The most powerful military nations in the world in 2017 are determined by a number of factors, with the two most relevant being budget and active personnel. Who spends the most is a good rule of thumb, and being that the United States spends more money on its military than the next eight strongest countries combined, you can safely assume they're high on the list.
However, some of these other potent military nations may surprise you. So without further delay, check out some of the best equipped and most well-trained fighting forces in the modern world.
The Pakistani military boasts one of the largest active forces in the world, with well over 600,000 ready to go. In addition, they also have a large tank, aircraft, and attack helicopter fleets. While they are often overlooked, Pakistan is one of the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017.
Adding to their power, Pakistan is one of only nine nations to have nuclear weapons, and they are the only Muslim majority country with the capability. Also, they are said to be developing them at such a high rate that they could have the third largest stockpile by the end of the decade.
While the United Kingdom doesn't have one of the larger active militaries, it does benefit from great funding and modern fighting equipment. The projection of power this allows them places them safely among the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017.
The Royal Navy is planning on creating a massive aircraft carrier that will measure 4.5 acres by 2020, which would make it one of the largest in the world. While they may not be what they once were during the British Empire, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Due to the hostility on their northern border, South Korea has little choice but to be one of the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017. With over 620,000 active personnel, South Korea has a large and capable military, complete with enough tanks to fend off a potential North Korean invasion.
North Korea has one of the largest fighting forces in the world as well, and the only thing keeping them from this list is outdated equipment and lack of funding.
While the butt of many jokes over the years for their many blunders, defeats, and surrenders, France is easily one of the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017. While they're relatively small, their forces are all highly trained, capable of force projection.
Their homegrown defense industry produces some of the best equipment in the world, ensuring that they're always incredibly well stocked with top notch weapons.
India is one of the largest military powers in the world, and they have a fighting force 1,325,000 strong. Only China and the United States have more man power at their disposal, securing India as one fo the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017.
On top of their sheer numbers, India has an impressive amount tanks and aircraft. India also has nuclear weapons and spends right up there with the big boys as far as defense spending is concerned.
Japan can't compete with India in terms of bodies, but they are one of the most well-equipped militaries on the planet. In fact, the Japanese military have been behind some of the worst defeats in US military history.
They have a well stocked submarine fleet that only a few in the world can compete with. Additionally, they have the fourth largest attack helicopter fleet behind only China, Russia, and the US.
You can't talk about China without mentioning the sheer number of people they have at their disposal, and this alone would place them among the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017. With a force of well over two billion strong, China is a lot to deal with in terms of raw manpower.
China also has a large tank and submarine fleet, only ranking behind the US. Over the last few years China's military has been modernizing, and they now spend more than anyone other than, of course, the US.
Germany has long been known for a strong military, even being on the other side of many of the bloodiest battles fought in American history. After a century of attacking, the German army is now best supplied for a strong defensive war due to their smallish size and effective aircraft and armored vehicles.
However, Germany does lack the power projection platforms that many of the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017 have. Germany doesn't have a single aircraft carrier, which could be a huge problem during an offensive campaign.
Russia's military power is no joke, and despite their flailing economy they still make some of the most sought after military hardware anywhere in the world. Russia has the world's largest tank fleet, the second largest aircraft fleet behind the US, and only China has more submarines.
Russia's military spending has been skyrocketing over the past decade, having increased by nearly a third since 2008. The Kremlin is able to project force around the globe as good as any of the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017, including helping defeat ISIS in Syria.
The United States is still the undisputed king of military spending and strength, so they are without question among the most powerful military nations in the world in 2017. The US military is among the best trained and well-equipped, and their $600 billion dollar defense spending dwarfs the rest of the civilized world.
A major strategical advantage is the ten aircraft carriers, and the next closest is India who is currently constructing their third. Throw in the best technology and the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and you've got a fighting force unlike anything on the planet.