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Top 30 Most Powerful Militaries

Name the countries with the the most powerful military forces on the planet.
According to the website Global Firepower
Demographic and economic data is a factor, non-conventional weaponry (nukes) is not
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: December 16, 2020
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First submittedJanuary 23, 2013
Times taken150,881
Average score80.0%
Rating4.57
3:00
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Rank
PwrIndx
Answer
1
0.0606
United States
2
0.0681
Russia
3
0.0691
China
4
0.0953
India
5
0.1501
Japan
6
0.1509
South Korea
7
0.1702
France
8
0.1717
United Kingdom
9
0.1872
Egypt
10
0.1988
Brazil
Rank
PwrIndx
Answer
11
0.2098
Turkey
12
0.2111
Italy
13
0.2186
Germany
14
0.2191
Iran
15
0.2364
Pakistan
16
0.2544
Indonesia
17
0.3034
Saudi Arabia
18
0.3111
Israel
19
0.3225
Australia
20
0.3388
Spain
Rank
PwrIndx
Answer
21
0.3397
Poland
22
0.3559
Vietnam
23
0.3571
Thailand
24
0.3712
Canada
25
0.3718
North Korea
26
0.4008
Taiwan
27
0.4457
Ukraine
28
0.4659
Algeria
29
0.4985
South Africa
30
0.5259
Switzerland
100 Recent Comments
+2
Level 71
Apr 26, 2019
I'm from the Czech Republic and the only answer I missed is... the Czech Republic.
+1
Level 82
Apr 26, 2019
it's odd that it is included.
+1
Level 26
May 5, 2019
I seriously forgot Israel. 19/20 good job me
+1
Level 48
May 8, 2019
Got them all but Spain. Oops.
+1
Level 74
Jul 22, 2019
As far as I'm aware, there's been an update in the GlobalFirepower index. I don't like it, because the UK has slipped down the rankings, but it's happened...

