Military Capabilities

Phil Arena has a very cool post up wherein he explores a potential alternative to the ubiquitous CINC score for measuring military capabilities. This strikes me as something that is long overdue.  And there are a couple of things that I like about the measure just from taking a quick glance at it. First, given that China just launched its first aircraft carrier, which is actually a refurbished Soviet carrier if I recall correctly, I think the notion that China has already surpassed the US in terms of military capabilities is a big pill to swallow. Second, just glancing at his figures for European powers during the late 19th century, Phil's measure looks more noisy, which in truth is kind of what I'd actually expect to see. The CINC measure makes there appear to be a lot more stability than I would expect to come along with a period where many of these European powers are vying for access to colonial possessions, foreign markets, etc. Furthermore, there were definite differences in terms of how each of these countries allocated their military resources. England certainly had the dominant navy during the late 1800s, but countries like France, Germany, and Russia had advantages in terms of their ability to field ground forces that the British just didn't possess.  

As Phil mentions, the measure may need some further development, but I still think this is really neat. 

About Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Binghamton University in 2013. His research focuses on the political and economic determinants of foreign economic and security policy, security issues, and state repression.

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