U.S. vs. China: Measuring the Military

There are many ways to weigh the size of a nation’s armed forces.

April 27, 2014

Kandahar, March 2013. Credit: PJF - Shutterstock.com

1. With 2.285 million troops, China has the world’s largest military.

2. It is 50% larger than that of the United States, which ranks as the world’s second-largest.

3. Russia, despite recent headlines, has a troop strength of just 845,000 troops. That is 56% of the U.S. level — and about 37% of neighboring China’s.

4. The number of troops is not the only determinant of the size or strength of a nation’s military.

5. Ships, planes, equipment and weaponry also count — and are an expensive component of the military.

6. Based on 2012 expenditures, the United States is second to none — spending $682 billion on defense.

7. By comparison, China’s 2012 defense outlays — estimated at $166 billion — were only about a quarter of U.S. defense spending.

Analysis by The Globalist Research Center, with data sources from International Institute for Strategic Studies’ “Military Balance 2013 ” and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s “Military Expenditure Database.”

 

 

Takeaways

With 2.285 million troops, China has the world’s largest military.

The US was second to none on defense spending in 2012 at $682 billion.

China’s 2012 defense outlays (~ $166B) were only about a quarter of US defense spending.

Russia has a troop strength of 845,000 troops. That is about 37% of neighboring China's.