*sad British noises*

+1
Level 82
Jul 22, 2019
Looks like there hasn't been any changes to the countries included in the top 30, just a bit of shuffling up and down within their ranks. I'll probably hold off updating until next year. They still haven't fixed the stupidity of the algorithm that boosts the Czech Republic so high.
+1
Level 72
Aug 10, 2022
There has been a lot of investment in capability by the Czech government in recent years. They’ve dropped down to 41 now, I believe this is because they’re in a transitional phase of modernisation. They remain a relatively big producer of armaments, and have been historically. Up until 2004, they had cumpulsory military service, so would have ranked even higher then. I wouldn’t be too inclined to underestimate the Czechs, I think that they’d punch well above their weight, if push came to shove.
+2
Level 89
Jul 25, 2019
Argentina didn't show up? I'll be darned.
+2
Level 63
Jul 26, 2019
I forgot Germany??? Hahahaha! I'm honestly surprised that some of the biggest drug-running countries such as Colombia from South America didn't make the list... surely they have the armaments?
+1
Level 82
Jul 27, 2019
Not really. Ak-47s are not really much use against aircraft carriers, stealth bombers and predator drones.
+1
Level 58
May 1, 2024
Lets be honest- you didn't forget germany, you just didn't know it
+1
Level 63
Sep 4, 2019
What about Freedonia, they have a formidable army?
+1
Level 50
Jan 20, 2020
Got all but Israel. I’m an idiot for that. Shocked by the Czech Republic
+1
Level 82
Feb 3, 2020
As I said back in the day, I still have my serious doubts about the algorithm. I don't believe the USA, Russia and China are anywhere near that close. Russia and China to each other, sure, but neither or them are even close to the US. Take aircraft carriers and force projection more generally, for example - the US has a clear advantage over both combined. Indeed I have little doubt that, though it wouldn't be easy, quick or bloodless, the USA could take both the Russian Federation and the PRC together. On the other hand, it seems about right that there's such a big jump from the top three to fourth. I doubt India could at present pose much of a threat to China, though they do have a quality navy.
+1
Level 29
May 4, 2020
Why is North Korea so low
+7
Level 82
May 4, 2020
Because it's not very powerful.
+1
Level 58
May 4, 2020
Best answer ever!
+1
Level 29
May 6, 2020
Well they have nukes, a 2,000,000 strong army, and many planes, missiles, and a sizeable navy
+4
Level 82
May 6, 2020
The algorithm only factors conventional weaponry, so nukes are not included. It also takes into consideration things like economic power, natural resources, geography, etc. North Korea has an anemic economy, it can't feed its own people day to day, it has no oil or anything like that. It's a house of cards that would collapse without outside support. Most of their military technology is obsolete, too. But they do have a lot of jets, a lot of submarines, a lot of artillery, and a very large army... so they make the list.
+1
Level 49
Jun 5, 2020
I love smart, succinct answers....nice!
+1
Level 72
Aug 10, 2022
Not to mention the fact that, what nukes they may possess have probably been cobbled together with bits of old milk cartons, empty aluminium cans and some sticky tape. They’d probably go off in one of their faces, like your drunk uncle messing about at a home firework display.
+1
Level 29
May 6, 2020
It is true their economy is falling to s***
+1
Level 27
May 6, 2020
omg i forgot germany
+4
Level 63
Aug 14, 2020
Australia has the 21st most powerful military in the world and they still lost a war to emus. Smh
+1
Level 82
Aug 14, 2020
Emus are OP
+1
Level 43
Apr 30, 2024
Exactly how you gonna beat something that can still run after being filled with lead by a 50 cal.
+2
Level 56
May 26, 2022
USA has the 1st most powerful military in the world and they still lost a war to drugs. Smh
+1
Level 72
Dec 16, 2020
Hey @Kal, do you know why the source info chooses to exclude nukes etc.? If I was a megalomaniac dictator thinking of invading someone else, that’s probably one of the most important factors affecting my decision.
+2
Level 83
Dec 16, 2020
I guess because there's too much psychology involved to judge their real significance.
+3
Level 82
Dec 16, 2020
I don't know but I assume it's because the widespread use of nukes would render conventional weaponry pointless and would be a civilization-ended event where nobody won. And, knowing this, most governments and world leaders with an IQ in triple digits are extremely reluctant to use nuclear weapons for any reason, making them basically very expensive very dangerous paperweights in the majority of scenarios.
+1
Level 72
Dec 17, 2020
Interesting. I would still assume they would have a huge deterrent effect if nothing else. To me that would be worth more than a couple of hundred tanks, for example, but I guess it’s tricky to decide exactly what weight to give to nukes. Still seems a slightly strange omission to me, but sure. An interesting quiz regardless.
+1
Level 62
Dec 16, 2020
What countries changed from the previous list? And Which ones went down and up?
+4
Level 82
Dec 17, 2020
I didn't do the update but looks like South Africa and Switzerland are new. Don't remember who was at the bottom before. I think Sweden, the Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Singapore, and the UAE were on some previous iterations.
+2
Level 78
Dec 17, 2020
Switzerland small but powerful 🇨🇭
+3
Level 76
Dec 18, 2020
If we relax, even for a second, Liechtenstein will invade.
+1
Level 74
Mar 21, 2021
