geography means that states with small land areas tend to be difficult to defend militarily??. To 
defend a small area a state requires extensive military capabilities that are able to project 
outside the territory of the state to create the depth required. Such capabilities require large 
numbers of troops and large military budget. To justify the social and financial cost of 
conscription and complex capabilities the perceived threat must be clear and immediate and 
the state must possess the resources to produce the required forces. Israel is a state with a 
small land area and small population but it maintains significant military capabilities and 
employs large-scale conscription in order to defend itself. Israel has what they consider to be a 
clear threat that requires mitigation and they are wealthy enough to afford the military 
capabilities required". 
From all of this analysis, the issues of size, population, wealth and proximity to a military threat 
stand out as being the four practical factors that influence a state's decision to have a military. 
A fifth factor of national prestige can override the practical factors but this rarely results in a 
capable military but rather a token or ceremonial force. A state requires sufficient territory to 
defend, sufficient manpower to recruit, sufficient wealth to pay troops and buy equipment and a 
sufficient enough threat nearby to warrant the expense. Where any of the above four factors is 
insufficient then building a military becomes harder to achieve or justify. This does not mean 
that states have nothing to defend but just that having a military is not the tool to provide that 
defence. Where a military is impossible or impractical, small states must find other non-military 
means to defend their sovereignty and interests. 
  
30 Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force, (London: Allen Lane, 2005), 153-155 
* Ibid, 18-20.
        

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