Our politicians including President Obama himself constantly remind us that the United States Armed Forces remain to be the most powerful in the world and America is the only superpower left after the collapse of the soviet union. Politicians however are not known for their honesty and so it is necessary to take an objective view of our military capabilities based on eight key components namely manpower, air-power, naval power, land capabilities, power projection, technology, budget and oil resources.
Our nation has a population of 318 million of which roughly one third is capable of military service and over 4 million reach acceptable military recruiting age annually. Despite recent cutbacks the military maintains a total of 1.3 million active personnel and up to 800,000 soldiers in reserve. China on the other hand has a population of over 1.3 billion people which means that even if we less the entire population of the US from china they would still have another 1 billion people to go. China also has active military personnel nearly twice that of our country at 2.4 million troops and three times our reserve personnel at over 2.3 million troops. (P.S. this is China’s manpower with the one child per couple policy which was recently amended to allow two children.)
Our nations Air Force has since the end of the second world war been considered supreme and this fact continues to this day. We maintain over 13, 000 military aircraft compared to China’s 3,000 and Russia’s 3,500. All of our fighter planes, bombers and interceptors are all modern and well equipped with the latest advancements for air combat. China`s and Russia`s respective Air Forces are still undergoing refurbishment because most of them are from the cold war era and can be easily considered the equivalent of flying scrap metal. America is also the only nation in the world with a fighter designated as a fifth generation plane namely the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor which is capable of outmaneuvering every other fighter plane in the world.
In terms of naval capabilities our nation has more aircraft carriers than the rest of the world combined and maintains over 70 submarines and 60 destroyers. While its true that North Korea has more submarines and total naval vessels than we do, it is largely a navy of floating junk using technology from the 60`s and manned by underfed naval troops.
This is where it gets tricky for the United States because while we maintain 8,000 tanks, 40,000 armored vehicles and 1,300 artillery guns Russia has double the number of tanks we do at 15,000 and they are just as good if not better because Russia’s lethal T-90 can match our M-1 Abrams. Proof of this is that they have been recently deployed in both Ukraine and Syria with devastating effects. China also has the advantage on land because even though America has a high kill ratio it wouldn’t matter against China because they have such a high population that they would let as many people die as necessary until they finally got the advantage. This strategy was used by the Soviets against a better trained Germany at the battle of Moscow and Stalingrad because no matter how many soldiers the Nazis killed more just kept coming.
This is a military and political term used to measure how well equipped a nation is to rapidly enforce and sustain its will on other nations through use of economic power or armed forces. In this category the United States is far and beyond any other nation in the world because the use of aircraft carriers means we have floating bases in any part of the world we want and the Marine corp is specifically designed to deploy to any country within a matter of days.
While the United States may have dominance over the rest of the world in terms of technologies such as stealth bombers, accuracy of ICBMs and satellite technology, it should be noted that countries like China, Russia and India are making great strides to catch up. Examples of this is that China recently deployed small but deadly naval vessels built for a few million dollars but capable of sinking Americas 10 billion dollar carriers.
Our defense budget is larger than the next 8 nations put together but China is quickly catching up and it is anticipated that China may surpass us by as soon as the year 2030. Our current budget stands at just over 600 billion dollars while China is at 150 billion.
The most important resource in war time is without a doubt oil because all vessels short of nuclear powered submarines and carriers all depend on oil as their main source of energy. Both America and Russia have immense oil reserves that could be utilized at war time so as to ensure self sufficiency.
THE NUCLEAR OPTION.
In case you are wondering why the nuclear option is not considered as a factor, it`s because of MAD which means mutual assurance of destruction. A war between nuclear powers such as Russia and America would likely result in a nuclear winter in which no nations would survive and thus rendering the war pointless.
With all the facts in perspective, it`s rather obvious that our nation indeed still possess the best armed force in the world and will continue to do so for decades to come.
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