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Old July 25 2013, 06:49 PM   #110
Location: This dry land thing is too wierd!
Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Not saying it does. Just that Starfleet doesn't prioritize combat readiness enough to make it an order.
Well, sexual assault awareness training and metrics, and furloughs are more important than combat readiness today

If you want to play the "writers don't know what they're talking about" card, there's a LONG list of things to take issue with, but that's a different kind of discussion.
and we could tackle some of that, too. Especially the science. Not that I'm a scientist, but it'd be nice to see a bit more rigor.

Which would be an important reason for Starfleet to maintain -- legally at least -- the nonmilitary nature of their ships. Any time someone protests about Starfleet violating their borders (usually accidentally by not knowing what their actual borders are) the Federation simply replies "Starfleet is our exploration service. No trespass was intended." They can say this with a straight face because this is what they tell EVERYONE, and anyone who searches their records will immediately determine that this really is the case.
Except that every time they cross the neutral zone or otherwise infringe, the sovereign military who's borders have been infringed explicitly state that this is an act of war on the UFP/Starfleet's part. So Starfleet, at least, can't claim that.
This, IMO, part of what Balok was alluding to in Corbomite Maneuver. He had to determine whether or not Enterprise's records were a forgery or deception to hide the ship's true nature; seems to me it was the "we're not really a military" aspect of their charter he was trying to test.
I always saw that as Balok testing to see if they really weren't imperialists pretending not to be.

Not necessarily. In the STID version of the test, it's the USS Kobyashi Maru and Enterprise is ordered to go and rescue them by Starfleet command. Technically, neither vessel has any business being there in the first place.
Well, I don't acknowledge the ENT/NuTrek timeline, so I was referring to the original.

TWOK scenario would also suggest the Klingons had also entered the zone illegally and that the Kobyashi Maru was originally just a ruse to lure the Enterprise into an ambush.
Of course. But the UFP is so pacifistic that they never make an issue of romulan or Klingon incursions into the Neutral Zone, and only respond to actual border violations as much as circumstances force, rather than supporting stronger measures, exactly like we now eschew freedom of navigation exercise in the illegal Iranian claims, and indeed, draw a set of lines 5/10/15 nautical miles out from their illegal baseline claims, and order ships not to go inside THOSE without an order from 5th fleet or a bona-fide distress call.
And in the event you postulate, the Kobayashi Maru was legally sailing through the Neutral Zone, the Klingons illegally entered and attacked just to generate the distress call (or possibly simply sent a fake distress call - on-screen evidence is slim), and the "Enterprise" under Saavik LEGALLY responded to a distress call to enter, something she could not legally do otherwise, then was attacked by the Klingons, who knew that the UFP would accept their illicit claim of defending against the allegedly illegal entry of the Starfleet ship. Enough denials about the distress call, and the UFP might back down over losing a starship, just as we keep backing down from Iranian agressive maneuvering in the Straits of Hormuz and Arabian Gulf.

And yet it's been a VERY long time since captains and military officers actually had that legal power. The only reason they got it in the first place was because HISTORICALLY, they found themselves in a position of being the first people on the scene and their governments decided to honor their claims politically rather than risk ceding territory on grounds of "Our captain who discovered this land wasn't authorized to claim it."
It was an artifact of long communications lines. Instant comms has allowed governments to reassert micro-management. The laws permitting that legal power are still in place, but bound by regulations now requiring higher authority to authorize the captain on scene to invoke it.

The HISTORICAL progression is broken in Star Trek; the 22nd century Earth Starfleet -- from which the 23rd and 24th century fleets are derived -- was a non-military agency tasked with exploration and legally empowered to make and support such claims. They got this power for the same reason as their military counterparts 400 years earlier: because nobody else could do it.
Going by the show as seen, discounting later material, TOS and TNG give no evidence of the historical progression.
And that single reality might simply sum up why the Federation never codified Starfleet's legal status as a military organization: they were already doing the exploring, the claiming and even the fighting, so the Federation simply preserved the status quo -- strange as it seems to us -- attached a few legislative strings (you must answer to the Federation, not strictly to United Earth) but otherwise let Starfleet to its own devices.
But we see that they ARE treated as a military in the issue of borders.

That's just it, though: we see ALOT of depictions of military organizations deeply engaged in exploration. It's something a lot of people expect the military to be doing in space because it's what the military use to do at sea. It doesn't seem to be a widely shared belief "the military doesn't do any exploring" because in science fiction that's ALOT of what the military does and nobody finds it all that strange.
Look back through all the threads on "starfleet as a military", and you will see scads of claims that "exploration is not a military mission", expressly because the late 20th century division of labor and bureacracy caused them to think NASA/NOAA/et alia always do exploration, not the military. And then you'll see people like me bring up Lewsi & Clark (Army), Zebulon Pike (Army, again), the Beagle, etc.

Star Trek is actually the outlier in this concept: they seem to emulate pure exploration agencies (NASA, NOAA, etc) rather than inquisitive militaries, and they seem to be the ONLY fictional organization that makes any attempt to do so. Off the top of my head, the only other time in all of (modern) science fiction we ever see a non-military exploration vessel is the USS Palomino in The Black Hole... which, interestingly, is said to be armed with six nuclear warheads for defense against possible alien attack. Palomino compares rather favorably to the Enterprise IMO in terms of operating procedure and mission parameters.
I never saw Starfleet emulate NASA or NOAA, and never saw any reference to them being non-military UNTIL Picard told of Offenhouse. I also never saw The Black Hole - back then I had less spending money, and it went to books more often than movies.

