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Old July 24 2013, 06:10 PM   #107
Location: This dry land thing is too wierd!
Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
That would apply to Enterprise nicely, wouldn't it? Starfleet has requested one of its galaxy class starships participate in the Braslota War Games and has given no specific orders for who and when that participation occurs. Kolrami as a defense contractor makes sense too, especially since he seems to have access to at least one (probably several) decommissioned Starships.

Enterprise gets tossed in front of the Borg, then Picard calls Starfleet command and says "Okay, we'll do it."
Which still does not demonstrate Starfleet as a non-military entity, just one written by people with no experience in what they're writing about.

Navy, though not half as long as intended due to a disagreement between my skull and an exploding air tank over which had the right of way.
What rate? Sorry to hear about your incident.

True as that is, there seems to be a general lack of motivation to depict Starfleet AS a military organization. Ira Stephen Berr, in particular, certainly had ample opportunities to consult a military adviser or at least make a definitive statement one way or the other. He continued to straddle the fence for reasons unknown, even after finally taking DS9 in its "grittier" direction.
He'd have to think of it. During TOS' run, the studio had a research office, and all shows made use of it. As scripts were written, the research office looked up everything to make sure the scripts made sense - so cop shows could seem more real to viewers who were police, nobody could sue because the suspect in a procedural had the same name as the viewer, etc. This continued through TMP - the researchers suuggested Kirk be promoted to admiral, not commodore, because the real-world navy had renamed the rank rear-admiral lower half, and the script updated to reflect that. by the early 80's, all studios had discontinued the practice to save money, and most shows didn't pay for it out of their own budget. At most, somebody might google the names in the script to avoid lawsuits. So by the time Behr was working on DS9, nobody thought about having a library specialist look up anything in the script for accuracy. Even with a "science advisor" attached to the show (TNG+), they usually ignored him saying that the plot point made no sense, and expected him to just come up with the technobabble to justify it. Scripts would be written "Then Geordi technobabbles the technobabble to technobabble the ship out of danger, and the science advisor would supply the words to replace the "technobabbles".

The thing is, I've also worked for PMCs and private security companies that ALSO maintain military discipline, including uniform codes and a review process that they unofficially refer to as court-martial (but is really just an ad hoc meeting of a couple of supervisors to decide whether to simply fire you or fire and prosecute you, kinda like in The Menagerie).
eh, but they don't have the formal authority to try you and sentence you. Just press charges and let the civil authorities proceed. Starfleet has been shown to convene it's own trials and sentence those convicted.

I've said many times that the difference between military and paramilitary organizations is their specific legal standings. I've had experience with both, enough to know that the differences between them are only easy to see when you know ahead of time which one you're looking at.
Sometimes. But a civilian ship entering territoriali waters has the right of innocent passage. National warships do not. Unless passage is arranged between the warship's government and the government whose territorial waters are being entered, doing so is an act of war. It usually only gets to the level of diplomatic protest, relief of the CO, and some tense meetings, with some media coverage and saber-rattling talk, but it is still causus belli. The Kobayashi Maru could legally enter the Neutral Zone, as a civilian ship, but the "Enterprise" could not, except when performing a rescue. But even then, messages need to be sent to our government, their government, and bridge-to-bridge transmissions to all ships in the area, and if challenged by sovereign units, they would have to turn back and leave the rescue to said sovereign craft.

One of the security companies I worked with had a uniform code for some of its armed guards that intentionally resembled the uniforms worn by police officers, the idea being that if you have to confront a trespasser, it's best to be less than obvious that armed security guards actually have no legal powers whatsoever and are really just there to look intimidating and scary and make trespassers not want to come in the first place. This was a jarring realization that, in hindsight, may have colored my interpretation of Starfleet as well: in the same way an armed guard has all the trappings of a cop but none of the power, Starfleet seems to have all the trappings of a miliary, but not of the legal recognition. In the end, that legal status is everything: it's the difference between the Coast Guard and the Marine Police, between the Navy and a PMC. Starfleet doesn't appear to be LEGALLY a military organization, and it shows.
Not quite. Yes, a lot of private agencies do that - the RIAA issues jackets deliberately styled after the FBI to agents who comb flea markets looking for vendors selling pirated cds/dvds, and threaten prosecution unless the vendor turns over all their merchandise - never mind that they have no legal standing and it's technically intimidation and theft. Most such vendors really are pirates and are in no position to fight it.

But Starfleet does seem to be able to back up it's authority by law - if a captain negotiates a treaty, truce, or ceasefire, then, just like any age of sail navy captain, that document is valid and lawful, He can cede claims to a planet on behalf of the UFP, or assert them. Remember, we don't see that today because the world has been explored and claimed. Trek is set in a galaxy where so much is unclaimed and unexplored that they've gone back to that.

That's not even an "idea" let alone a false one.
No? I certainly see it. Most folks don't really think about how society changes over time and assume that things have always been that way.

Star Trek is actually unique among science fiction -- and particularly in space opera -- for depicting Starfleet as a very soft, non-military organization. The rest of the genre takes it as a foregone conclusion that Space Is an Ocean and Starships Belong To the Navy.
They have always depicted it as softer than the current, real-world version, but TOS never asserted starfleet was NOT the military. TNG+ did that, yet never thought about how that invalidates much of their background.

Under present conditions, yes. Under the conditions that exist in the Federation... who knows?
As soft, urban, and legalistic as the UFP is shown to be (at least the core worlds), I can't see them allowing a non-military, armed civilian force to wield weapons capable of erasing all life on a planet. At least the senior leaders in a military are appointed by the government, and subject to serious disciplinary measures, giving them a handle on misuse of those weapons.
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