Boring exploration missions?
Captain Mike wrote:
Perhaps with all these boring exploration missions is when everyone decided to retire.
Excuse me, but that's Starfleet's reason for being, as stated at the beginning of every TOS and TNG episode.
I strongly resist the idea of Starfleet primarily being a Federation Dept. of War, as so many fans seem to desire.
Except that Starfleet has been from the very beginning, the Federation's primary military force. Starfleet is essentially like the Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th century. It was the primary means of force projection and waging war for the British Empire. However it also explored the globe and made contact with foreign nations/civilizations.
The original narration for TOS, with was shortened for broadcast, mentions defending colonies and space law.