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15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World

In this article, we list and discuss the 15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to the 5 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World.

According to the World Bank’s report, a total amount of $2.21 trillion was spent on military expenses worldwide in 2022. However, this comes as no surprise as countries tend to spend a significant portion of their GDP on their military to strengthen defenses and stay competitive in the world, every year. At the same time, there are also some countries with no army, navy, or air force (See: 15 Countries that have no Army, Navy, or Air Force) but continue to thrive, thanks to the agreements they have with strong countries like the US, France, and Australia to protect them against attacks of any sort. Note that the US, France, and Australia are considered “strong countries” because they have strong economies and powerful militaries (See: 25 Most Powerful Militaries in the World in 2023) to serve and protect the citizens.

As of 2024, the United States is the strongest military in the world, followed by China, Russia and India. But are they also the strongest when it comes to reserve military manpower? 

Reserve military are soldiers who have serve some years in the military and then join the Army Reserves or National Guard. Reservists get military perks as they are part of the military without devoting themselves full-time to the military. Military benefits from reserve manpower in times of emergencies as they can call reservists anytime to duty when the country is in need. Some countries are facing a decline in their active and reserve manpower despite having a high-end military.

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For instance, according to Pew Research, 18% of the US population was serving in the military in 1980, but the percentage dropped to 6% in 2022. They've also forecasted that although around 18.3 million veterans in the US, the numbers will decline to 12.1 million in the next 25 years — by 2048. The gradual fall in military manpower is an area of concern for the United States. But still, for now, it is the number one miliary in the world. 

Military Spending and the Arms and Ammunition Industry

In 2022, the US spent $877 billion on its military, which was 3.5% of its total GDP. Military spending by governments surges during wars and conflicts, and companies that manufacture and supply arms and ammunition achieve the most profitable outcomes. 

During the Ukraine-Russia war, the US’s big five defense contractors made huge profits in 2022 from selling weapons to Ukraine. According to Reuters, the big five MIC companies in defense industry, Boeing (NYSE: BA), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), and RTX Corporation (NYSE: RTX) earned $157.5 billion in fiscal year 2023, an increase from $153.6 billion in fiscal year 2022. 

Moreover, in 2023, the sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments rose by 16% to a record $238 billion. As the Russia-Ukraine war is ongoing, the defense industry will continue to rise, and the MIC of the United States will continue to make profits. As reported by Global Times, War is "good for business," a recruiter for BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) told the O'Keefe Media Group. 

As of February 9, 2024, Australia pledged an additional AUD 400 million to Boeing (NYSE: BA)'s indigenous Ghost Bat autonomous drone program. The government previously signed an AUD 600 million contract with Boeing (NYSE: BA) to sustain and upgrade F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleets for the Royal Australian Air Force. 

Similarly, in December 2023, Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), was awarded a $654.5 million contract by the Army Contracting Command of Newark, NJ for the metal parts program for M1128. General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) was selected alongside IMT Defense for this contract, and both companies will be competing for each order of the contract.

On the other hand, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), a US weapons manufacturer, signed contracts with some leading Saudi companies at the World Defense Show in Riyadh on 5 February 2024. The company awarded Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) subcontracts to a pair of Saudi Arabian firms, Middle East Propulsion Company (MEPC) and Arabian International Company (AIC), for locally manufacturing parts of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) missile system.

As geopolitical changes and conflicts are occurring more often than before, countries heavily depend on their military, including the army, navy, and air force, to defend the country in crucial times. In the list below, we discuss the top countries with the most reserve military manpower in the world.

15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World
15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World

Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock

Our Methodology

Countries with the most reserve military manpower in the world are listed in ascending order of the size of their reserve force. Data has been sourced from our previous lists on the subject. 

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that uses a consensus approach to identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The website tracks the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds. Our top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). So, if you are looking for the best stock picks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World

15. Egypt

Total reserve military manpower: 480,000

As of 2024, Egypt has a reserve military manpower of around 480,000 which is 0.4% of the total population of the country. The country has is considered the strongest military power in Africa. Note that Egypt’s military comprises the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force, and Egyptian Air Defense Forces.

14. China

Total reserve military manpower: 510,000

Having the largest population in the world, China has a reserve military manpower of 510,000 as of 2024 and is ranked 14th. Article 7 of the Military Service Law of the People's Republic of China states that the reservists need to participate in military training and shall always be ready to join the army whenever need be, as is the case with nearly every other country.

13. Pakistan

Total reserve military manpower: 550,000

When it comes to the military, Pakistan has left many developed countries behind and has quickly scaled up to rank 14th in the list of the most powerful countries in the world. The military of Pakistan plays a huge role in the country's economic and political sphere, and as of 2024, the country has 550,000 reserve manpower. Pakistan’s military is not only responsible for external defense but also aids and assists domestic forces for internal defense.

12. North Korea

Total reserve military manpower: 560,000

The Korean People’s Army (KPA) is one of the largest military forces in the world with the primary purpose of maintaining the Kim regime. As of 2024, North Korea has a reserve military manpower of 560,000. Each member of the reserve force is provided with combat gears that include crew-served weapons and personal arms. The reserve manpower is supposed to respond to emergency calls whenever made and also enter the boot camp to receive military training of 15 to 30 days long at least once a year. 

11. Tajikistan

Total reserve military manpower: 600,000

The Republic of Tajikistan is one of those few countries that have more reserve manpower in their military than active manpower. As of 2024, the total number of reserve military manpower in the country is 600,000. While military service is compulsory for men aged 18 to 27, it can be avoided by paying a fee equivalent to $2,200 in Tajikistani Somoni. 

10. United States of America

Total reserve military manpower: 799,500

Ranked number ten, the US has a reserve military manpower of 799,500 as of 2024. The United States’s Federal Ministry Reserve Force Program, known as the US Army Reserve, allows individuals to pursue their goals and passion while getting paid to train part-time. Participants of this program can enjoy many benefits while getting part-time training including high-quality healthcare, scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, home loan federal programs, and exclusive employment resources and pension plans after the service is complete. 

9. Finland

Total reserve military manpower: 870,000

The primary focus of the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) is on territorial defense which requires a large and trained reserve force. As of 2024, Finland has a reserve military manpower of 870,000 which has several FDF responsibilities like domestic security duties, looking after international peacekeeping operations, etc. In Finland, every male citizen is part of the reserve until he turns 60 years of age. Regional offices are responsible for looking after all the matters related to reservists. 

8. United Kingdom

Total reserve military manpower: 924,000

The British military is known for having experienced, professional, and highly regarded forces with a wide range of missions and responsibilities. As of 2024, the reserve military manpower of the United Kingdom is 924,000. The military reservists in the UK are supposed to serve in their spare time and can join from age 18 to 43. The reservists get paid for training in the evening at the weekend. 

7. India

Total reserve military manpower: 1,155,000

The military forces of India are mostly focused on defending their territories against Pakistan and China. They are known to be extremely professional, experienced, and well-equipped. As of 2024, India has the fourth strongest military globally while the reserve military manpower of India has reached 1,155,000. The age limit to join the reserve military of India is 18 to 42 years and the person needs to be graduated from any recognized university. 

6. Ukraine

Total reserve military manpower: 1,200,000

The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), in the wake of Russian attacks, have primarily focused on defense against Russian aggression. Although going through a tough year, as of 2024, Ukraine has a reserve military manpower of 1,200,000. Due to the ongoing tension between Ukraine and Russia, there are no longer queues of Ukrainian men to join the fight. Thus, earlier this year, a bill was submitted to tighten army mobilization where the age to join the reservists is reduced to 25-27 years

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Disclosure: None. 15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.