Liechtenstein is just waiting for their opportunity to pounce. Switzerland needs its military to protect itself.
+1
Level 78
Feb 10, 2021
Switzerland stronk 💪
+1
Level 44
Dec 17, 2020
Pretty impressed with myself didn't expect to get 21 first go
+1
Level 64
Dec 18, 2020
I got Switzerland but forgot Canada...
+1
Level 76
Jan 28, 2021
I would love to see a quiz that divides these power numbers by the area or population of the countries... small countries with strong militaries. I'd imagine Israel would be very high up there.
+1
Level 59
Feb 9, 2021
How did I forget Israel, of all places?
+1
Level 73
Feb 10, 2021
So Switzerland is better than Greece? Nonsense listing...
+1
Level 82
Feb 10, 2021
I haven't looked at the page's methodology in a while, but I'm guessing that this is another quirk of the algorithm they use which grants an absurd boost to landlocked countries, since they are not penalized for having no navy. Theoretically this should be neutral, giving them neither an advantage nor disadvantage over other countries with a coastline that do have navies; but I think that in practice the fact that the USA's navy so completely dwarfs every other country in the world's makes things a bit janky, and so any country with access to a sea, even if they have the *2nd* largest navy in the world, is automatically at a disadvantage (in terms of the algorithm) versus any country that does not. That's my best guess. ::shrug::
+1
Level 82
Feb 10, 2021
Fortunately, for whatever reason, landlocked countries tend to have very poor militaries, and so this weakness in the algorithm doesn't affect this quiz very much. Only one landlocked country cracks the top 20 this year. But in the past, the other strangest members of the top 20 (Ethiopia and the Czech Republic) were also landlocked. So I'm pretty sure it's the same thing happening in each case.
+1
Level 22
Feb 10, 2021
That large Swiss army must get bored
+3
Level 68
Feb 10, 2021
Nah, they've got those knives to play with.
+1
Level 68
Feb 10, 2021
GREECE should have been in there...
+1
Level 71
Feb 10, 2021
Egypt is a bit weird. Not a huge surprise and I totally expected it to be on here, but it's kinda an outlier in the top 10 among other countries that are mostly either very developed, very populous, or both.
+1
Level 82
Feb 10, 2021
I don't see it that way. Apart from North Korea, pretty much every country in the world that spends an exorbitant amount of money, as a percentage of GDP, on their military is in or around the Middle East. And this goes back decades. Egypt, being at the heart of many of those historical Middles Eastern conflicts going back to the dawn of civilization, being in the recent past by far the most advanced, most prosperous, most culturally significant Arab Muslim nation in the world (before the big Arabian oil boom), and presently still the most populous Arab country in the world and one that is heavily militarized and essentially controlled by a military dictatorship... seems to belong in my eyes.
+1
Level 71
Feb 12, 2021
Suppose that makes sense. I don't know much about modern Egyptian history, but based on what I do know, the military has always played a pretty important and powerful role. Plus, France and the UK have significantly smaller populations and arguably less of a need for a strong military than Egypt.
+3
Level 65
May 19, 2022
A couple thousand years ago and you'd see Egypt right up at the top of this list. So, you know, ups and downs.
+1
Level 80
Feb 10, 2021
Yet another quiz in which knowing the most populous and economically prosperous countries serves as a quasi-proxy for knowing what the quiz is actually about.
+1
Level 45
Feb 10, 2021
100%
+2
Level 34
Feb 10, 2021
Great Quiz! But War is bad, in my opinion.
+2
Level 82
Feb 11, 2021
Having a powerful military can be an effective means of preventing war. and I agree.
+1
Level 68
May 17, 2021
I think it's time you updated the quiz, I checked your source and Greece is now on there, and a bunch of countries moved.
+1
Level 82
May 17, 2021
I may look into it. I think QM started updating this one automatically. But it might be on a 1 or 2 year timer I don't know how it works when he does that.
+1
Level 67
Jun 13, 2021
Only missed Taiwan, that seems to be the one I overlook on these types of quizzes, got Poland in the last half second
+1
Level 57
Oct 20, 2021
I think Greece has now replaced South Africa
+1
Level 62
Jan 29, 2022
I guessed Greece.
+1
Level 82
Nov 7, 2021
Canadry recently became the 4th person on my block list, because he's a troll and QM won't allow me to respond to him accordingly. I would summarize what he had contributed to the conversation, but, he has contributed nothing.
+2
Level 62
Jan 29, 2022
Only missed Switzerland,always forget a country with such a powerful military yet hasn't fought a war in over 200 years.
+1
Level 62
Jan 29, 2022
If this was between 1908-1918, then Bulgaria probably would've been top 20.
+1
Level 84
Mar 10, 2022
The 2022 list is out. Greece is in, Algeria is out!
+2
Level 82
Mar 11, 2022
I think QM set this up to be self-updating
+1
Level 67
Mar 20, 2022
Phew! Got Taiwan to finish with 5 seconds left
+3
Level 65
May 19, 2022
A 0.4457 just prevented itself from being fully conquered by a 0.0681. I guess its not all about numbers...
+2
Level 82
May 19, 2022
One of the biggest upsets in military history. A lot of contributing factors, including many things that don't factor in to the Global Firepower algorithm.
+1
Level 72
Aug 10, 2022
This rather backs up what you previously said about nukes being little more than expensive paperweights, since Russia could obviously ‘win’ by firing them at major cities and forcing submission, but even Tsar Vladimir knows that he just can’t do that.

