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A Comparison of USA and Russia Military Power in 2024

The second invasion of Ukraine on Russia on February 24, 2022, has posed a great threat to the interests of the United States and its alliances. President Putin declared a Special Military Operation to destabilize the Ukrainian government and seize Ukraine. However, Russia did not win the quick victory but it is still present in the war grounds and leading the on-going war. Russia became the Russian Federation after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, Russia has been developing its economic and military capability to curb US imperialism.

On the other hand, after the end of the Cold War, the world became unilateral and the US became the sole hegemonic power. In all the elements of power, the US is leading the world including ideology,  military, economy, diplomacy, national morale, leadership, and efficiency. Therefore, over time, Russia has developed its military power and become the second largest power following the United States. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has showcased both the military strength and the limitations of Russian military capability. Here, we will compare the USA and Russia’s military capabilities. 

A Comparison of USA and Russia Military Power

Here is the comparison of military power of the USA and Russia based on the following elements of military power; 

1) Military Expenditure

The value and importance of military spending have increased globally.  The US remains at the top of the list of highest military spending countries in 2024. The US defense budget in the fiscal year 2024 is $883.7 billion. While the Russian military spending in the fiscal year 2024 is $ 140 billion. The US has increased its military budget due to the escalating tensions in the South China Sea and the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia’s military spending has also increased to 7.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite a huge difference between the US and Russia’s military budget, Russia has maintained its military might by containing a capable and modern military and focusing on specific sectors, such as missile technology and cyber warfare strategies and techniques. 

2) Manpower

Regarding manpower, the US is the third-largest army in the world with about 1.4 million active military personnel and 817,450 reserve personnel. On the other hand, Russia is the fifth-largest military manpower force with about 1.15 million active-duty personnel and 2 million reserve personnel. 

3) Land Power

In terms of land power, Russia possesses 4,150 infantry fighting vehicles, 1,800 main battle tanks, and 4,458 artillery. The United States possesses 2,959 infantry fighting vehicles, 2,645 military ranks, and 5,096 artillery. 

4) Air Power

Regarding air power, Russia possesses 1,153 combat-capable aircraft, 76 bomber aircraft, and under 50 uninhabited aerial vehicles. While the United States has 1,574 combat-capable aircraft, 66 bomber aircraft, and 261 uninhabited aerial vehicles. 

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5) Sea Power

In sea power, the US is dominating the Russian sea power. The US has 14 ballistic-missile nuclear-powered submarines, 53 guided missile submarines, 11 aircraft carriers, 111 cruisers, destroyers and frigates, and 31 amphibious ships.

On the other hand, Russia possesses 11 ballistic-missile nuclear-powered submarines, 40 guided missile submarines, 1 aircraft carrier, 30 cruisers, destroyers and frigates, and 46 amphibious ships.

6) Nuclear Power 

Nuclear weapons and power have gained the attention of the world as the USA and Russia are leading nuclear powers. The United States conducted its nuclear test in 1945 and became the nuclear superpower. After four years, the Soviet Union also conducted its first nuclear explosion in 1949 and joined the bandwagon. Russia, as a successor of the Soviet Union, is a nuclear state and the signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Collectively, both states possess 89% of the world’s total inventory of nuclear weapons and 86% of the stockpiled warheads. 

However, nuclear countries keep the exact number of nuclear arsenals as a national secret. The level of secrecy also varies from country to country. The US disclosed its stockpile size from 2010 to 2018, but it was kept secret during the Trump administration. After Biden took charge of the President’s office, he allowed the transparency of the US nuclear inventories. 

According to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) 2024 report, 

CountryReservedDeployed Strategic Deployed Non-StrategicMilitary StockpileTotal Inventory
Russia2, 6701,71004,3805,580

Currently, Russia possesses one of the biggest nuclear armies with various nuclear weapons equipped with strategic bombers, Submarine-launched ballistic missiles ( SLBM), and intercontinental ballistic Missiles (ICBM). Russia implies the idea of Escalate to De-escalate in its nuclear doctrine, in which Russia retains the right to use or deploy nuclear weapons in retaliation to a conventional attack that threatens national integrity and security. 

7) Cyber and Space Power

With the development of new technology, new warfare techniques and tools emerged. Since we are living in the digital era, cyber threats, cyber instruments, and cyber warfare have taken the attention of the international community. Here the United States and Russia are again leading states in generating and stockpiling cyber weapons. The significant cyber attacks of Russia against Estonia (2007), Georgia (2008), and continuous attacks in Ukraine have made Russia visible in the cyber warfare grounds. The United States also has been very active, the attack on the Iranian nuclear power plant in 2010 is a significant example of the US conducting cyber-attacks to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state. 

Regarding cyber power, the US National Security Agency is commanding US Cyber Command and contains 133 Cyber Commission teams. The US Space Force was also established in 2019 and consists of 8,400 personnel. For Russia, cyberspace is considered to be protected by its armed forces, but its domain is blurred due to the involvement of civilian bodies. Furthermore, both states possess Reconnaissance, Intelligence, and Surveillance equipment. 

8) Special Operations 

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) commands global special activities and operations consisting of the network of elite commands from the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. USSOCOM mission contains 65,800 personnel, counter-terrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction, reconnaissance, and hostage rescue and recovery. 

Russia’s Special Operations Forces was established in 2009 as an independent and structural unit of armed forces. They are highly mobile, well-equipped, and trained and are primarily involved in Syria. The size of the force is 2,000 to 2,500 and the mission contains reconnaissance and sabotage, counter-terrorism, subversion and sedition, counter-sabotage, guerrilla, counterintelligence, counter-guerrilla, and other activities. The major engagements are seen in Insurgency in the North Caucasus, the Seizure of the Crimean Parliament, the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Counter-piracy operations, Annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, and Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War. 

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In conclusion, both the United States and Russia are the leading superpowers in the world. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has emerged as a significant power in the world in all sectors including economy, internal stability, and military and defense. Hence, in military comparison, both states are at the forefront of new inventories and stockpiling of military weapons, whether land forces, air power, sea forces, nuclear arsenals, special operations, or cyber weapons. Therefore, the world is moving from unipolarity to multipolarity due to the emergence of Russia and China as the major powers. Both these states are posing serious threats to the hegemony of the United States in terms of their military power. 


How Much Better Is the US Military?

The US military is better in all aspects, with very few weaknesses. The US is better in every aspect, from naval warfare to air power, precision-strike capability, reconnaissance and intelligence, and special operations. 

Who Is Much Stronger, the US or Russia?

The US and Russia both are strong military powers. In comparison, the US has more fighter jets, military bases, and bombers, on the other hand, Russia is strong in ground forces, artillery, tanks, and land vehicles. 

Which Country Has First Acquired Nuclear Weapons?

The United States was the first country to conduct nuclear operations against Japan in 1945 and declared itself a nuclear state. 

What is America’s strongest weapon? 

In the US nuclear arsenals, the strongest bomb is B83 with an explosive yield of 1.2 megatons. 

Who Is Stronger Pakistan or Iran? 

Pakistan has been ranked as the ninth strongest military in the world, meanwhile, Iran is ranked as the 14th largest military in the world. Pakistan is also the only Muslim country containing nuclear weapons while Iran is still in the process of becoming a nuclear state. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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