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 is an authoritative assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries. Detailed A–Z entries list each country’s military organisation, personnel numbers, equipment inventories, and relevant economic and demographic data. 

Regional and select country analyses cover the major developments affecting defence policy and procurement, and defence economics. The opening graphics section displays notable defence statistics, while additional data-sets detail selected arms orders, military exercises and deployments, as well as comparative defence expenditure and personnel numbers. 

The Military Balance is an indispensable handbook for anyone conducting serious analysis of security policy and military affairs. 

Because military affairs are inevitably clouded in fog, the IISS Military Balance is an essential companion for those who seek to understand.’ Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, former UK Defence Secretary and Secretary-General of NATO

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  • Editor’s Introduction

    The Military Balance 2014 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. Defence cuts continue in Western nations, Asian states develop and procure advanced military equipment in a region replete with conflicting territorial claims, and the continuing effects of the Arab Spring dominate regional defence and security concerns. These and many other subjects...
  • Chapter 1, Part I: Conflict analysis and conflict trends

    As the war in Afghanistan enters it thirteenth year, and two years after the final exit from Iraq, military thinking in the West is motivated by a range of imperatives. Some are rooted in financial stringencies; others derive from a desire to leave behind the most difficult aspects of those military experiences. That desire has also helped resurrect thinking that in future, armed conflict might be waged quickly, cheaply and...
  • Chapter 1, Part II: Unmanned systems: capabilities develop amid continuing policy questions

    In recent years the use of unmanned systems has been given increased attention by armed forces, defence ministries, defence industry, analysts and the media. The most visible capability in this area has been the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), attracting particular public interest because of the integration of weapons systems and the use of some platforms as strike assets in locations such as Pakistan. However, unmanned systems are making inroads into...
  • Chapter 1, Part III: Measuring cyber capability: emerging indicators

    Coercive cyber capabilities are becoming a new instrument of state power, as countries seek to strengthen national security and exercise political influence. Military capabilities are being upgraded to monitor the constantly changing cyber domain and to launch, and to defend against, cyber attacks. Specific military enhancements to traditional capabilities include technically capable recruits, high-end intelligence and surveillance technologies, aggressive defence innovation, sophisticated doctrines and dynamic strategies for cyber operations. (For...
  • Chapter 2: Comparative defence statistics

    The Military Balance 2014, the annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide, was launched on Wednesday 5th February 2014. Features in The Military Balance 2014: Essays on developments in armed conflict, unmanned systems and the cyber domain; a graphics section of comparative defence statistics, including headline figures for defence economics and inventory holdings, and selected trends in land, sea, air and defence industry; regional and select...
  • Chapter 3: North America

    Throughout 2013, US forces remained engaged globally; on long-established and newer deployments – both short- and long-term. Combat and other missions continued in Afghanistan. Army, navy, marine-corps and air-force units were also called upon to participate in small-scale – but often high-impact – missions related to counter-terrorism imperatives, such as those in Somalia and Libya. As the drawdown from Afghanistan continued, attention was shifting towards the implications of the debate...
  • Chapter 4: Europe

    Since the economic and financial crisis hit Europe in 2008, the capability challenge facing European nations has been out in the open and increasingly well understood by NATO and EU member states: there will be a growing gap between security demand and capability supply. Not least because of the re-orientation of US defence policy towards the Asia-Pacific, European governments will need to assume a greater share of the burden for...
  • Chapter 5: Russia and Eurasia

    Just over four years after the ‘New Look’ defence reform process started, the Russian Defence Ministry and armed forces began 2013 with new civilian and military leaders. President Vladimir Putin appointed Sergei Shoigu as defence minister on 6 November 2012, after dismissing Anatoly Serdyukov, ostensibly over a corruption scandal. Putin said Serdyukov’s removal would allow an ‘objective’ investigation into allegations that defence-ministry-controlled military contractor Oboronservis was selling off ministry assets...
  • Chapter 6: Asia

    Across Asia, continuing efforts to strengthen military capabilities have taken place against rising strategic tensions among major powers in the region, including the United States. China’s efforts to improve its military capabilities in 2012–13 were wide-ranging and reflected, among other factors, its continued economic growth. Chinese sources also expressed concern over the military dimensions of the US ‘rebalance’ to the Asia-Pacific, which was widely interpreted – in the region, as...
  • Chapter 7: Middle East and North Africa

    SYRIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR REGIONAL ARMED FORCES The Syrian civil war grew more complex during 2013. The main armed struggle, between the Assad regime and rebel forces, was compounded by conflict within rebel ranks, direct intervention by Hizbullah, growing numbers of foreign Sunni jihadi fighters, and regional and global tensions. By the end of the year, the death toll had approached 120,000 and one-third of the total population was either displaced internally...
  • Chapter 8: Latin America and the Caribbean

    Drugs and insecurity Organised crime and insurgencies continue to pose strategic threats to Latin American countries. In South America, insurgents and criminal groups presented serious challenges for state forces, particularly in Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. Heavy pressure from security forces in Colombia pushed powerful criminal groups to seek new routes for drug trafficking; Venezuela deployed its armed forces to the streets of the capital, Caracas; and Brazil, in response to increasing...
  • Chapter 9: Sub-Saharan Africa

    The conflict in Mali The already fragile security situation in Mali rapidly deteriorated in January 2013. A coup in early 2012 had toppled the government, the north of the country had effectively been lost to Tuareg and Islamist rebels, and though there had been pledges of international military assistance in the form of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) contingent and an EU training mission, the deployments had yet...
  • Chapter 10: Country comparisons - commitments, 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.
  • Explanatory Notes

    The Military Balance is updated each year to provide an assessment of the armed 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 by studying editions as far back as 1959. The data in the current edition is accurate according to IISS assessments as at November 2013, unless specified. Inclusion...
  • 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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