×

Country vs country: United Kingdom and United States compared: Military

Definitions

  • Armed forces personnel: Total armed forces (2000)
  • Conscription: A description of the status of conscription in the nation in 1997.
  • Expenditures > Percent of GDP: Current military expenditures as an estimated percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually > Males: This entry is derived from Military > Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually, which gives the number of males and females entering the military manpower pool (i.e., reaching age 16) in any given year and is a measure of the availability of military-age young adults.
  • Manpower reaching military age annually > Males: This entry is derived from Military > Manpower reaching military age annually, which gives the number of males and females entering the military manpower pool (i.e., reaching age 16) in any given year and is a measure of the availability of military-age young adults.
  • Military branches: This entry lists the service branches subordinate to defense ministries or the equivalent (typically ground, naval, air, and marine forces).
  • Military expenditures: This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police.
  • Military expenditures > Percent of GDP: This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police.
  • Military service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation.
  • Personnel > Per capita: Armed forces personnel are active duty military personnel, including paramilitary forces if the training, organization, equipment, and control suggest they may be used to support or replace regular military forces. Per capita figures expressed per 1,000 population.
  • Service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of sevice obligation.
  • WMD > Missile: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of missile weapons of mass destruction
  • WMD > Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
STAT United Kingdom United States HISTORY
Armed forces personnel 212,000
Ranked 23th.
1.37 million
Ranked 3rd. 6 times more than United Kingdom

Conscription No <a href=/graph-T/mil_con>conscription</a> (WRI). No <a href=/graph-T/mil_con>conscription</a>.

Expenditures > Percent of GDP 2.4%
Ranked 57th.
4.06%
Ranked 22nd. 69% more than United Kingdom

Manpower available for military service > Males age 16-49 None None

Manpower fit for military service > Males age 16-49 None None

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually > Males 383,989
Ranked 30th.
2.16 million
Ranked 5th. 6 times more than United Kingdom

Manpower reaching military age annually > Males 383,989
Ranked 30th.
2.16 million
Ranked 5th. 6 times more than United Kingdom

Military branches Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force United States Armed Forces: US Army, US Navy (includes Marine Corps), US Air Force, US Coast Guard

Military expenditures 2.5% of GDP
Ranked 20th.
4.6% of GDP
Ranked 1st. 84% more than United Kingdom

Military expenditures > Percent of GDP 2.7% of GDP
Ranked 23th.
4.06% of GDP
Ranked 10th. 50% more than United Kingdom

Military service age and obligation 16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); no conscription; women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; as of October 2009, women comprised 12.1% of officers and 9% of enlisted personnel in the regular forces; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens 18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; no conscription; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); service obligation 8 years, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines); DoD is eliminating prohibitions restricting women from assignments in units smaller than brigades or near combat units

Personnel > Per capita 3.6 per 1,000 people
Ranked 93th.
5.22 per 1,000 people
Ranked 70th. 45% more than United Kingdom

Service age and obligation 16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of the Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens 18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); service obligation 8 years, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines)

WMD > Missile The United Kingdom's sole nuclear deterrent is based on four new Vanguard-class submarines, each outfitted to carry 16 U.S.-supplied Trident II sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and 48 warheads. Britain shares a pool of missiles with the United States at the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Kings Bay Submarine Base, Georgia. The Royal Navy retrieves missiles from the U.S. storage area and places warheads on the missiles onboard. Missiles are serviced by the United States. Although Britain has title to 58 SLBMs, it technically does not own them. The nuclear role of Britain's Tornado aircraft was terminated in 1998, bringing to an end a four-decade history of Royal Air Force aircraft carrying nuclear weapons. In 2004, British and U.S. officials conducted negotiations concerning the development of new "mini-nukes" to replace Britain's aging Trident system, a politically sensitive subject in the country. The United States has the capability to produce highly sophisticated liquid- and solid-fueled missiles of all ranges. It currently deploys 500 Minuteman and 10 MX/Peacekeeper nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at three bases in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. The number of warheads on Minuteman missiles was scheduled to be reduced from three to one by 2007 under the defunct START II agreement, but this plan may be revised to assign between 700 to 800 warheads to the 500 Minutemen missiles. Deactivation of the MX/Peacekeeper force began in October 2002 and will conclude in 2005, at the cost of $600 million. In 2004, the Defense Department retired 17 additional MX/Peacekeeper missiles as part of this plan, and the final 10 MX missiles will be withdrawn from alert status by October 1, 2005. These remaining missiles will not be destroyed as prescribed under START II, but will be retained as stipulated in the 2001 NPR for potential use as space launch vehicles, target vehicles, or for redeployment. The Minuteman missile force is also undergoing a $6.0 billion modernization program to improve the weapon's accuracy, reliability, and to extend its service life beyond 2020. A new, longer-range ICBM, to be ready in 2018, is being considered by the Pentagon. As of early 2005, the U.S. Navy had 14 operational Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), having reduced its level by one in 2004 to meet NPR specifications. The four oldest subs in the original class of 18 have been converted to carry non-nuclear cruise missiles. The 14 operational SSBNs carry a total of 336 Trident-1 and Trident-II submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), each carrying between six and eight warheads, for an estimated total of 2,016. All SSBNs will be modified to carry the Trident II missiles, and the navy has extended the service life of the Trident-II from 30 to 49 years. The Pentagon is planning to introduce a new SSBN in 2029 when the oldest of the current subs will be retired. Previous predictions indicated that the U.S. Navy would station the 14 SSBNs evenly among the Atlantic and Pacific fleets; however, recent planning shifts have called for an SSBN fleet of 9 to be stationed in the Pacific with only 5 submarines in the Atlantic. Also, in 2004, the Navy initiated the Enhanced Effectiveness (E2) Reentry Body Program that would allow missiles to be targeted within 10-meter accuracy, expanding the list of potential targets to be attacked by W76 warheads. Finally, the Navy plans to resume SLBM flight tests in 2005 and plans to develop a submarine-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile (SLIRBM) that would carry nuclear and conventional payloads. The U.S. bomber force consists of 94 B-52 bombers stationed at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and Minot AFB in North Dakota, and 21 B-2 bombers stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The B-52 can deliver air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM), advanced cruise missiles (ACM), or gravity bombs. The B-2 carries only gravity bombs. It is estimated that 450 ALCMs are deployed as well as around 400 operational ACMs, which have a longer range, greater accuracy, and more difficult to intercept than an ALCM. The B-2s are scheduled to undergo upgrades allowing them to make mission and target changes in route. The U.S. Air Force intends to expedite the process of finding a replacement for its current bomber force, considering long- and mid-range options, unmanned aircraft, and new bombers. The United States is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), whose goal is to control the transfer of nuclear-capable missiles and unmanned delivery systems capable of carrying all types of WMD.

