Dakota L. Wood is Senior Research Fellow for Defense Programs in the Center for National Defense, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. He served for two decades as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including service as a strategic analyst for the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Secretary of Defense’s Director of Net Assessment.
Thomas W. Spoehr, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret.), is Director of the Center for National Defense. Before joining The Heritage Foundation, he served America for more than 36 years in the U.S. Army.
Frederico Bartels is a former Senior Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting in the Center for National Defense. Before joining The Heritage Foundation, he served for three years as a Policy Analyst with Concerned Veterans for America.
Dean Cheng is a former a Senior Research Fellow in the Asian Studies Center of the Davis Institute. He specializes in China’s military and foreign policy.
Maiya Clark is a Senior Research Associate in the Center for National Defense. She focuses on the military industrial base.
Luke Coffey is a former Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy of the Davis Institute at the time he contributed to this edition of the Index. He joined Heritage after service as Senior Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom.
James Di Pane is a Policy Analyst in the Center for National Defense. He focuses on military cyber and the U.S. Coast Guard and manages production of the Index of U.S. Military Strength.
Patty-Jane Geller is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for National Defense. Her work addresses nuclear deterrence and missile defense.
Bruce Klingner is Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia in the Asian Studies Center. He served for two decades at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Daniel Kochis is Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs in the Davis Institute’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, where he specializes in trans-Atlantic security issues including NATO, U.S.–Russia relations, and the Arctic.
Walter Lohman is a former Director of the Asian Studies Center. He has served on the staff of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, in the office of Senator John McCain, and as Executive Director of the U.S.–ASEAN Business Council.
Alexis Mrachek was a Policy Analyst for Russia and Eurasia in the Allison Center at the time she contributed to this edition of the Index.
James Phillips is Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs in the Allison Center. He has also served at the Congressional Research Service and at the East–West Center.
Nicole Robinson is a Senior Research Associate in the Allison Center. She specializes in Middle East matters.
Brent D. Sadler is Senior Research Fellow for Naval Warfare and Advanced Technology in the Center for National Defense. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a captain and served for 26 years as a submarine officer aboard multiple nuclear submarines and in various senior posts including Naval Attaché, Malaysia, and Senior Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations.
Jeff Smith is Director of the Asian Studies Center. He specializes in South Asia, has authored and contributed to several books on Asian security matters, and formerly served as Director of Asian Security Programs at the American Foreign Policy Council.
John Venable is Senior Research Fellow for Defense Policy in the Center for National Defense. A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and F-16 pilot, he served in three combat operations, was commander of the Thunderbirds, and earned the rank of colonel before retiring.
External Reviewers and Expert Contributors
Richard Brady, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), is CEO of the American Society of Military Comptrollers.
John G. Ferrari, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a Nonresident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Peter Jennings is a Senior Fellow at and former Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Robert Soofer, PhD, is Senior Associate (Non-resident), Missile Defense Project, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Any views presented in or reflecting the results of any prepublication review of this document by an officer or employee of the United States government are rendered in his or her individual capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the United States government or any agency thereof.
The Index of U.S. Military Strength is truly a team effort. This edition includes the work of 20 authors, an amazing research editor, two extraordinarily talented graphics specialists, designers and marketing specialists and web-design/digital content experts, and a handful of very bright interns—Conner Bolanos, Jackson Clark, Aaron Eudaimon, and Grace Hermanson—who assisted with the research and tabulation of budget and acquisition data that make the service capability tables possible. But among the members of this team, there are a few special contributors who go the extra mile and make the Index a remarkable and uniquely special undertaking.
James Di Pane, Policy Analyst in the Center for National Defense, extended his winning streak in shepherding production of the 2023 Index of U.S. Military Strength. He worked with everyone involved to make this Index a reality, both in print and on the web.
Senior Editor William T. Poole is a force of nature in the world of editing, each year using his ability to maintain a consistent tone, impeccable accuracy, and a fresh approach to conveying essential information throughout this multi-author document to enhance the excellent work produced by our authors. Data Graphics Services Manager John Fleming continued his impressive work in giving visual life to text and statistics to convey a message with maximum impact, working with the authors to explore more creative ways to convey important information. Research Editor and Paper Production Specialist Kathleen Scaturro again used her proofreading skills to ensure a high-quality final product. Graphic Designer Grace DeSandro created the cover image for this year’s Index. Senior Designer and Web Developer, Research Projects, Jay Simon and Senior Digital Strategist Augusta Cassada Irvine 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, and the guidance and coordination provided by Director of Research Editors Therese Pennefather ensured the creation of a cohesive finished product.
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”—an ability that undergirds The Heritage Foundation’s vision of “an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.” The Index continues to be cited and referenced across government—by Congress, the executive branch, and officials within the Department of Defense and supporting government agencies—as well as the media, academia, and policy institutes and among the public. We remain 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, and this requires a strong economy, a strong society, and a strong defense. To help measure the state of the economy, Heritage publishes the annual Index of Economic Freedom; to help guide Congress in its constitutional exercise of the power of the purse, Heritage scholars analyze federal spending across all sectors of the economy and put forward recommendations throughout the year that, if implemented, would make Members of Congress better stewards of the taxes paid by all Americans; 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 ninth 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 the Heritage members and donors whose continued support has made this 2023 Index of U.S. Military Strength possible.
Finally, as we do each year, The Heritage Foundation expresses its enduring appreciation to the members of the U.S. armed forces who continue to protect the liberty of the American people in an ever more challenging world.