Special Report

The Top Military Academies Around the World

Courtesy of Egyptian Military Academy via Facebook

Vadym Zhuravskyi went by the nickname “Viking.” Within a year of earning the rank of senior lieutenant, the 24-year-old decorated commander of Ukraine’s 95th Separate Air Assault Brigade was killed in May 2022 fighting Russian invaders in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.

“Young Ukrainian commanders have become the heroes of this war,” said Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi. “Viking, we will make your dream come true! We will be victorious!” (Here are the most prestigious awards and decorations of the United States armed forces.)

Both Zhuravskyi and Zaluzhnyi graduated from the Odesa Military Academy, the country’s premiere military training institution that was established relatively recently, in 2011.

To determine the best military academies in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Global Firepower’s PowerIndex, which ranks 145 countries by their military strength. The lower the PowerIndex, the greater the military strength. The score is based on 60 factors, including the number of military units, logistical capabilities, finances, and geography. For each country we found the premier military academy, based on a variety of third-party military publications, and included, when available, the year the  academy was founded, its location, and notable alumni. The countries are listed in order of their military strength as measured by the PowerIndex.

Though Ukraine’s military strength ranks a respectable 15th on the list, the Ukrainian armed forces are facing a formidable and much larger adversary. Russia is ranked second. Many of Russia’s top officers are graduates of Moscow’s General Staff Academy. (Also see 13 countries with required military service for men and women.)

The oldest of these 25 war academies of the world’s 25 top countries by military strength is Italy’s Military Academy of Modena, established in 1678, followed by the Military Academy of Agulhas Negras in Rio de Janeiro, which opened its doors in 1792. Both France’s Special Military School of Saint-Cyr and the U.S.’s West Point began accepting students in 1802.

Of the military academies listed here, seven were founded before 1900 and five opened between the two world wars. Only one, the Odesa Military Academy, was established after 1990, the year the National Defense University of Warsaw, Poland, was opened  and a year before the end of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

Here are the world’s best military academies.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

25. Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Germany
> Military PowerIndex score of Germany: 0.3881
> Founded: 1957
> Location: Hamburg, Germany
> Notable alumni: Raza Muhammad, Leanne van den Hoek, Harald Sunde, Hans-Lothar Domrose

Source: west_point / Flickr

24. Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, Thailand
> Military PowerIndex score of Thailand: 0.3738
> Founded: 1887
> Location: Nakhon Nayok, Thailand
> Notable alumni: Plaek Phibunsongkhram, Sarit Thanarat, Surayud Chulanont

23. The Republic of China Military Academy, Taiwan
> Military PowerIndex score of Taiwan: 0.3639
> Founded: 1924
> Location: Fengshan District, Taiwan
> Notable alumni: Lee shying-jow, Justin Yifu Lin

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

22. King Khalid Military Academy, Saudi Arabia
> Military PowerIndex score of Saudi Arabia: 0.3626
> Founded: 1965
> Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
> Notable alumni: Mutaib bin Abdullah, Abdulaziz al-Fagham

21. General Military Academy, Spain
> Military PowerIndex score of Spain: 0.3556
> Founded: 1882
> Location: Alcazar de Toledo, Spain
> Notable alumni: Juan Carlos I, Felipe VI

Source: thejointstaff / Flickr

20. National Defense University of Warsaw, Poland
> Military PowerIndex score of Poland: 0.3406
> Founded: 1990
> Location: Warsaw, Poland
> Notable alumni: Roman Polko, Jaroslaw Mika, Tadeusz Buk

Source: LordRunar / E+ via Getty Images

19. National Defense Academy of Vietnam, Vietnam
> Military PowerIndex score of Vietnam: 0.2855
> Founded: 1976
> Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
> Notable alumni: N/A

18. Israel Defense Forces’ Tactical Command College, Israel
> Military PowerIndex score of Israel: 0.2757
> Founded: 1954
> Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
> Notable alumni: N/A

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Imam Ali Officers Academy, Iran
> Military PowerIndex score of Iran: 0.2712
> Founded: 1921
> Location: Tehran, Iran
> Notable alumni: N/A

