Nob Akimoto wrote:
There's nothing that really precludes a military organization from also being the principal exploration agency for a government.
There's even less that precludes an exploration agency from also being the principal military organization for a government. If an organization can be one thing and moonlight as the other, the overlap works both ways.
The thing is, the Federation is rarely at war and its prime directive prohibits it from proactively engaging forces that do not pose an immediate threat to Federation citizens. It could be said that Starfleet has a military role, but they exercise that role VERY infrequently and spend almost all of their time exploring and charting space.