Location: The People's Republic of Austin
Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft
Next full chapter. 2370 - 2381...
The Fight for Survival: 2370 - 2381
Despite coming to power as a herald of peace, Jaresh-Inyo's presidency was filled with rapidly building crises. The McAllistair Nebula Crisis of 2369 threatened to plunge the Federation back into full scale war with the Cardassian Union, undoing Amitra's hard-won armistice. A Starfleet task force led by Edward Jellico successfully forced the Cardassians to back down, but revealed the fragility of the Federation's new found peace. Other events during Jaresh-Inyo's first year in office included an incursion by Borg infected by individuality, the end of Cardassian occupation of the Bajor Sector, the discovery of the Bajoran Wormhole, and a diplomatic crisis with the Romulan Star Empire after the defection of Vice Proconsul M'Ret.
The following year, the final Federation-Cardassian Treaty led to widespread dissatisfaction and unrest in the newly established Demilitarized Zone. Groups of Starfleet officers abandoned their posts and even absconded with Starfleet hardware to assist the armed resistance group known as the Maquis. Assymetric warfare between the Maquis and Cardassian regular forces prevented Starfleet from demobilizing its forces along the Demilitarized Zone, negating the "peace dividend" expected when peace with the Cardassian Union was negotiated by the Amitra Administration.
Tensions in the Beta Quadrant direction also remained high. The diplomatic tensions created by the defection of M'Ret were exacerbated when illegal Starfleet research into phase cloaking technology was revealed in 2370. This major breach of the Treaty of Algeron nearly brought the Federation back into conflict with the Romulan Star Empire. Vice Admiral Erik Pressman refused to divulge the identities of his co-conspirators, requiring an extensive investigation of Starfleet's upper echelons by a combined Starfleet Internal Affairs and Federation Security task group. The final results of this investigation resulted in several high level resignations at Starfleet Command and Starfleet R&D, requiring substantial personnel redeployments and setbacks to existing research projects.
The ambitious 2365 Decennial Plan, expected to produce a new generation of anti-Borg optimized starship designs was hopelessly behind schedule by 2370. Admiral Batelle Toh was reassigned from ASDB to heading Starfleet R&D after the Pegasus Purges, resulting in substantial delays in ASDB development projects. Of the major projects initiated under the Shanthi Admiralty, only the Intrepid and Nova class development projects remained on schedule.
Disastrous first contact with the Dominion in 2370 resulted in the loss of USS Odyssey (NCC-71832). Further revelations in the following year led to a substantially elevated perception of danger within Starfleet's upper echelons. Despite this, the Jaresh-Inyo Administration remained steadfast in refusing calls for increased mobilization. Only the loss of Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) allowed Admiral Ruah Brackett to convince the Federation Council to activate the 6 reserve Galaxy class hulls. Authorization for series production of additional Galaxy-class hulls were denied by presidential veto in 2371, however, and Starfleet Command contented itself with procuring additional Nebula-class starships and series production of the brand new Intrepid-class light explorer.
Further conflict came in 2372 when the Klingon Empire invaded the Cardassian Union. The Federation's condemnation of the attack resulted in an abrogation of the Khitomer Accords and a series of border conflicts between the two Great Powers. Directed by a changeling who had replaced General Martok of the KDF, the brief conflict resulted in several high profile losses of isolated Starfleet vessels along the Klingon-Federation border. Already under fire for a lack of preparation in the Cardassian Demilitarized Zone, the Jaresh-Inyo Administration responded by sending Starfleet's remaining core sector fleets to the Beta Quadrant Frontier.
The combination of the Pegasus Purges, the Jaresh-Inyo Administration's production drawdown, and the revelation of the Dominion Threat allowed a small cabal of Starfleet flag officers led by Vice Admiral James Leyton to make secret preparations for a coup d'etat. Rear Admiral Galaen sh'Kelthris took advantage of his posting as chief of staff of the Starfleet Procurement Office to conduct several covert modernization projects of older starship hulls in smaller idled civilian dockyards, while the Vice Commandant of Starfleet Academy siphoned cadet squadrons off for coup preparations. As Chief of Starfleet Operations, Leyton was able to reposition most of Starfleet's assets not involved in his conspiracy outside of the Sol System. With the escalation of the conflict along the Klingon border, Leyton put his planned coup into effect. While the coup attempt was foiled by loyalist Starfleet officers, this final blow to Jaresh-Inyo's credibility effectively ended his chances at reelection.
