Germany and the U.S. recently announced plans to send much-needed tanks to Ukraine, joining the U.K., which had already committed to sending tanks of its own. The continued arms support from NATO countries has prompted Russia’s defense minister to accuse the alliance of becoming involved in the conflict, warning that NATO participation could lead to an “unpredictable level of escalation.” (These are the countries most worried about World War III.)
Despite receiving arms support from many other NATO nations, including Belgium, France, Poland, Canada, and Denmark, Ukraine’s requests for NATO membership have gone unanswered, largely due to the fear of igniting a broader war with Russia.
Sweden and Finland, however, were formally welcomed to join the alliance a few months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in 2022. With the addition of these two Scandinavian countries, NATO may reap the benefits of an additional combined force of over 47,000 active military personnel as well as Finland’s cache of one of the most powerful arsenals in Western Europe.
To determine the strongest North Atlantic Treaty Organization members by military power, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2023 data from GlobalFirepower, an annually updated defense-related statistics website with information on 145 countries. We ranked countries according to GlobalFirepower’s military strength index, the Power Index, which rates stronger countries closer to zero and weaker countries with higher index values. The index takes into account over 60 factors, including the arsenal, vehicles, aircraft, and more at each countries’ disposal.
NATO is a multinational security force of 30 countries that will come to one another’s aid in the case of attack by another nation or force. While 28 of NATO’s members are European nations, two are North American – Canada and the United States. (Here is how Russia’s and NATO’s military capabilities compare.)
The latest country to join the alliance was North Macedonia, which ranks near the bottom of the firepower index, with 9,000 active military, 20 aircraft, and no naval fleet. Other countries on the lower end of the list are Luxembourg, Montenegro, and Iceland. One of NATO’s founding members, Iceland is the only country in the bloc without a military. Its strategic position in the North Atlantic, however, makes it a valuable ally, and the island nation has provided land and facilities for the stationing of troops. (These are the nations without a military.)
Among the most powerful NATO members are Italy, France, the U.K., and the U.S. With over 1.39 million active military members and an aircraft fleet of 13,300, the U.S. military provides more personnel than the next six countries combined and more airpower than all other 29 NATO countries combined.
Click here to see all NATO members ranked by military power.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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