The Military Balance is The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide. It is an essential resource for those involved in security policy-making, analysis and research.

The Military Balance 2012, the annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide was launched on Wednesday 07 March 2012. 

New Features in The Military Balance 2012:

Essays on Arab militaries and the Arab Awakening (including the war in Libya), the war in Afghanistan, and trends in combat and capability since 9/11; in-depth tables, graphics and analysis of defence economics issues; new analysis of national capabilities; additional data on land forces: combat support and combat service support; new graphics and maps on global defence; new data on cyber capabilities.

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  • Editor's Foreword

    The Military Balance 2012 is a comprehensive and independent assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 territories. It is also a reference work on developments in global military and security affairs. One year ago, defence analysts may have assumed a number of issues would dominate the defence debate in 2011, including the continuing shift in the relative balance of military power to Asia; China’s rise, and its growing...
  • Preface

    The Military Balance 2012, the annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide was launched on Wednesday 07 March 2012. New Features in The Military Balance 2012: Essays on Arab militaries and the Arab Awakening (including the war in Libya), the war in Afghanistan, and trends in combat and capability since 9/11; in-depth tables, graphics and analysis of defence economics issues; new analysis of national capabilities; additional data...
  • Chapter 1, Part I: Arab militaries and the Arab Awakening

    The upheavals that have shaken the Arab world since December 2010 have to a large extent been shaped by the behaviour of the security services in each country. As of December 2011, no clear pattern had emerged, and differences in the employment, cohesion, performance and effectiveness of military and internal security forces were notable throughout the region. These differences can be explained by factors such as varying levels of pay...
  • Chapter 1, Part II: Combat and capability: military trends since 9/11

    By 11 September 2001, Western armed forces were 12 years removed from those that had, during the  Cold War between the late 1940s and 1989, generally trained for potential war in Europe. The period from 1989 to 2001 saw them engaged on a wide range of operations. By 2001, these forces were confident they could conduct peace-support operations as well as combat operations against state actors. At the same time, some military professionals and analysts considered that the...
  • Chapter 1, Part III: The war in Afghanistan

    The war in Afghanistan remains the main focus of military effort for the US and many other countries in NATO and beyond, as the refusal to divert resources from Afghanistan to the Libya campaign demonstrated. But despite some military successes, and record numbers of foreign troops, political progress remains elusive. In November 2010, NATO and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed that Afghan authorities would take the lead for security across the country from the end of 2014, a move...
  • Chapter 2: Comparative defence statistics

    The Military Balance 2012, the annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide was launched on Wednesday 07 March 2012. New Features in The Military Balance 2012: Essays on Arab militaries and the Arab Awakening (including the war in Libya), the war in Afghanistan, and trends in combat and capability since 9/11; in-depth tables, graphics and analysis of defence economics issues; new analysis of national capabilities; additional data...
  • Chapter 3: North America

    US forces continued to be heavily engaged in combat and stabilisation actions in Afghanistan while, at the end of December 2011, the last US troops left Iraq. The aftermath of these wars, combined with the impact of the financial crisis on government budgeting and US perceptions of its allies’ willingness to shoulder the burden in conflict, may have an impact on the nature and extent of US involvement in future...
  • Chapter 4: Europe

    The question of how to manage the pressure on defence budgets remains at the forefront of many defence ministers’ minds, though circumstances vary across countries. Governments are applying a range of strategies to cope with the impact of the financial and economic crisis. While some have initiated austerity measures and seem destined for an extended period of defence cuts, the procurement cuts and delays so far announced do not yet...
  • Chapter 5: Russia

    Chief of the Russian General Staff Nikolay Makarov said in mid-September 2011 that most goals of the modernisation process launched by President Dmitry Medvedev in late 2008 had already been achieved or were nearing completion. However, the reforms have not always run smoothly. Changing requirements and budgeting difficulties mean some ambitions have not been realised on schedule and others not at all. The army’s transformation to a combined-arms brigade-based structure...
  • Chapter 6: Asia

    Each year, statistics in The Military Balance highlight a significant and continuing shift in the distribution of relative military strength away from the West and towards Asia. While economic problems are undermining defence spending in the US and European countries, Asia is becoming increasingly militarised. In a regional context of strategic uncertainty, many Asian countries’ sustained rapid economic growth is providing substantially increased resources for their armed forces. Asian states’...
  • Chapter 7: Middle East and North Africa

    The tumult across the the Middle East and North Africa, sparked by the self immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010, has rocked many states in the region, and toppled some long-established regimes. The way militaries have behaved has depended on particular national situations. In some cases, such as Tunisia and Egypt, the armed forces distanced themselves from the regime; in others, such as Bahrain, Syria, Yemen...
  • Chapter 8: Latin America and the Caribbean

    The most significant driver of policy change in the region in 2011 was non state in nature – a security crisis in Mexico and Central America as violence in Mexico reached unprecedented levels and several Central American states acknowledged the presence of predominantly Mexican criminal networks in their territories. Little changed in Mexico itself, however: President Felipe Calderón resisted calls for a change of course in his government’s war against...
  • Chapter 9: Sub-Saharan Africa

    How to best address the range of diverse security challenges on the continent has in recent years been a preoccupation of many defence and security establishments. The Military Balance has traced the evolving debates and practical developments surrounding the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Standby Force (ASF). The ASF is the African Union’s prescribed instrument for eventually meeting the military demands of the continent. Five brigades of...
  • Chapter 10: Country comparisons - force levels and economics

    The Military Balance is The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide. It is an essential resource for those involved in security policy-making, analysis and research.
  • Chapter 11: Non-State Groups and Affiliates

    The Military Balance is The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide. It is an essential resource for those involved in security policy-making, analysis and research.
  • Explanatory Notes

    The Military Balance is updated each year to provide an accurate assessment of the military forces and defence expenditures of 171 countries and territories. Each edition contributes to the provision of a unique compilation of data and information, enabling the reader to discern trends through the examination of editions as far back as 1959. The data in the current edition are accurate according to IISS assessments as at November 2011, unless specified. Inclusion of a territory, country or...
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The Military Balance 2015

The Military Balance is the authoritative assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries.

Forthcoming February 2015, available to pre-order:

 
Print edition £310.00
Product variations
Print edition £310.00 + shipping

Military Balance 2012

Table of Contents

The Military Balance 2012 table of contents is available to download as a PDF >

Press Statement

Military Balance 2012

A press statement for the launch of The Military Balance 2012 is available to read.