The Best Military Academies Around the World

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 late last year 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 identify 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.

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