This Is How Powerful Russia’s Military Is Compared to the United States’

The U.S. military is a source of pride for its people — and so are many other countries’ militaries. Knowing that kind of protection power exists generally makes people feel safe. But what about other countries, such as Russia, that have the same amount — or more — of power? That’s the stuff that keeps some people awake at night.

Keep reading to find out how the U.S. military stacks up against Russia’s military. (Pages 6 and 7 reveal actual statistics on manpower.) You might not be surprised, but you’ll definitely be scared when you read page 8.

1. Russia got mad at the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Putin is not happy with how Trump handled Syria. | Adam Berry/Getty Images

According to Newsweek, Russia sided with Syria and Iran regarding President Donald Trump’s decision to launch missiles on a Syrian air force base. The strike came after Western nations alleged that Syrian President Bashar Assad conducted a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. attack constituted “a significant blow to Russian-American relations,” but Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis contended that Russia was warned in advance and that the U.S. minimized risks to troops. That said, Moscow has already said no to an air defense deal with the U.S., which could significantly increase the likelihood of an incident happening in Syria between the U.S. and Russian militaries.

Next: How strong is the U.S. military?

2. U.S. is No. 1

US soldiers stand at attention during the official closing ceremony of the multinational military exercise

The U.S. has some strong allies. | Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. military is generally thought of as the most powerful in the world, according to Newsweek. Its arsenal includes advanced weapons systems, approximately 20 aircraft carriers, and 200 military bases in 70 nations around the world.

Because the U.S. is a NATO member, if any nation attacks it, at least 27 nations would intervene. But is the U.S. military invulnerable? Not by a long shot. Any war between Russia and the U.S. would be devastating, even if the U.S. were the victor.

Next: How strong is the Russian military?

3. Russia is No. 2

Russian Tank in Red square

It’s expanding quickly. | Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

Russia is generally thought of as having the second most powerful military in the world, according to Newsweek. In recent years it has expanded its might and built forces near strategic European regions.

Next: Is a showdown imminent?

4. Russia warns it will take a ‘complex of measures’

A US flag is pictured on a soldier's uniform

Russia is holding strong to their position. | Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Trump criticized former President Barack Obama for wanting to target Assad, saying he was a better choice for leadership than the jihadist factions vying for control of the country. But Trump’s opinion changed about Assad after the alleged chemical attack on civilians.

According to Newsweek, Russia has said it doesn’t plan to withdraw its support for the Syrian government, regardless of whether the U.S. takes military action. In a formal statement, Russia’s defense ministry pledged to implement “a complex of measures” to protect the Syrian military and build up its defenses.

Next: Money matters

5. Military spending

The U.S. has the cash | FlySnow/Getty Images

  • U.S. 2018 defense budget: Just under $700 billion
  • Russian 2017 defense budget: $61 billion, expected to decrease

The U.S. is pretty well known for its massive military budget. When compared to Russia, the U.S. is pouring much larger amounts of funding into its military projects. The U.S. defense budget for 2018 is just under $700 billion. Meanwhile, in 2017, the Russian defense budget was only $61 billion, and it’s expected to decrease due to economic trouble.

Next: Strength in numbers

6. Russia’s manpower figures

Russian military cadets march on Dvortsovaya Square

Manpower is hugely important. | Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Weapons are a huge part of military force, yes, but so is manpower. According to, in wars with high attrition, the winners are generally those with the most manpower. Here’s Russia’s numbers:

  • Total population: 142,257,519
  • Manpower available: 70 million
  • Fit-for-service: 47 million
  • Reaching military age: 1,355,000
    Total military personnel: 3,586,128
  • Active personnel: 1,013,628
  • Reserve personnel: 2,572,500

Next: Who wins the manpower category?

7. U.S. manpower figures

The U.S. military is still slightly bigger. | Suman Bhaumik/Getty Images

Take a look at the U.S. manpower numbers below, according to If Russia went to war with the U.S. on the ground, which side would you feel safer being on?

  • Total population: 326,625,791
  • Manpower available: 145,215,000
  • Fit-for-service: 120,025,000
  • Reaching military age: 4,220,000
    Total military personnel: 2,083,100
  • Active personnel: 1,281,900
  • Reserve personnel: 801,200

Next: Russia wins this category.

8. Russia surpasses the U.S. in this way

Satan missile russia

The country possesses more nuclear warheads. | ISC Kosmotras/Wikimedia Commons

Russia has surpassed the U.S. in a particularly dangerous category: nuclear weapons. According to Newsweek, experts believe that Russia has approximately 7,300 nuclear warheads, compared with the U.S.’s estimated 6,970.

A nuclear conflict is not a strategic option for either country; if one were to happen, it would be catastrophic for both. Despite this, Trump and Putin have announced that they plan to expand their nuclear forces.

Read more: The Possible Outcomes of a Russian Retaliation in Syria

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

Additional reporting by John Wolfe