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Old June 5 2013, 06:48 PM   #36
Crazy Eddie
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Re: A Military Star Fleet and UESPA

Timo wrote: View Post
Put simply: too much gets by Starfleet, too much is absent, too much is simply forgotten or let slide for it to actually BE a full-time combat organization.
But that much is also true of the old Royal Navy.
Not to the extent of what we've seen in Starfleet. In terms of defensive capabilities and tactical readiness even the 17th century RN was far more specialized.

On the other hand, you yourself once pointed out that during that time period the word "military" referred to the land force and wouldn't have been applied to the Royal Navy anyway; by their definitions, the navy wasn't the military either.

As with most military organizations, the ability to implement some punitive measures every now and then, at least in theory, was sufficient raison d'etré for the Royal Navy, and sufficient for securing England's sovereignty as well. Starfleet isn't all that different from this...
Except Starfleet's raison d'etré is peaceful exploration and scientific research. They are armed because the galaxy is a dangerous place, and they perform defense/wartime missions because they are armed. When you consider that the Federation is at peace far more often than it is at war and that even the very few declared wars almost never pose an existential threat to the Federation or any of its members, then a significant expenditure on such a combat force would be politically and logically difficult to justify (and could only be justified by the presence of a permanent military-industrial complex, which poses problems all its own).

Instead, the Federation can afford to build and maintain a truly enormous exploration fleet because under normal circumstances that fleet would be out charting new worlds, identifying new resources, rescuing stranded ships, building good will with Federation neighbors, etc. In the event of war, you have this huge exploration force that already has their own weapons and their own ships; they can slip seemlessly into the combat role until the threat is neutralized, then go back to their day jobs without so much as a hickup.

Makes sense - but is based solely on what is not seen. We've never seen actual ground fights of the "pitched battle" type, fights that both sides would have prepared for and desired.
And yet we've never seen any sort of ground action involving large numbers of Andorians, who by TOS are still described as something of a warrior race. We can positively infer the presence of a large Andorian ground army by both the relative absence of Andorians in Starfleet and their lack of participation in fleet actions; they probably gave up their spaceflight aspirations and stuck to what they do best, which is kick the snot out of people in close quarters combat. The only thing we don't know for sure is WHERE the Andorians are active, but since there's nothing to indicate they have gone extinct or become pacifists, that remains the only relevant question: Where is the Andorian army?

For all we truly know, no "national" forces exist whatsoever.
Well, we know the "Federation Naval Patrol" is a separate entity from Starfleet, so that's one. We also know from "Gambit" that Vulcan has its own intelligence services, so that's two. More recently, we know that private security companies still exist in the 23rd cenury as per Scotty's question to the guard on the Vengeance (and he could well have been right).

Besides, it stands to reason that Starfleet is not the only combat-ready fighting force in the Federation, probably for the same reason the Coast Guard isn't the only fighting force in America.
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