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Old July 11 2013, 10:58 PM   #364
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

KGator wrote: View Post
Perhaps its a good time for a recap. The question was whether Starfleet is a military. By current convention a military is synonomous with a designation of "armed forces"...
That's really the problem you're having.

Starfleet fits the criteria of an "armed force" pretty well: it is armed and it responds to its government's direction. But because it was not chartered primarily for the purpose of defense, it would not be classified as a military organization as such.

There is an exemption for law-enforcement who can carry arms, wear uniforms, have a chain of command and yet be considered Paramilitary according to the laws of war (and thus be treated as civilians).
Unless they join the battle, in which case they cease to be civilians and are considered combatants.

However any participation in the conduct of war revokes and claim of being a paramilitary law enforcement organization.
Incorrect: a paramilitary organization is still a paramilitary organization regardless of its (non)combatant status.

The military of a given country can be assumed to be a combatant uniformly in accordance with the declared laws of its host state. Soldiers from a particular military who just happen to show up and participate in that war -- independent of any provable orders from their government -- would be considered combatants in that conflict, even though the rest of their military would not; the lack of commitment from their host government implies these combatants are acting independently and while they are technically part of that nation's military, they are not acting on its behalf.

I mention this because it's a two way street and not as clear cut as you have been implying so far. Furthermore, even under the current paradigm there are certain advantages to leaving your military forces formally undeclared; Rickover pulled this same trick with the NR-1, carefully avoiding the classification of "warship" to circumvent congressional/bureaucratic controls on military hardware. The Federation may similarly seek to avoid scrutiny from its rivals (or alienating potential allies) by leaving it completely ambiguous exactly how and and by whom their defense priorities are carried out. Indeed, under the Geneva Conventions, only those Starfleet units that actually participate in combat would be considered combatants; deep space vessels on the other side of the galaxy, unarmed outposts, exploration probes, telescopes and all kinds of other hardware could still be considered outside the scope of the conflict, and Starfleet would be free to explore beyond the battlefield without accidentally exporting the conflict wherever they happen to be. That would be a dirty little legal trick (and only applicable under CURRENT laws, actually) but for an organization that may have hundreds of starships prowling the limits of explored space, it would be essential to be able to conduct peaceful exploration without threatening the implicit neutrality of anyone who might aid or shelter them.

Since Starfleet exactly fits the definition of what an armed force is according to the laws of armed conflict, the only way they could say they were not military is if they claimed they were law enforcement...
Or a space exploration agency. There's nothing in the definition of "space exploration agency" that precludes it being armed (as the Russian astronauts are, and have always been, even after it was transferred to civilian control).

Thus Starfleet would unequivocably have to be considered a military organization...
Starfleet would be considered an armed force. It would not be a military organization for reasons I have already outlined.
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