THE SCORECARD: Allied Preparedness in an “America First” World

 In Perspectives


Europe Summary

France flagFrance
With a strong budget, political support for the armed forces, and durable military independence, France is well prepared to weather an “America First” foreign policy. An overall preparedness score of 9 highlights these strengths while acknowledging that France faces a difficult and complicated domestic terror threat that requires robust intelligence and surveillance capabilities. View Scorecard here.

Germany flagGermany
Germany’s overall preparedness score signals that while filling the gap in deterrence ability and airlift and refueling capability left by an “America First” policy would be challenging; its strong industrial base and substantial defense budget should be able to rise to those challenges. View Scorecard here.

Poland flagPoland
Poland’s overall preparedness score of 6 comes from a strong US presence under the NATO banner, inadequate defense industrial capabilities, and a high regional threat environment. But if it had to cope with an “American First” relationship with the US, Poland clearly demonstrates the political will to increase defense spending, develop new defense industrial partners and maintain operational readiness in the face of an ongoing Russian threat. View Scorecard here.

UK flagUnited Kingdom
The UK’s industrial ties to the US and interoperability with American forces could create significant headwinds during an era of “America First” foreign policy. However, a growing defense budget, ambitious modernization plans, and thriving industrial base provide the UK with enough reserve to adequately weather a sea change in a historic relationship. View Scorecard here.

Asia-Pacific Summary

Australia flagAustralia
Australia is well prepared to defend its security and interest in its immediate regions using its own resources. While a downgraded partnership with the United States would make projecting power far from Australia difficult, Australia has a solid industrial base that can develop new capabilities. View Scorecard here.

Japan flagJapan
Japan would be able to provide a minimum level of defense, even against a high-end threat such as China. However, defending disputed territory and distant interests would be difficult for Japan to do on its own. Accelerating development of stealth aircraft, ballistic missile defenses, long-range strike, and ISR aircraft and satellites, would be just some of the investment intensive initiatives that Japan would need to pursue. View Scorecard here.


Philippines flagPhilippines
In a scenario where US military capabilities and support are not as readily available, the Philippines would not be able to independently compensate for lost capabilities and enablers. Even purchases of cheaper Russian and Chinese systems would not immediately address obsolescence, training, or budget issues. View Scorecard here.

South Korea flagSouth Korea
If South Korea quickly had to adopt an independent defense posture, it would need to prioritize air defense capabilities surrounding Seoul. The country would also significantly bolster its ground forces on the 38th Parallel, as well as its cross-border surveillance efforts. View Scorecard here.


Taiwan flagTaiwan
While the Trump administration may seek to change the dynamics of cross-strait relations, it remains clear that Taiwan could face numerous challenges in an “America First” era even if it desires to close those any capability gaps on its own. Even with a growing defense budget, historic reliance on US suppliers and lagging domestic industry could prove to be significant obstacles. View Scorecard here.


Avascent Analytics analyzes the defense spending of 60 countries in its Global Platforms and Systems (GPS) database. The GPS database covers approximately 95% of international defense investment spending that is accessible to Western defense suppliers. The database features a comprehensive “topline” forecast of each country’s total defense spending over a 10-year period, as well as a detailed “bottom-up” analysis of its program-by-program plans.

Additionally, the Platforms Module of the GPS database captures the current inventory of global defense platforms, including aircraft, ships and ground vehicles for the 58 countries covered. For each platform captured, the Platforms Module details the prime contractor, the first and last year of delivery, the size of the installed base per customer, and the number of units to be acquired over a 10-year forecast.

Avascent Analytics breaks down total defense spending figures for each country into five sub-accounts based on the nature of spending activity: procurement, research and development (R&D), personnel, operations and maintenance (O&M), and pensions. The bottom-up component of the database itemizes the procurement and R&D budgets among an array of individual program plans.

These include ongoing programs, announced competitions and planned future acquisitions, as well as Avascent Analytics’ projections of future requirements over the next 10 years, to depict how each country will spend its investment resources over time.

Projections are based on multiple factors, including threat perception, mission area gaps, historical investment behavior, industrial base capacity, and other political considerations. Each program or platform acquisition is subsequently disaggregated into its component parts to provide sub-system granularity.

For the budget availability analysis present in this paper, GPS budget data was used to calculate four key performance indicators (KPIs). Avascent’s topline forecast was used to source the size of the 2017 defense budget, to calculate the 2017-2022 defense budget CAGR, and to compute the percentage of total GDP spent on defense.

It should be noted that the percentage of total GDP spent on defense figures may differ from commonly published figures due to Avascent Analytics inclusion or exclusion of specific government accounts on a country-by-country basis. The breakdown of total defense spending numbers into the five sub-accounts was used for calculating the percentage of total defense spending allocated to investment (procurement and R&D).

For the platform quality analysis in this paper, the age of airborne, maritime and ground platforms was calculated using the first and last year of delivery in the Platforms Module. The platforms were then divided into airborne, maritime and ground segments to calculate the average age of each segment.


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