History and Warfare
If history has shown the observer one thing, it is that war follows man like a shadow. According to one source, documented history has recorded an estimated 300 years of known peace on our planet - leaving thousands of years open to conflicts of varying degrees. Interestingly enough, this mostly unknown fact forces us to recognize that there has been some source of conflict - be it religious, ethnic, territorial or otherwise - between two or more groups on our planet on a consistent basis for thousands of years.
GFP provides a unique analytical display of information covering nations from around the world with statistics based on various public sources. Countries covered include the major global players prominent in today's international landscape along with other smaller nations making the news - this spectrum helping to produce a broad comparison of military strengths from across the globe. This is a personal and experimental site meant for entertainment and to stir up dialogue.
Things You Should Know
The user should note that nuclear capability is not taken into account. This listing is purely a "numbers game" meant to spark debate and including such game-changers as nuclear weapons would clearly defeat the purpose of such an experiment. In any case, most any nation going to war would more than likely refrain from using such destructive warfare being that since the atomic bombs dropped in 1945, no nation has utilized this form of warfare for at least 60+ years despite there being a good amount of conflicts since then and more nuclear powers at play in the world. If there is a World War 3, it will most likely still be of the conventional sort.
The comparisons here are for consideration in a "straight-up" war based solely on a nation's capabilities from land, sea and through the air with other statistics covering the logistical and financial aspects of waging such a campaign. Statistic sources and years are stated whenever possible. Some statistics may be estimated if concrete numbers are not available.
It goes without saying that lists such can be completely subjective, though the GFP intention is to be wholly unbiased. No list could ever offer a proper display of accurate military firepower unless one had a full-time staff researching these numbers daily with many connections to these world governments. This listing is updating approximately once every 12 months based on new (if any) information garnered from various print and online sources.
The GFP final ranking is based on an in-house formula used to generate an average of all applicable statistics found on this website when compared against each country with applicable modifiers (bonuses and penalties) added to each nations score to present a more accurate list. The last major statistics review was in February of 2009. The GFP ranking list was updated in May of 2009. Changes to the list now include factors for current/recent military experiences, training levels and equipment quality. Denmark, South Africa and Georgia are new-adds bringing the country total to 42 nations.
Enjoy the numbers! It is hardly a super-accurate scientific measurement of military strengths but still entertaining to consider at the very least.
Rank 1-10 Observations: The United States (GFP formula value of 0.184) remains the undisputed leader of our list thanks to their staying "active" in global hotspots, showcasing the world's largest navy and continuing to poor in gobs of money into defense. Our formula sees China edge out Russia but only by the slimmest of margins (0.238 versus 0.241 respectively) with an edge in available manpower and financial capital. France (0.636) and Germany (0.672) are relative equals for the most part but the GFP formula gives a slight edge to France thanks to an aircraft carrier and capable navy as well as a bump in defense spending. Brazil (0.756) is the most powerful South American country on the list thanks to available manpower and a capable navy. Japan (0.920) is a "sleeper" power that sneaks into the top ten with a good navy, strong logistical infrastructure and capital.
Rank 11-20 Observations: Our formula provides for a good disparity between North and South Korea, placing South well-ahead of the North thanks to better infrastructure and capital. Mexico's placement this high on the list is interesting to note - it scored a good balance across the board in all major categories. Israel finally gets a proper placement on this year's list - just out of the top ten - sporting a strong land army with equally strong training, modern equipment and recent combat experience.
Rank 21-30 Observations: No surprises here. A basic collection of modern armies of generally equal strengths.
Rank 31-42 Observations: The bottom of the list features two rebuilding nations (Iraq and Afghanistan) as well as two "recovering" nations (Georgia and Lebanon) along with powers that generally stay relatively quiet.
Old Rank Order (from #1 - #39): USA, Russia, China, India, Germany, France, Japan, Turkey, Brazil, UK, Italy, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, Iran, Egypt, North Korea, Spain, Pakistan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Argentina, Sweden, Israel, Greece, Taiwan, Syria, Philippines, Poland, Ukraine, Norway, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Lebanon, Nepal and Afghanistan.