Contributors and Acknowledgments

Contributors and Acknowledgments

The contributions of a great many people make this type of publication possible.

Jan 24, 2024 7 min read

U.S. Army paratroopers jump from an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during airborne training over Malemute drop zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, 2018. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña


Heritage Experts

Dakota L. Wood is Senior Research Fellow for Defense Programs in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for National Security 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 former Director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation. Before joining The Heritage Foundation, he served America for more than 36 years in the U.S. Army.

Wilson Beaver is a Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting in the Allison Center.

Ted R. Bromund, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.

Bryan Burack is a Senior Policy Advisor, China and the Indo-Pacific, in the Davis Institute's Asian Studies Center. Before joining Heritage, he was a member of the professional staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Maiya Clark is former Senior Research Associate in the Center for National Defense where she focused on the military industrial base.

Michael Cunningham is a Research Fellow in the Asian Studies Center where he focuses on Chinese politics.

James Di Pane is a former Policy Analyst in the Allison Center where he focuses on military cyber and the U.S. Coast Guard and each year manages production of the Index of U.S. Military Strength.

Jordan Embree is a Program Coordinator and Research Assistant in the Davis Institute.

Andrew Harding is a Research Assistant in the Asian Studies Center where he focuses on China and the Pacific Islands.

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 Research Fellow 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.

Robert Peters is Research Fellow for Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense in the Allison Center.

James Phillips is Visiting Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs in the Davis Institute's 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 where she specializes in Middle East matters.

Brent D. Sadler is Senior Research Fellow for Naval Warfare and Advanced Technology in the Allison Center. 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 Allison Center. 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

Frederico Bartels is a consultant at Pantheon Integrated Solutions.

Michaela Dodge, PhD, is a Research Scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy.

Robert Soofer, PhD, is Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

Anna Simons, PhD, is a Professor Emerita in the Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of Defense Analysis.

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.


Though it can seem a perfunctory statement, the Index of U.S. Military Strength truly is a team effort. This edition includes the work of 19 authors, an amazing research editor, two extraordinarily talented graphics specialists, designers and marketing specialists and web-design/digital content experts, and a very talented group of interns—Wyatt Eichholz, Jonathan Harman, Jenna Swiney, and Isaac Tang—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 consistently go the extra mile to make the Index a very special undertaking.

With the 2024 edition, James Di Pane, Policy Analyst in the Center for National Defense, has been responsible for shepherding the production of this Index for five years, working with the great many people involved in making this publication a reality, both in print and on the web. The effort begins mid-spring each year and doesn’t end until the approved master file is sent to the printer in November. Even then there is the work involved in ensuring that the online version is ready for posting, print copies are distributed, and rollout events are coordinated and effectively executed. The production manager—in this case James Di Pane—is the go-to person charged with keeping track of all of this. It is quite a job.

Speaking of production management, the tenth edition of anything is quite a milestone, so it is very appropriate to note the substantial contributions of Brian Slattery and Rachel Zissimos who preceded James Di Pane in managing the Index. Brian perhaps had the more interesting experience as he was pivotal in figuring out the people, processes, timelines, and relationships needed to take our first edition from idea to book. Brian managed the 2015–2018 editions. Rachel picked up the final portions of the 2018 edition and continued her excellent work through the 2019 Index. James has handled the editions from 2020.

Senior Editor William T. Poole continues to turn prose into poetry, ensuring that what the authors want to say is conveyed to the reader in clear, accurate, coherent form. Each year, he ensures consistent tone, impeccable accuracy, and a fresh approach to conveying essential information throughout this multi-author document. In a similar way, Data Graphics Services Manager John Fleming, ably assisted by Data Graphics Designer Luke Karnick, continued his always-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. Senior Graphic Designer Lydia Emrich created the cover image for this year’s Index. Manager, Web Development and Print Production, 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. As with every previous edition, all of the professional editing, proofreading, and material integration into a final product occurred under the extraordinarily watchful eye of Director of Research Editors Therese Pennefather.

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. There is no other source where one can find information about the status of U.S. allies and partners, competitors and enemies, and America’s ability to defend itself and its interests compiled in one volume and in such an easily readable, concise, and fully documented format. We remain encouraged that so many Americans are concerned about the state of affairs in and the multitude of factors affecting our country and that they turn to Heritage’s Index of U.S. Military Strength to know more about these things.

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 tenth 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 support continues to make the 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.