Re: Federation: 8,000 ly across?
If the Federation really is that big how can it be successfully managed and defended?
Not all of it can, IMO, but by deploying lots of ships and establishing starbases along key "space routes," Starfleet can still maintain a presence (albeit limited) in the more distant reaches of Federation space. In areas of contested territory--like along the borders of rival nations--there may be a much stronger Starfleet presence in place.
"Don't sweat the small stuff--it makes you small-minded..."