While no publication of this type is possible without the contributions of a great many people, there usually are a few special contributors whose talents, work ethic, and willingness to go the extra mile make it something quite special.
Policy Analyst for National Security Brian Slattery was the linchpin of production success, working with the authors, editors, and graphics and production professionals who made this Index a reality, both in print and on the Web. Rachel Zissimos, Research Associate in the Center for National Defense, contributed with specialized research, writing, fact-checking, ably handling production management duties as needed, and overseeing additional research by interns brought on to support the project. On that note, Heritage Young Leaders Program interns Zachary Olden, Andrew Nagode, and Jordan Bernstein contributed significant research that helped to inform the findings of the 2018 Index.
As with past editions, Senior Copy Editor William T. Poole was instrumental not only in maintaining a consistent tone throughout this multi-author document—a challenging feat all its own—but also in checking every reference to ensure accuracy of reporting and coherence throughout the Index while also updating text that, though still current, can become stale when carried from one year to the next. Data Graphics Services Manager John Fleming, ably assisted by Data Graphics Specialist and Editorial Associate Luke Karnick, once again gave visual life to text and statistics to convey a message with maximum impact. Creative Director Melissa Bluey, assisted by the detailed efforts of Art Director Jay Simon and Digital Strategy Director Maria Sousa, ensured that the presentation of Index materials was tuned to account for changes in content delivery as our world becomes increasingly digital, portable, and driven by social media.
We believe that this Index helps to provide a better informed understanding and wider appreciation of America’s ability to “provide for the common defence” that undergirds The Heritage Foundation’s vision of “an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.” Judging by reception of the Index during this past year—some 480,000 unique visitors to the 2017 Index website alone, a sixfold increase over our inaugural Index released in 2015—we are encouraged that so many Americans are similarly concerned about the state of affairs in and the multitude of factors affecting our country.
The Heritage Foundation seeks a better life for Americans, which requires a stronger economy, a stronger society, and a stronger defense.
To help measure the state of the economy, our Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity publishes the annual Index of Economic Freedom.
To help measure the state of society, our Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity publishes the annual Index of Culture and Opportunity.
And to help Americans everywhere more fully understand the state of our defenses, our Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy is publishing this fourth annual edition of the Index of U.S. Military Strength.
In addition to acknowledging all of those who helped to prepare this edition, very special recognition is due to Mr. Philip and Dr. Patricia Bilden and two Heritage members who wished to remain anonymous, whose generous financial support made the 2018 Index of U.S. Military Strength possible.
Finally, as always, The Heritage Foundation also expresses its profound appreciation to the members of the U.S. armed forces who continue to protect the liberty of the American people in an increasingly dangerous world.