Crazy Eddie wrote:
We don't have a full list of directives, or a full Charter document, to say whether it was founded with the role of defense, but it has certainly evolved to take that role.
It hasn't EVOLVED at all. That was always one of Starfleet's roles.
You're simply experiencing massive cognitive dissonance over the fact that non-military organizations can be asked to fill that roll if they are properly equipped; the only thing that stops them at present is 21st century legal conventions that have only been around for the past hundred years and even then are not universally followed.
The true cognitive dissonance here is that you fail to comprehend that if an organization is armed it is no longer non-military and by current and historic legal definition it is most decidedly a MILITARY FORCE!
Many military manuals specify that the armed forces of a party to the conflict consist of all organized armed groups which are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates. This definition is supported by official statements and reported practice. Practice includes that of States not, or not at the time, party to Additional Protocol I.
In essence, this definition of armed forces covers all persons who fight on behalf of a party to a conflict and who subordinate themselves to its command. As a result, a combatant is any person who, under responsible command, engages in hostile acts in an armed conflict on behalf of a party to the conflict. The conditions imposed on armed forces vest in the group as such. The members of such armed forces are liable to attack.
This definition of armed forces builds upon earlier definitions contained in the Hague Regulations and the Third Geneva Convention which sought to determine who are combatants entitled to prisoner-of-war status. Article 1 of the Hague Regulations provides that the laws, rights and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling four conditions:
Starfleet personnel are conclusively shown to:
1) Have a distinct chain of command
2) Have distinctive uniforms and insignia
3) Carry weapons individually and mounted on vehicles, aerial platforms and starships.
4) Conduct combat operations on behalf of the Federation from minor skirmishes to total all out intergalactic war.
Now compare that to the Geneva Convention definition for armed forces:
1) To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2) To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3) To carry arms openly; and
4) To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
If you don't recognize Starfleet as a military than in your mind there must be, in fact, no militaries in existence on planet earth either because no organization in existence better fits the aforementioned criteria than Starfleet in the fictional Trek universe.
And as we have previously established by multiple dictionaries a military is defined as "armed forces".