The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Assessment of Military Strength
Touted as the only non-governmental assessment of military strength, The Heritage Foundation think tank has released its 2019 index. Tracking a wide variety of sectors and areas ranging from assessments of the “global operating environment,” “threats to U.S. vital interests,” and “U.S. military power” with further breakdowns by categories such as “ballistic missile defense,” “nuclear weapons capability,” etc., the assessment concludes that while the U.S. is capable of fighting one major war, a second major war would strain its capacity. “High” threats to America are comprised of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and terrorism. The report notes a significant positive change in the operating environment, namely that U.S. allies have realized that the world has moved away from unipolarity and returned to big power competitions. The report’s editor stated that “If you’re a European country, you have finally gotten serious in your intellectual awareness of the challenge Russia presents. If you’re South Korea and Japan, you’ve had to get serious about what to do with China…recognizing a problem and actually doing something to deal with that problems are two different issues, but if you don’t have the recognition, your actions are never going to change.” The only threat reduction named in the report is North Korea, which was not downgraded in its capabilities, but in political tension between the countries. The threats from China, Iran, and Russia were all increased.