WMD > Nuclear The United Kingdom is a nuclear weapon state party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The UK's current stockpile is thought to consist of less than 200 strategic and "sub-strategic" warheads on Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). The Strategic Defense Review of July 1998 called for major changes in the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons program. Air-delivered weapons were removed from service, leaving the SSBNs as the United Kingdom's only nuclear deterrent. The Review mandated that only one submarine be on patrol at a time, with its missiles detargeted and with a reduced number of warheads (maximum of 48). On May 1, 2004, the Nuclear Safeguards Act went into effect in the United Kingdom, providing necessary legislation for the enforcement of the "additional protocol" designed to provide greater protection against nuclear non-proliferation. This protocol built on existing nuclear safeguards agreements with the IAEA. The United Kingdom ratified the NPT in November 1968 and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in June 1998. As one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States maintains a sizeable arsenal of nuclear weapons, including approximately 10,350 intact warheads, 5300 of which are considered active or operational. Approximately 4,530 strategic warheads are operational, 1,150 of which are deployed on land-based missile systems (Minuteman and Peacekeeper ICBMs), 1,050 on bombers (B-52 and B-2), and 2,016 on submarines (Ohio-class subs). 780 are tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs), and consist of an estimated 200 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles (TLAM/N), and 580 B61 bombs. The remaining warheads are stockpiled. The only remaining U.S. weapons in forward deployment, aside from those on SSBNs, are approximately 480 of the 580 operational B61 bombs, located at eight bases in six European NATO countries. According to the May 2002 Treaty of Moscow (the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT) between the United States and the Russian Federation, both countries are required to reduce their strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed warheads by 2012. In June 2004, the US Department of Energy announced that "almost half" of these warheads would be retired for dismantlement by 2012. This statement suggests that the total stockpile of 10,350 warheards would be reduced to about 6,000 by this date. Over 5,000 warheads have been removed from deployment by the United States and placed in a "responsive reserve force" (active but not deployed or in overhaul). These "spares," or warheads on inactive status, have not been dismantled, in keeping with past practice under previous U.S. arms control agreements. The Bush administration has rejected U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but calls for a continued moratorium on nuclear testing. The NPR calls for a reduction in the amount of time needed (now 18 months as mandated by Congress, but this could be reduced to as little as 12 months) to test a nuclear weapon, suggesting that the United States might decide to resume nuclear testing, although Bush administration officials deny that this is currently planned and explain the shortening of test-site readiness time as a logical extension of the U.S. decision to maintain a testing option. The NPR also calls for discussion on possible development of new, low-yield, bunker-busting TNW. A law barring research and development that could lead to the production by the United States of a new low-yield "bunker buster" nuclear weapon (warheads with a yield of 5 kilotons or less) was passed by Congress in 1994. In its FY2004 budget request, however, the Department of Defense requested a repeal of the 1994 law, suggesting that the U.S. government intends to proceed with development of new nuclear weapons. The repeal was approved by the Senate on 20 May 2003. The Bush administration has requested an additional $8.5 million in its 2006 budget in order to continue research of nuclear "bunker busters" under the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) Project. Congress rejected RNEP funding and resources for the Advanced Concepts Initiative, one that would develop mini-nukes or exotic designs, completely for FY2005. Weapons laboratories under the Department of Energy began research on the RNEP Project in 2003, and the study is expected to be complete in 2006. The United States used nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, making it the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons during a conflict. It ratified the NPT in March 1970.

SOURCES: IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies). 2001. The Military Balance 2001-2002. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997. Data collected from the nations concerned, unless otherwise indicated. Acronyms: Amnesty International (AI); European Council of Conscripts Organizations (ECCO); Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC); International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHFHR); National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO); Service, Peace and Justice in Latin America (SERPAJ); War Resisters International (WRI); World Council of Churches (WCC); All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008; CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 28 March 2011; CIA World Factbooks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; World Development Indicators database; The Nuclear Threat Initiative

Citation

"Military: United Kingdom and United States compared", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/United-Kingdom/United-States/Military

Contribute an insight

captcha

Was this page useful for you?