The Military Balance is The International Institute for Strategic Studies' annual assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics, and is available in both print and electronic format. It is also now available as a database – the Military Balance+, which allows users to customise, view, compare and download data instantly, anywhere, anytime. The Military Balance is an essential resource for those involved in security policymaking, and an indispensable handbook for anyone conducting serious analysis of military affairs, whether in the defence industry, government, the armed forces, academia, consultancy or the media.
In The Military Balance 2017, launched on 14 February, opening texts examine developments in armed conflict and military capability, including: 'The changing defence-industrial landscape', analysing acquisitions and mergers in the US, European and other markets, and the effect of declining Western defence budgets on procurement; 'Special-operations forces', examining the development, utility and operational capacity of this capability; and 'Twenty-first-century challenges to twentieth-century deterrence', which considers how deterrence norms may be challenged by new and complex threats.
A Comparative Defence Statistics colour graphics section displays headline figures for defence economics and selected trends in land, sea, air and the defence industry. The Military Balance 2017 includes the following full-colour graphics:
- Top 15 defence budgets 2016
- 2016 top 15 defence and security budgets as a % of GDP
- Planned global defence expenditure by region 2016
- Planned global defence expenditure by country 2016
- Real global defence spending changes by region 2014–16
- Defence budgets in states bordering the East and South China seas (2016)
- Composition of real defence spending increases 2015–16
- Composition of real defence spending reductions 2015–16
- Selected European aerospace defence consolidation, 1990–2016
- Key defence statistics for China, France, India, Russia, the UK and the US, including headline numbers of key military capabilities, and active and reserve personnel
- Battlefield missiles and rockets: Russian and US equipment capabilities
- Attack helicopter operators and fleets, 1997–2016
- Anti-submarine warfare: fixed-wing-aircraft fleets
Regional and select country analyses assess the major developments affecting defence policy, military procurement and defence economics, in North America, Europe, Russia and Eurasia, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Specific country analysis this year includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Eritrea, France, Iraq, Japan, the Nordic states, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam and Yemen. The online and digital-download versions of The Military Balance 2017 include additional content, featuring analysis of defence developments in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran and Israel.
Within the regional chapters, maps and tables further assess select defence issues. Graphics features detail select key equipment, including the United States' Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, Russia's Almaz Antey S-400 (SA-21 Growler) air-defence system and the British Army's new Ajax armoured reconnaissance vehicles. These contain diagrams informed by analysis, facts and figures, and exemplify the broader work carried out within the IISS Defence and Military Analysis Programme.
Detailed A–Z entries by region list national military organisations, headline personnel numbers, equipment inventories and relevant economic and demographic data as well as, at the end of each chapter, information on selected national arms procurements and deliveries. Additional data sets detail by region military exercises conducted during 2016, comparative defence spending and personnel numbers by country, and a non-state armed groups section detailing observed equipment holdings for select groups.
The Military Balance Wall Chart this year assesses 'US forces in Europe in 1989 and 2017'. The chart displays US force dispositions and basing in Europe and selected other locations in both 1989 and 2017. It shows the change in force levels and equipment capabilities between those years, providing quantitative comparisons of personnel, forces and equipment, alongside analysis of other issues related to the US military presence in Europe.
Map features include main operating bases and headquarters; unit types and associated equipment types for each location; and Army Prepositioned Stock and European Activity Set depots. Accompanying text boxes assess the size, role and missions of US ground, air and naval forces in 1989 and 2017, US missile defence in Europe and the European Reassurance Initiative. Associated graphics show numbers of US military personnel in Europe and Total US military personnel in 1989–2016, US European Command organisations and units, and US Forces in Europe equipment.
The Military Balance Wall Chart is available to purchase separately. Bespoke sizes can be accommodated on request.
'Amid continuing conflict and broadening insecurity, The Military Balance provides essential facts and analysis for decision-makers and for better informed public debate.’ Dr Robert M. Gates, former US Secretary of Defense and Director of Central Intelligence
‘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
'The Military Balance is the unique and vital resource on which informed public debate of the world's armed forces is founded. Up-to-date figures and information on defence budgets, procurement totals, equipment holdings, and military deployments are presented clearly and succinctly. In the area of defense information, where nationally produced fictions often masquerade as facts, The Military Balance is the internationally recognized source of record.' William S. Cohen, former US Secretary of Defense
The Military Balance 2017 will be released on 14 February 2017. Print copies are available to order.