The United States 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 must account for the range of conditions that 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); the location or locations from which it might operate; 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 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength, although scores increased for Asia and the Middle East in the political stability subcategory.
The Middle East Operating Environment remained “moderate” in the 2019 Index. However, the score for regional political stability rose to “unfavorable” from “poor.” This shift reflects the continued decline of ISIS, the Assad regime’s consolidation of control over much of Syria, the ebbing flow of refugees out of Syria, and a common regional commitment to counter the destabilizing influence of Iran and its proxies.
The Europe Operating Environment did not see categorical changes in any of its scores and remains “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.
Overall scoring for the Asia Operating Environment remained at “favorable” from the 2018 Index to the 2019 Index. The political stability score returned to “favorable” following the conclusion of South Korea’s presidential election.