Source: west_point / Flickr

16. The Australian Defense Force Academy, Australia
> Military PowerIndex score of Australia: 0.2567
> Founded: 1986
> Location: Canberra, Australia
> Notable alumni: Chris Field, Mark Hammond, David Kilcullen

15. Odesa Military Academy, Ukraine
> Military PowerIndex score of Ukraine: 0.2516
> Founded: 2011
> Location: Odessa, Ukraine
> Notable alumni: Oleksiy Arestovych, Leonid Maltsev, Ivan Panfilov

Source: Courtesy of Egyptian Military Academy via Facebook

14. Egyptian Military Academy, Egypt
> Military PowerIndex score of Egypt: 0.2224
> Founded: 1938
> Location: Cairo, Egypt
> Notable alumni: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Mohamed Hessein Tantawi, Gamal Abdel Nasser

13. Indonesian Military Academy, Indonesia
> Military PowerIndex score of Indonesia: 0.2221
> Founded: 1945
> Location: Magelang, Indonesia
> Notable alumni: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Try Sutrisno, Gatot Nurmantyo

12. Military Academy of Agulhas Negras, Brazil
> Military PowerIndex score of Brazil: 0.2151
> Founded: 1792
> Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
> Notable alumni: Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourao, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, Deodora da Fonseca

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. Turkish Military Academy, Turkey
> Military PowerIndex score of Turkey: 0.2016
> Founded: 1834
> Location: Ankara, Turkey
> Notable alumni: Ahmet Ziya Akgulut, Hoca Ali Riza, Abdullah Atfeh

10. The Military Academy of Modena, Italy
> Military PowerIndex score of Italy: 0.1973
> Founded: 1678
> Location: Modena, Italy
> Notable alumni: Charles Cornwallis, Nicola Bellomo, Stefano Zappala

9. Special Military School of Saint-Cyr, France
> Military PowerIndex score of France: 0.1848
> Founded: 1802
> Location: Coetquidan, France
> Notable alumni: Charles de Gaulle, Francois Lecointre, Philippe Morillon

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

8. National Defense Academy of Japan, Japan
> Military PowerIndex score of Japan: 0.1711
> Founded: 1953
> Location: Yokosuka, Japan
> Notable alumni: Yoshifumi Hibako, Yuji Fujinawa, Toshio Tamagami

Source: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

7. Pakistan Military Academy, Pakistan
> Military PowerIndex score of Pakistan: 0.1694
> Founded: 1947
> Location: Abbottabad, Pakistan
> Notable alumni: Asim Munir, Raheel Sharif, Rahimuddin Khan

Source: west_point / Flickr

6. Korea Military Academy, South Korea
> Military PowerIndex score of South Korea: 0.1505
> Founded: 1946
> Location: Seoul, South Korea
> Notable alumni: Chae Myung-shin, Kim Jong-hwan

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. RAF College Cranwell, United Kingdom
> Military PowerIndex score of United Kingdom: 0.1435
> Founded: 1919
> Location: Cranwell, United Kingdom
> Notable alumni: Prince William, King Charles III, Sir Frank Whittle

4. National Defense Academy, India
> Military PowerIndex score of India: 0.1025
> Founded: 1954
> Location: Maharashtra, India
> Notable alumni: Vijay Kumar Singh, Arun Prakash, Robin Kumar Dhowan

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

3. PLA National Defense University, China
> Military PowerIndex score of China: 0.0722
> Founded: 1985
> Location: Beijing, China
> Notable alumni: N/A

2. General Staff Academy, Russia
> Military PowerIndex score of Russia: 0.0714
> Founded: 1936
> Location: Moscow, Russia
> Notable alumni: Beqir Balluku, Saken Zhasuzakov, Aleksi Inauri

Source: Brian Logan / iStock via Getty Images

1. West Point, United States
> Military PowerIndex score of United States: 0.0712
> Founded: 1802
> Location: West Point, United States
> Notable alumni: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Patton

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