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 2013, the annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide, was launched on Thursday 14th March 2013.

New features in The Military Balance 2013: 

Reorganised and expanded analytical essays; new sections on trends in contemporary armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria, as well as trends in defence capability areas, with a focus on equipment, technological or doctrinal developments; an essay on trends in defence economics and procurement, one on European defence industries, and another on Anti-Access/Area Denial; detailed analysis of regional and national defence policy and economic issues for selected states; updated graphics feature on comparative defence statistics, with focus on defence economics, and major land, sea and air capability concerns; tables, graphics and analysis of defence economics issues; additional national capability summaries; additional data on land forces: combat support and combat service support; new graphics and maps on defence capability issues; additional data on cyber capabilities.

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  • Editor's Foreword

    The Military Balance 2013 is a comprehensive and independent assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics. It is also a reference work on developments in global military and security affairs.  The strategic consequences of the Arab Spring and the brutal conflict in Syria again dominated headlines throughout 2012. Syria increasingly preoccupied policy planners in the Middle East and Europe, given the impact of the war on Syrian civilians and its...
  • Chapter 1, Part I: Conflict Analysis and Conflict Trends

    Armed conflict continued around the world in 2012. Many are captured on the 2013 Chart of Conflict included with this volume, and further details can be found in the IISS Armed Conflict Database. In a section new to The Military Balance this year, the IISS examines the wars in Afghanistan and Syria, analysing the course of both wars from November 2012 to November 2013. Both involve conflict between insurgents and...
  • Chapter 1, Part II: Trends in defence capability

    For Western armed forces, the dilemmas highlighted in recent editions of The Military Balance continue. Budget pressures are forcing states to conduct defence reviews that in many cases are leading to reductions in military organisations, inventories and capabilities. A key element of this challenge will be to decide which capabilities to keep, and in what scale and number, and even whether these should be retained on a national basis. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capacities, sometimes costly and in...
  • Chapter 1, Part III: Anti-access/Area denial: Washington’s response

    Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been able to deploy its considerable military capacity to operational theatres unopposed, and once in theatre has faced little if any opposition in key areas of its own asymmetric advantage, such as air and space power, and the ability to engage targets with precision weaponry at extended ranges. However, the Department of Defense (DoD) has recognised since the late...
  • Chapter 1, Part IV: Global trends in defence economics

    Macroeconomics Global economic growth slowed from 5.1% in 2010 to 3.8% in 2011 and an estimated 3.3% in 2012, as advanced economies continued to struggle with high levels of sovereign, bank and household indebtedness. Heightened financial contagion emanating from the eurozone – the 17 countries using the euro as a common currency – adversely affected European growth, while the unwinding of various domestic stimulus packages enacted in Asia in the aftermath...
  • Chapter 1, Part V: Europe’s defence industrial base: consolidation stymied, for the time being

    Merger talks between Europe’s two largest arms manufacturers, BAE Systems and EADS, were revealed in September 2012. In the end, no agreement could be reached, but the talks brought uncomfortable facts about Europe’s defence industrial base into the open. It seems unwise to rule out the possibility of such a deal at some point in the future. However, even if no BAE–EADS merger ever eventuates, change seems likely to be...
  • Chapter 2: Comparative defence statistics

    The Military Balance 2013, the annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide, was launched on Thursday 14th March 2013. New features in The Military Balance 2013:  Reorganised and expanded analytical essays; new sections on trends in contemporary armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria, as well as trends in defence capability areas, with a focus on equipment, technological or doctrinal developments; an essay on trends in defence economics and...
  • Chapter 3: North America

    Washington began 2012 by unveiling new strategic guidance and ended the year with the last of its ‘surge’ forces exiting Afghanistan. Many of the remaining 68,000 will leave by the end of 2014 as the US withdraws from a combat role. It is, then, little wonder US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the US armed forces were at a ‘strategic turning point’, with the pending transition to Afghan security...
  • Chapter 4: Europe

    In 2012, closer defence cooperation remained at the top of the agenda within both NATO and the EU. Budget pressures continued to drive defence-policy decisions in member-state capitals, and leaders began to ask how armed forces that have grown used to operating together will maintain interoperability in the future. This is particularly pressing given the possibility that the operational tempo will decrease after the combat element of the NATO-led ISAF...
  • Chapter 5: Russia and Eurasia

    Efforts by the senior leadership in the Ministry of Defence to reform Russia’s armed forces continue. As in previous years, these initiatives ranged in 2012 from the bureaucratic to the practical, such as developing the armed forces, training and exercise regimes. The stated ambition to professionalise the armed forces is intended to be achieved by increasing the number of contract servicemen while retaining a conscript element. The armed forces, however...
  • Chapter 6: Asia

    Most Asian states have been expanding their military budgets and attempting to improve their armed forces’ capabilities in recent years. This is largely a result of increasing uncertainty about the future distribution of power in the region and widespread suspicions, in some cases increasing tension, among regional armed forces. While these efforts are intended to deter potential adversaries, there is substantial evidence of action-reaction dynamics taking hold and influencing regional...
  • Chapter 7: Middle East and North Africa

    The Arab uprisings of 2011 have led to a recalibration in relations between armed forces and the state across the Middle East. The magnitude of the shift varies across the region, producing a new relationship between militaries and civilian governments in places such as Tunisia and Egypt, while in other states – notably where regimes resisted the uprisings – existing structures and practices were reinforced. But despite this recalibration, there...
  • Chapter 8: Latin America and the Caribbean

    The most significant security problem for states in the Caribbean and Latin America is the threat to law and order posed by transnational non-state groups engaged in narcotics trafficking and other criminal activity. In 2012, for example, Mexico remained gripped by the activities of narco-criminal organisations; according to President Felipe Calderón, criminals there have ‘started to control territories and cities’. In some states, the armed forces remained deployed on law-enforcement...
  • Chapter 9: Sub-Saharan Africa

    Conflict and insecurity continue to dominate the defence and security debate across much of the continent. Since the fall of the Gadhafi regime in Libya in 2011, weaponry, mercenaries and armed groups have spread across the Sahel region. Some of the Tuareg tribesmen who rose up against the Malian government in January 2012, for example, had returned from fighting in Libya in possession of relatively sophisticated arms. The government’s weak...
  • 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 2012...
  • Reference

    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.
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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

The Military Balance 2013

Contents and Foreword

The Military Balance 2013 table of contents is available to download as a PDF >

The Military Balance 2013 Editor's Foreword is available to download as a PDF >

Press Statement

Military Balance 2013

A press statement for the launch of The Military Balance 2013 is available to read.