TOS never definitively established it either way; in "Tomorrow is Yesterday" Kirk tells Christopher "Our authority is the United Earth Space Probe Agency," which does not AT ALL sound like a military organization. We don't see much of UESPA after that reference, but it does pop up again in various forms, often enough that we can't simply retcon it out of existence. So either "Starfleet" is synonymous with "UESPA" (maybe the former term is just a colloquialism?) or UESPA is one of two (several?) Federation agencies that shares supervisory authority over Starfleet and the "combined service" Kirk refers to is actually the merger of UESPA and military personnel to make up the crew of the Enterprise, sort of like NASA used to do in the Shuttle Program.
I've never seen a good explanation of UESPA, but "combined service" did seem like taking DOD and any other stakeholding agency and rolling them together. I just figure UESPA was the Terran precursor to the UFP Starfleet, and Kirk referred to it as an easier to explain reference for a pre-spaceflight Terran. Kind of like a time-travelling American warship might tell a Welshman from the 17th century that their authority derives from the Magna Carta - in a roundabout way, it's true enough, and it explains in terms that Welshman can grasp, without having to explain the revolution, declaration of independence, articles of federation, constitution, and establish of the US military.

OTOH, I have been thinking for a long time now that TOS and TNG take place in completely separate timelines and thus this might just be another of MANY contradictions between the two. Not that I could ever prove this one either...
I kinda like this, and have begun considering it. But I can at least see where TNG comes out of TOS without too much difficulty. ENT, though, I really can't see turning into TOS in over a century.

Why not? Developed/urban societies have shown themselves to be relatively immune to those kinds of weapons except in highly concentrated bombardments from fleets of starships. Technology has reduced the impact of those weapons severely; a nuclear suitcase bomb isn't all that scary when every building in town has its own forcefields that can contain the blast to a ten-meter radius without hurting anyone else.
The script for Operation:Annihilate called for Kirk baking the planet to the bedrock, then saying he was going to backtrack the parasites and sterlizing each planet in turn until they found their origin - all disposed of in a couple lines of captain's log, so it didn't need to be filmed. Hard to reconcile with robust enough defenses that a surprise attack can't catch Erth with it's pants down and vaporize part of Florida, say...
Although in Patterns of Force, the Enterprise was supposed to be able to take that nuke on it's hull, without shields...

More to the point, civilians already HAVE those kinds of weapons. Captain Tracey, for example, claims to have killed "thousands" while trying to repel the Yang's triumphant zerg rush; assuming he isn't totally exaggerating, it at least stands to reason a couple of hand phasers could be swept through a crowd of rushing barbarians, vaporizing them dozens of a time. It's one thing to claim that Earth is the kind of place that no longer has Sandy Hook style massacres with hand phasers, but they MUST have a means to defend against it, just in case.
NOT the same thing: Vaping batallions is a far cry from broiling planets. Also, as seen in TUC, the Enterprise had sensors that detected phasers set above stun, and set off alarms. Presumably, cities not only have those sensors, but probably have damper fields (seen in TOS) to shut down phasers when the alarms go off. Police phasers might be hardened against the common damping field, and military phasers even more so, which is why the crew is surprised when THEIR phasers are able to be damped - Requiem For Methusaleh. That's enough to prevent massacres, without having much effect on a rogue starship turning the NORAD Memorial Museum into Cheyenne Crater.

I'm thinking, therefore, that technology has again narrowed the performance gap between professional soldiers and the armed civilians who might oppose them and/or commit mayhem. The ability to lay waste to entire planets is sufficiently portable and accessible that the ability to PROTECT populated planets must be equally effective and the immense destructive power of Starfleet's weapons is fairly easily mitigated.
Quite a reach, and not supported by evidence.

OTOH -- and I lean to this theory more heavily -- it's possible we've never actually seen the "big guns" of the Federation and Starfleet's ships are actually pretty lightly armed compared to what the Federation REALLY uses when they get pissed off. USS Vengeance might be the archetypical example of this.
Yeah, I've thought for a long time that folks who claim the Enterprise is the biggest combatant in Starfleet have to be wrong. The Federation DN is a cool ship, there'd be a definite use for such things, but we haven't needed to see them that much. OTOH, much as I'd like to see an arsenal ship and a Battleship Monitor in today's fleet, I wouldn't care to name them USS Ironsides and USS America, either. Those are "big stick" ships with little other use; those names should go to more broadly useful ships, like carriers.
I think that Kirk's Enterprise and Picard's have fewer, more sophisticated, more complicated, and more powerful weapons than their sisters that DON'T go on five-year missions. Yorktown, for example, might run a set patrol route, have a lot more phasers, but of a smaller, easier to maintain, lower power model. Kind of like the difference between a special forces guy with an MP-5, and an infantryman with an M-16A2.
The Akira is supposed to carry fightercraft and 15 photorp tubes - I'm okay with that. I just figure they're much simpler, slower tubes for redundancy - a ship more often used in combat will want to avoid having it's torpedoes taken out, and having 15 lower-tech tubes does that - it's a lot harder to deprive them of torpedoes than a Galaxy class ship assigned a five year mission that has one high-rate tube. They may both put out just as much fire, but one does it by rapid-fire through one tube, while the other does it by slow fire through up to 15 tubes.
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