Crazy Eddie wrote:
I'm saying that Starfleet can lend itself to a military role if and when it needs to but otherwise isn't an organization that actually fits the modern definition of "military" and apparently doesn't even fit the 24th century definition.
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or pereceived threats.
I'd say Starfleet fits that definition. And I'd say this distinction of "if and when it needs to" is meaningless because it always
needs to. Even when there is no war. The Neutral Zone always has to be patrolled, for example, and that's a military operation. As long as the Federation has potentially hostile neighbours, the need for a military role is permanent
. The fact that most of the fleet might be doing something else (which I don't think is even true much of the time) doesn't make Starfleet non-military any more than the fact that the USCG spends most of it's time doing search and rescue, disaster response and so on makes the USCG non-military.