I suspect that this measure is rated as a better one than most because of the of the sheer number of variables it accounts for, from an impressive set of data. It’s clearly one of the best as a quantitative analysis, but therein lies its inherent and unavoidable flaw: in the real world, there are far too many variables which can’t be quantified and fed into algorithms. For example, how could they quantify the UK’s relative advantage over France as an island; or, how much advantage does Switzerland gain by being surrounded by Alps? What role does morale play in conflict, or home advantage? Relative competence/experience amongst the general staff? Some things, you just can’t assign a number to.

+1
Level 68
Jun 15, 2022
You probably should update this to the 2022 version. Pakistan is now a lot stronger.
+1
Level 35
Sep 5, 2022
switzerland?
+1
Level 37
Oct 2, 2022
When you realize the most neutral country in the world has a stronger army then Argentina or mexico
+2
Level 54
Oct 2, 2022
Learned something. Never knew that Switzerland was even close enough to the top to have ever been considered in this list, regardless of their current status. Dang! Don't mess with those mountaineering financiers!
+2
Level 82
Oct 3, 2022
They get an unrealistic boost for being landlocked due to the algorithm. But... even if they didn't... there's a fairly steep drop off in the latter half of the list.
+4
Level 47
Nov 13, 2022
Russia gonna be out of the list very very soon
+2
Level 82
Nov 13, 2022
Doubtful. As embarrassing as their disastrous and criminal escapades in Ukraine have been for them lately, they're still ultimately stronger than the countries near the bottom of the list. But... I wouldn't be surprised at all to see their position revised down.
+1
Level 82
Dec 12, 2022
Rule them out of what? "Winning" the disastrous war that they started in Ukraine? Or being on this list?

I already said that they would not be kicked off the list. Even if their position may, and probably should, be revised downward... which... maybe wouldn't even require any special exceptions or adjustments to the algorithm that GFP uses to generate the list if you consider the staggering number of losses Russia has suffered in terms of equipment and personnel... simply adjusting the stats and reapplying the algorithm would do that.

As for their campaign of war crimes in Ukraine... I don't know what you count as a "win" for them, especially given that their starting objective was to take over Kyiv within a couple of weeks and dominate the entire country probably within a month, installing some kind of obedient Russian puppet government there that would agree to recognize Russian annexation of Crimea and "independence" of Russian puppet states in the Donbass...

+1
Level 82
Dec 12, 2022
... and that obviously is not going to happen and even Russia apparently has totally given up on those objectives. At this point... if they even manage to hold Crimea in the long run I think a lot of people would call that a "win," but they could have potentially done that even before invading and were arguably in a stronger position to do so back then. (some speculate that their hold on Crimea was slipping and untenable long-term and that this was the entire reason they invaded in the first place, to try and make a "land bridge" across the Donbass to better supply and fortify Crimea)

No idea where you're getting your information about stagnant territory movements (with Russians retreating all over the place lately, even from territory Moscow claims to have annexed), or the casualties being "generally even" (with Russian losses recently eclipsing 90,000, according to non-Russian media). Ukraine obviously has the momentum currently and Russia has been thoroughly humiliated.

+1
Level 82
Dec 12, 2022
As to whether or not Putin's hundred of thousands of conscripted elders with rheumatism, prisoners, and various ethnic minorities that hate him are enough to turn the tide and maybe allow Russia to hold on to *some* territory or even negotiate a peaceful settlement that allows them to gain something, save face, and call it a "win"... remains to be seen.

