According to recent reporting from Business Insider, the world’s top thirty-five militaries have been identified through a series of analytical and data collection means.  Using data compiled from Global Firepower and The Center For Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Business Insider created a useful infographic that visually displays the results of their analysis.

We wanted to identify the results of Business Insider’s product and share it with the SOFREP readership due to the comparative and learning value that comes from it.  Especially in today’s conflict-saturated global environment, a country’s ability to influence the world and its sphere of influence more often than not relies heavily on its ability to employ its hard mechanisms of power, namely the military.

As SOFREP has previously reported, despite the fact that recent conflicts have turned away from conventional force-on-force engagements and instead emphasized unconventional and asymmetric warfare (and all the growing pains and learning curves associated with such a shift), it is just as critical to examine and question the conventional capabilities of current world military standings.

Flaunting hard power with a grandiose parade, courtesy of Reuters.

As was identified during the information gathering stage of this project, there are “many factors that help determine which  military is the world’s most powerful.  Among them are: manpower, military budget, access to resources, and the amount of equipment”, for starters.

However, the number of factors that allow a country to utilize its power mechanisms and exert its influence across the globe is very difficult to identify (there are over 50 in this case), and does not even begin to take into account the effectiveness or quality of the aforementioned.  It must be emphasized that this product focuses solely on numbers, and disregards any associated quality (i.e. in professionalism, equipment, training, and ultimately effectiveness).

Armed with information provided by the Global Firepower Index, which combined a ranking of 106 militaries worldwide, Business Insider compiled a graphic that displays the top thirty-five most powerful nations, along with the various factors used to determine their rankings.  Factors used in creating the graphic were: manpower, tanks, aircraft, nuclear warheads, aircraft carriers, submarines, and budget.

Aside from the factors displayed in the graphic, it is also important to note that the data in the Global Firepower system is constantly updating but is shaped by a number of constants, keeping in mind that geographical factors, natural resource reliance, and current politics and military leadership is not taken into account.  The intent of the Global Firepower system is to present as much of an unbiased outlook on available data on military power as possible.

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Should more research be desired, Global Firepower also provides analysis of power mechanisms and ratings based on other factors, to include: manpower factors (total populations, those fit for service, active reserve manpower, etc.), land systems, resources, logistical, financial, geographic, and even a power breakout by world region.  The amount of analysis that can be taken from the available data is only as limited as the user pulling the information.

Thanks for listening.

The World's Top Militaries: Do Numbers Alone Guarantee the Most Powerful?

Infographic courtesy of Business Insider, Global Firepower, and The Center For Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

(Featured Image Courtesy: The Daily Mail)