Peace Time: October 23, 2001


Some nations put a much larger percentage of their military age (18-32 years old) males in uniform than others. The worst case is North Korea, where 30 percent of the military age men are in the armed forces at any time. Not surprisingly, the number two in this category is neighboring South Korea with ten percent in uniform. After that comes Russia, with six percent in uniform. Russia is trying to reduce this percentage, if only because more and more Russian young men are dodging the draft. Many major military powers have between 3-4 percent of their manpower in uniform. This includes the United States (4 percent), Britain (3.2 percent) and Germany (4 percent.) Most poor nations simply cannot afford to keep many of their men in uniform. So you have nations like Nigeria with .5 percent in uniform and India with one percent. Some poor nations, because of internal problems, have relatively large armed forces. Peru has 3.1 percent of its men in the armed forces. But many wealthy nations keep the proportion of troops down. Even though China has the largest armed forces in the world, only 1.8 percent of their men are in uniform. Taiwan has only 1.4 percent and Japan only two percent.


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