The U.S. is a global power with global security interests, and threats to those interests can emerge from any region. Consequently, the U.S. military must be ready to operate in any region when called upon to do so, and it must account for the range of conditions it might encounter when planning for potential military operations. This informs its decisions about the type and amount of equipment it purchases (especially to transport and sustain the force); where it might operate from; and how easy (or not) it will be to project and sustain combat power when engaged with the enemy.
Aggregating the three regional scores provides a Global Operating Environment score.
Global Operating Environment: FAVORABLE
Scoring of the Global Security Environment remained “favorable” for the 2018 Index of U.S. Military Strength, despite significant shifts in the scoring of the Asia Operating Environment.
The Middle East Operating Environment remained “moderate” in 2018. The region remains plagued by instability, substantial internal security challenges, and spreading, extremely violent transnational threats.
The Europe Operating Environment also did not see categorical changes in any of its scores, remaining “favorable.” The migrant crisis, economic sluggishness, and political fragmentation increase the potential for instability, but the region remains generally stable and friendly to U.S. interests.
Although overall scoring for the Asia Operating Environment remained at “favorable” from the 2017 Index to the 2018 Index, political instability in Thailand and a new government in South Korea caused the political stability score to drop from “favorable” to “moderate.” Uncertainty regarding the future of U.S. alliances in the region also prompted a decrease from “excellent” to “favorable” in that category.