Captain Picard. wrote:
Maybe transporting families to colonies but not living there on a long term basis especially on the flag ship of star fleet it would be a big target.
But see, again you're looking at it from the perspective of later TNG and subsequent series, in which we more often saw Starfleet portrayed in a military role. As I quoted above, the original TNG writers' bible asserted that Starfleet was not a military organization, but a scientific and diplomatic one. Part of the reason Roddenberry made its captain a Frenchman is because he was paying tribute to Jacques Cousteau. He saw the Enterprise
-D as being more like a really big Calypso
than a battleship or an aircraft carrier. Would you expect the Calypso
to have been a big target?
The problem, as I've been stressing throughout the thread, is that the later showrunners who'd taken over TNG after the first season abandoned most of what the creators had intended, and had the ship engaged in military and political missions more often. So there's a discrepancy between the model that Roddenberry intended -- in which having civilians and families onboard was not only believable, but essential -- and the very different model that subsequent showrunners employed, in which having families onboard made less sense.
Maybe it would've made more sense if Roddenberry hadn't been so attached to the Starfleet paradigm. I think his later self who was less comfortable with the military was at odds with his '60s self who was comfortable with being a WWII veteran and making his show about a military vessel. What he tried to do was keep the name and trappings of Starfleet but re-envision it as a more peaceful, scientific organization, yet that clashed with viewers' expectations about Starfleet being a military service. So maybe what he should've done instead was to have two distinct space services, one scientific (say, UESPA) and one military (Starfleet). That would've fit right in with my two-ship model.