While no publication of this type is possible without the contributions of a great many people, there are usually a few special con­tributors whose talents, work ethic, and willingness to go the extra mile make it something quite special.

Nearly four decades ago, Phillip N. Truluck began building The Heritage Foundation’s research depart­ment based on quick response to policy issues facing decisionmakers and placing credibility first. After assuming the role of Executive Vice President and chief operating officer in the mid-1980s, he contin­ued to maintain the quality, quantity, integrity, and effectiveness of Heritage research. With this Index of U.S. Military Strength as the final major Heritage publication on his watch, we express our apprecia­tion for his dedicated leadership and for building a strong institution that will carry forward and build upon his life’s work.

Brian Slattery was a true workhorse in coordinat­ing the myriad details and supporting efforts neces­sary to take this project from inception to comple­tion. His understanding of the project and detailed knowledge of the resources available at Heritage were invaluable.

Diem Salmon was instrumental in organizing and leading the massive effort needed to compile, analyze, and make sense of the wealth of data essen­tial to assess the condition of U.S. military forces. Without her efforts there would be no chapter on U.S. military power.

Ana Quintana not only contributed the essay on Latin America and the Caribbean but took on the challenge of “herding cats” when it came to ensur­ing our subject matter experts met deadlines for the graphics that amplify the text. Similarly, Charlotte Florance not only authored the essay on Africa but volunteered her considerable skills to bring the dis­cussion of the Middle East across the finish line.

Luke Coffey set the tone and scope for our chapter on the global operating environment, authoring the section on Europe, the discussion of Russia, as well as providing substantial editing support for much of the material in threats chapter.

The editorial experience of Senior Editor Richard Odermatt, Deputy Director of Research Editing Therese Pennefather, and Senior Copy Editor William T. Poole, along with the creative talents of Senior Data Graphics Editor John Fleming, Publication Produc­tion Specialist Jay Simon, online web designer/devel­oper Jeph Christoph, and Creative Director Melissa Bluey, were instrumental in ensuring the accuracy, clarity, and superb presentation of this material in print and online.

Lastly, special recognition goes to Dr. James Jay Carafano who first recognized the gap this Index is meant to fill and who provided invaluable direction on the general approach to be taken in embracing the challenge. He has hopefully started us along a path toward a better informed understanding and wider appreciation of America’s ability to “pro­vide for the common Defence” that undergirds The Heritage Foundation’s vision of “an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.” The Heritage Foundation seeks a better life for Americans, which requires a stronger economy, a stronger society, and a stronger defense. To help measure the state of the economy, our Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity publishes annually the Index of Economic Freedom. To help measure the state of society, our Institute for Fam­ily, Community, and Opportunity publishes annual­ly the Index of Culture and Opportunity. Now, to help measure the state of our defenses, our Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy publishes this inaugural edition of the annual Index of U.S. Military Strength. In addi­tion to acknowledging all those who helped prepare the Index of U.S. Military Strength, The Heritage Foundation expresses its appreciation to the mem­bers of the U.S. armed forces, who protect the liberty of the American people in a dangerous world.

Assessing America's Ability to Provide for the Common Defense