But there's no way anyone being serious could call this anything other than a complete and total disaster for Russia the likes of which the world has rarely even seen before. Hard to think of anything at all recent that was even comparable. Going back into history there are more examples... Agincourt... Thermopylae... The Battle of Britain... the Russo-Japanese War, or perhaps the American Revolution. But even if Russia carves out some kind of victory after everything else that has happened, this will still go down as one of biggest muck-ups in military history, with one side getting absolutely spanked by an inferior enemy.

+1
Level 82
Dec 12, 2022
Further... it's quite possible... and personally I hope that we'll come to see this happen... that Putin's totally wrong-headed attack on Ukraine and the global response to it will ultimately usher in the collapse of the Russian state. Let alone a mere loss in the "special military operation" in Ukraine. I'm not saying that this is definitely going to happen... but... with Russian men fleeing and dying in record numbers, at least 100k will die in Ukraine before the war is over, nearly a million have fled the country to avoid conscription or just to get off what they see as a sinking ship, the brain drain, the global sanctions, and the damage Putin has done to the stability of the ruling political order will all combine to, perhaps, lead to the failure of the Russian Federation. Which would be awful for Russia, obviously, but I think it would be a net positive if the country was broken up into many smaller countries and not allowed to continue threatening world peace and stability.
+1
Level 82
Dec 17, 2022
didn't realize RT subscribed to my quizzes. But, cool.
+1
Level 66
Nov 29, 2022
Done with one second left.
+1
Level 37
Dec 27, 2022
I thought of China at the very last second. Too late to put it in.
+1
Level 65
Feb 4, 2023
I somehow just noticed the name of the quiz series this quiz is in...

Amazing quiz!

+1
Level 57
Mar 24, 2023
This isn't 30 most powerful militaries. It's 30 most powerful based off a BS index. Its good the title is just very misleading.
+1
Level 28
Apr 17, 2024
exactly
+2
Level 39
Apr 3, 2023
I honestly think that this quiz should be abolished, and other military rankings based on power. Most people usually base these rankings on how strong they are, meaning equipment, aircraft, artillery, nukes, destroyers, carriers, and more. Although, what most people do not realize on that there is no proof to show that one country is stronger than another or not, because this is all just bias, for example right now russia is getting their butts kicked in ukraine even though they are like ten times stronger or whatever, anything can happen and ukraine can beat them and we’ll never know, so does that mean russias power index go up or down? If not, then prove to me these rankings are not bias, and tell me with actual evidence to change my mind. All this is just telling your country that it is better than another to help think that we are going to win many conflicts. No rankings should ever include these because these are bias and there is no evidence to confirm one country is better.
+2
Level 69
Jun 6, 2023
Germany and Pakistan behind Brazil and especially Italy must be a joke.
+1
Level 23
Jan 15, 2024
Italy has 2 (and a third incoming) aircraft carrier that alone place it higher than germany and especially pakistan, + more submarine than germny and the second largest air force of europe.
+2
Level 58
Aug 30, 2023
russia went from the second military in the world to second military in Ukraine to second military in russia
+2
Level 28
Oct 5, 2023
SWITSERLAND??!?!?
+1
Level 40
Oct 18, 2023
I know, right? Why would they waste their money on something they never use lol.
+1
Level 54
Oct 12, 2023
isn't it outdated?
+1
Level 54
Oct 12, 2023
isn't it outdated?
+1
Level 28
Apr 17, 2024
yes
+2
Level 56
Nov 23, 2023
why would it not include nukes? surely that would determine a nation's military strength.
+1
Level 28
Apr 17, 2024
that is why pakistan would be higher
+1
Level 28
Apr 17, 2024
Pakistan actually is higher than egypt from my sources and ranks 9th
+1
Level 47
Apr 17, 2024
Can you please update this quiz to 2024?
+1
Level 45
May 5, 2024
I have a huge question, Pakistan has 7th military rank. Is it because it's nukes are included, so that is why it at a lower rank?