Crazy Eddie wrote:
Nah, NASA isn't the military. It makes use of military expertise, like how a news network might hire a retired general to comment on military matters, but NASA doesn't wage war....
Yes it does. The U.S. space shuttle was specifically designed to be capable of performing spy missions against the Soviet Union, up to and including the interception of Soviet spy satellites, which would necessarily constitute an act of war. NASA also conducted about two dozen shuttle missions in the 1980s on behalf of the U.S. military, the exact nature of which remains classified (mainly the launch and recovery of reconnaissance and ELINT satellites). Those same missions are now being performed by the X-37B -- a NASA design that has since been militarized for the NRO.
You're thinking that Starfleet is effectively the Federation's navy; that analogy falls apart when you realize the Federation literally HAS a Navy, and probably an army and an Air Force too, and that any combination of these are fully capable of fighting small regional wars all on their own. Starfleet as an organization is just one of many, but it's the one whose PRIMARY goal is exploration, not combat.
NASA has historically been at odds with the US Military and only participated with them when there was no other choice (funding issues) or by direct order. NASA also falls outside the Military Chain of Command. Its a civilian agency. The military also has its own space program but its not commented upon and secretive by nature.
When you say the Federation has a Navy . . . do you mean ocean going vessels? Because clearly Starfleet is the Federation's navy in space. And like has clearly been pointed out several times. Any claim that the Federation has a separate space military arm directly conflicts with the obvious fact that Starfleet seems to be fighting all of their space battles.