The IISS launched The Military Balance 2016 on Tuesday 9 February 2016. IISS CEO and Director General Dr John Chipman introduced the book, followed by a Q&A with experts from the IISS Defence and Military Analysis Programme.

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 and military exercises, 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.

New Features in The Military Balance 2016:

  • Complementing analysis of regional military dynamics, such as the wars in the Middle East in Syria, Yemen and against ISIS, the book carries detailed analysis on defence matters in the US, China, Russia, France and the UK and also this year on Poland, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.
  • New thematic analytical texts on armoured fighting vehicles, China’s ballistic missiles and deterrence in cyberspace.
  • A new Military Balance Wall Chart, with a focus on Gulf region missile defence.
  • New technical equipment-focused graphics, including on Europe’s Meteor air-to-air missile, Russia’s T-14 Armata main battle tank and China’s new Type-052D destroyer.
  • Updated graphics feature on comparative defence statistics, with a focus on defence economics, defence industry and major land, sea and air capabilities.
  • Updated summaries of national military capability.
  • Updated selected non-state armed group ‘observed equipment’, including Hizbullah, separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and the ISIS, among others.
  • An updated table of military training exercises, arranged by region.
  • Updated entries on select national cyber capabilities.
  • New maps and tables, including military dispositions in Crimea from 2014–15, NATO’s developing activities in Eastern Europe, and operational deployments in the Middle East by regional and extra-regional powers.

'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 launch was chaired by Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of the IISS and took place in the Lee Kuan Yew Conference Room at Arundel House, 13–15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX.


*All first-time visitors to Arundel House are required to provide photographic ID (Passport, European ID card or Driver's Licence) and have their photograph taken upon arrival. This will be stored on our security system to streamline access on future visits. If you would prefer that your details are not stored, please inform reception as you exit the building. Photographic ID will be required again on your next visit to IISS.

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Event details

Press Launch
Arundel House, London
Tuesday 9 February 2016
09:00 – 09:30am Informal breakfast reception
09:30 – 10:30am IISS Director-General and Chief Executive, 
Dr John Chipman’s remarks and Q&A with the panel

The Military Balance 2016

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