most powerful militaries in the world based on multiple factors, including available manpower, total labor force, and access to strategic assets. Nuclear capabilities are not included in the calculation.
Below are the 11 most powerful militaries in the world according to the 2014 rankings (click country names to see military assets data).
1. The United States
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The U.S. defense budget is $612 billion. Despite sequestration and other spending cuts, the United States spends more money on defense than the next ten highest spending countries combined.
America's biggest conventional military advantage is its fleet of 19 aircraft carriers, compared to 12 carriers operated by the rest of the world combined. These massive carriers allow the U.S. to set up forward operating bases anywhere and project power throughout the world.
The super power also has by far the most aircraft of any country, cutting-edge technology like the Navy's new rail gun, a large and well-trained human force — and that's not even counting the world's largest nuclear arsenal.