Since 1949, NATO has increased its collective military power. Today it has the capability to count on nearly 3.5-million personnel, troops and civilian combined. Each member state agrees to contribute with different strategic weight and influence.
The combined total of Nato military personnel currently exceeds 5.4m – around four times as many as Russia, according to Statista.
NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world.
The force has grown from 13,000 troops to 40,000 since 2014, with many of those based along the alliance's eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south.
In 2022, China had the largest armed forces in the world by active duty military personnel, with about 2 million active soldiers. India, the United States, North Korea, and Russia rounded out the top five largest armies respectively, each with over one million active military personnel.
1. Russia (Overall ranking: 2)
The NATO Alliance consists of 30 member states from North America and Europe. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.
The United States
With a budget of $738 billion and 1,388,000 men and women in the armed forces, it boasts an awe-inspiring 6,125 nuclear weapons, 11 aircraft carriers, 68 nuclear submarines, 3,761 military aircraft, 867 attack helicopters, 6,209 tanks and 113 warships.
The UN likely commands more global influence, but NATO, for example, is more powerful militarily. Inter-governmental organisations, such as the European Union, are hugely powerful globally.
The US dominates the air with far more bases, fighter jets and bombers than Russia but Russia is superior on the ground with more tanks, artillery and land vehicles. At sea, the countries are more evenly matched, but here the US has the edge with more destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers.
In April this year, the four countries participated in NATO's foreign ministerial meeting and they agreed to continue supporting Ukraine and to step up cooperation given the "global implications" of Russia's war on Ukraine. Australia, Japan and South Korea are all U.S. security allies.
The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, and the thirteenth in the world, with an estimated strength of 775,000 military and paramilitary personnel in 2022.
In terms of submarines, China just edges out Russia by 79 to 70. Russia maintains the upper hand in the air, boasting just over 4,000 aircraft to China's 3,200, according to Global Firepower, of which Russia had 739 dedicated attack aircraft to China's 371.
NATO has 5,040, 5,495 and 2,803 in comparison, but leads in battle tanks and armoured vehicles, with 14,682 and 115,855 respectively, to Russia's 12,420 and 30,122.
China wields by far the world's largest military, with 2.8 million soldiers, sailors and airmen—twice the American number. (The United States is number two; the only other countries with more than a million active duty troops are China's neighbors—Russia, India and North Korea.)
And a significant level of their spending does not appear "on the public books." Overall, in terms of resources, the U.S. has an advantage, but it is not as overwhelming as it appears. In terms of simple numbers of warships, China is already leading the U.S., roughly 350 to 300, in combat vessels.
China has the strongest military in the world, scoring 82 out of 100 points in the index, it noted.
Relations between Russia and NATO soured in summer 2008 due to Russia's war with Georgia. Later the North Atlantic Council condemned Russia for recognizing the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states.
France had the option of withdrawing from NATO if the other two countries reject the idea of an equal share of leadership. De Gaulle wished to keep absolute control over his military.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a coalition of countries – including many NATO Allies – militarily intervened in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.
German power rests primarily on the economy, healthcare, natural resources, education, and EU-NATO membership. However, it did not have a large military or land area that limited German power; these factors helped Germany become an important country today and a leader in most European countries.
French Army (Armée de terre)
:: Combat tanks – Britain can call upon 249 combat tanks whereas France has 406.