Elected by a landslide in 2372, President Min Zife initiated a crash escalation program for Starfleet in early 2373. Taela Shanthi once again took the post of Commander in Chief, Federation Starfleet. Revelations that General Martok had been replaced by a changeling infiltrator allowed for rapid rapproachment between the Federation and Klingon Empire. The deescalation of hostilities along the Federation-Klingon border allowed redeployment of forces back to the Federation core worlds. This proved fortuitous when the Borg Collective once again invaded the Alpha Quadrant in 2373.
Unlike the Battle of Wolf 359, the Typhon Sector Task Force led by Vice Admiral Jeremiah Hayes consisted entirely of modernized, fully combat capable starships. Although Starfleet combat losses remained high with 30% of the 120 ship task force either lost or disabled, personnel losses were comparatively much lighter, allowing Starfleet to rapidly remobilize its forces by transferring personnel to newly built starships.
Under the Second Shanthi Admiralty, Starfleet emphasized procurement and modernization of proven starship designs in civilian shipyards, while using Starfleet Shipyards for repairs and construction of experimental ship types. The 2373 Procurement Memo authorized Admiral Theoderich Patterson, Chief of Fleet Yard Operations, to take "all necessary and proper measures" to prepare Starfleet for a potential war with the Dominion or Borg Collective. The Shanthi Admiralty gave Patterson the needed latitude to set production goals, while setting personnel training goals that were ambitious even by the metrics of the 2365 Decennial Plan.
Despite these preparations the start of the Dominion War in 2373 would extensively tax Starfleet resources. Pre-war estimates of both Dominion and Cardassian fleet strength proved to be wildly optimistic. Starfleet's technological edge was substantially smaller than in the Cardassian Wars of the previous decade, and the Dominion Expeditionary Force proved to be nearly equal in total strength as the Klingon Defense Force. Ship losses from early engagements numbered in the hundreds, taxing even the Federation's vast civilian ship building infrastructure's ability to replace war losses. In the year 2374 alone Starfleet lost nearly 1,500 starships (not including non-combatants such as tankers, transports, and tenders) while only managing to produce 437 new starships and repairing or refitting 600 others.
Additional pressures included high personnel losses. By mid-2374, Starfleet Operations issued directives to reduce crew complements by nearly 10% across the board. A further directive in early 2375 reduced crew complements to 80% of pre-war numbers to free up sufficient numbers to crew newly built replacements. Compared to past conflicts where loss rates were in the 10-15% range, the average destroyed starship lost 30% of its complement during the Dominion War. Accelerated officer training programs and 6-month rapid mobilization courses for enlisted crew somewhat alleviated these losses, but the major bottleneck for Starfleet mobilization during this period remained primarily personnel based.
The end of the Dominion War in 2375 resulted in the retirement of Taela Shanthi. Admiral Tujiro Nakamura succeeded Shanthi, while Chief of Starfleet Operations was filled by William Ross. The Nakamura Admiralty initiated the first post-war Decennial Plan in 2376 which sought to restore Starfleet to its pre-war strength. Resource demands required to rebuild Federation member worlds occupied during the war slowed down progress during this period. The new building programs emphasized a diverse mix of next generation starships, including the Luna, Merian, and Vesta class development projects.
Edward Jellico became commander in chief when Nakamura retired in 2380. Starfleet's strength remained about 15% below its pre-Dominion War peak at this time when it faced an unprecedented existential crisis. The final Borg Invasion of 2381 resulted in the loss of nearly 40% of Starfleet's fleet strength. Over 95% of the crew complements died aboard the lost ships, creating a crippling personnel shortage just when the Federation most needed Starfleet crews to deal with mounting humanitarian crises.