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Old March 15 2012, 03:18 PM   #16
Relayer1
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Timo wrote: View Post
The "Starfleet mostly sits in mothballs in peacetime" concept is IMHO dubious, because most of Starfleet's duties are peacetime ones

We saw little evidence that older, TOS movie era ship types would serve in secondary roles in the TNG era.

Yet if there was a surge of ships for the Dominion war, activation of idled units is a more likely explanation than construction of all-new ones, as we virtually never saw ships with "wartime" registries, that is, registries higher than those of the prewar DS9 and VOY hero ships. And we never saw ships under construction in that era - only older ships under repair in the prewar flashback scene of VOY "Relativity". Arguably, starship construction is such demanding and time-consuming work that a mere half-decade war won't see significant numbers of new ships completed; peacetime pressures are already so high that there cannot be appreciable increase in production speed and volume in war
I agree - I think Starfleet is at full strength in peacetime - it's not that I think it's mostly in mothballs, I just think it would make sense to store the previous generation of ships when they are replaced. Powered down they wouldn't deteriorate and as you can see from the number of Excelsior class ships in TNG it must be possible to retrofit new sensors, propulsion, weaponry etc.

Older ships may not make the best frontline warships, but in wartime for planetary defense, convoy escort, troop transport, resupply and a multitude of other roles they would be invaluable, and free up the modern ships for other duties.
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Old March 15 2012, 04:30 PM   #17
Timo
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

...Indeed, in many such roles, it wouldn't matter whether a ship was modern or ancient, as the "threat environment" would not have evolved a bit in the past three centuries - so it might make sense for Starfleet never to mothball its starships, but rather run them to the ground in tasks where old-timers performed just as well as shiny newbuilds.

Yet we know Starfleet does idle some of its vessels, as per "Unification". But we don't know if those vessels are actually useful, or mere worn-down hulks incapable of serving in any role other than weird Romulan decoy.

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Old March 15 2012, 04:51 PM   #18
C.E. Evans
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Yet we know Starfleet does idle some of its vessels, as per "Unification". But we don't know if those vessels are actually useful, or mere worn-down hulks incapable of serving in any role other than weird Romulan decoy.
In "Unification," the surplus depot was regarded as a more of a junkyard, with the quartermaster actually saying he's used to ships not being in very good condition by the time they get to him.

Ships sent there may be decommissioned vessels intended to be ultimately dismantled for their parts to be used in other vessels, including kitbashes perhaps.
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Old March 15 2012, 05:52 PM   #19
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Timo wrote: View Post
...Indeed, in many such roles, it wouldn't matter whether a ship was modern or ancient, as the "threat environment" would not have evolved a bit in the past three centuries - so it might make sense for Starfleet never to mothball its starships, but rather run them to the ground in tasks where old-timers performed just as well as shiny newbuilds.

Yet we know Starfleet does idle some of its vessels, as per "Unification". But we don't know if those vessels are actually useful, or mere worn-down hulks incapable of serving in any role other than weird Romulan decoy.

Timo Saloniemi
Well, its entirely conceivable that SF had a long time of relative peace going on between the mid 23rd and mid 24th centuries... which explains presence of older ships in widespread use (and also, SF has an affinity for upgrading older vessels to perform like new ones in combat situations because they would likely have an R&D division that essentially cater to that particular area).
It wasn't until TNG era that SF decided to start churn out much more of new ship classes.
Probably also because their level of technology advanced to the point where they saw it as a time to upgrade/produce (attracting the attention off the Q and Travellers in the process).

In war time, ship production would likely jump through the roof.

As for how bit SF actually is in men and ships...
We don't know exactly.
SF ships have really good scanning capabilities and seem to assign 1 ship at a time to a specific task (in case of our heroes, it often meant preventing a full scale war or something else - in case of DS9 though, it was a bit different).

Majority of SF ships would probably be out exploring and would trade places with other classes of ships inside Federation territory for duties like supply, relief efforts, diplomatic functions, etc.

But it wouldn't surprise me if SF has at least somewhere around to 10 000 ships in peace time... if not more.

If the registry numbers mean anything (and I think they actually might refer to production numbers), then the Feds had constructed 74656 ships by the time Voyager was released into service (that was before the FX department started randomizing the numbers into oblivion - or not).

Either way, I see it as conceivable that as they advanced technologically, building ships became easier/faster (despite how 'complex' a ship may be - that would only play a part during the drawing board stage while actual construction time would likely be incredibly small).

So it's not unlikely that the Federation could have close to 35 000 ships in the mid/late 24th century (while the other 37 000 were the ones constructed and destroyed/retired before that time frame).

I mean... we do have to take into account the premise of technological advancement and expansion of the Federation.
I doubt that SOL system is the only one in the entire Federation producing ships (other Federation members would likely allocate a portion of their shipyards to SF production because it IS an organization in charge of safety among other things).
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Old March 26 2012, 05:08 AM   #20
ajac09
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

I am a firm beleiver in star fleet is big. Space is vast and to defend so many member worlds would take a big star fleet. Now I bet star fleet does have a large number of ships in mothball and only activated during the time of war.

now when it comes to star fleet academy I've always figured it was just the "elite" university. One of many places cadets go(and this is for officers others go to the various other boot camps or other places)
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Old March 26 2012, 06:21 AM   #21
Ian Keldon
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
(Remember, the Federation sphere of influence extends throughout most of the Alpha Quadrant.)
Hmm, yes and no. Picard said the Fed was spread across 8,000 light years. The galaxy is 100,000 light years across, so a one quarter pie slice is pretty damn big.

The Federation is about two and a half percent of one quadrant of the galaxy. But they likely do have some degree of "influence" outside their own domain.

Personally, I think Picard's eight thousand light years is entirely inside of the Orion Arm of the galaxy.

We know canonically from WHMHGB (TOS) that ships can and have traveled all the way out to the galactic rim, and have explored all the way inward to the Great Barrier around the galactic core.

Even if we take Picard's "8,000 light year" figure as a solid sphere of 8,000 ly in diameter, the Federation "sphere of influence" would be 268,082,573,106 cubic ly (rounded to the nearest ly). Using the commonly accepted figure of a 20 ly "sector", that would be 33510 sectors (again rounded to the nearest sector). For Starfleet to maintain any sort of presence in just 1/3 of them would require a fleet of 11,170 ships at 1 ship/sector. That assumes that all ships are always out in the field all the time, which does not allow for ships to be drydocked for repair/refit, crew rotation, or any other function.

And again, that assumes the Federation is a single, contiguous spherical area. Spreading the Federation out over a larger, non-contiguous area would increase the amount of ships needed to maintain such a presence, as some ships would be always in transit, and thus "out of position".

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
- peacetime starships are very overstaffed for war footing.
Actually, it's the other way around. Warships tend to have bigger crews than civilian vessels because of the need for crew redundancy in case of casualties during combat, plus the number of highly specialized functions that only occur on combat vessels.

Last edited by Ian Keldon; March 26 2012 at 06:38 AM.
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Old March 26 2012, 06:53 AM   #22
Timo
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

In war time, ship production would likely jump through the roof.
Yet it doesn't appear to do so - we see no explicitly new ships in the Dominion war, save for Sisko's second Defiant. Older designs remain prevalent, and only registries lower than those of famous prewar ships are ever observed.

Plus, Starfleet is dangerously short on ships in peacetime. Why would this be, if Starfleet were capable of building more ships? It's quite possible that ship production has already hit the roof in peacetime, and further ramping up is impossible.

We know canonically from WHMHGB (TOS) that ships can and have traveled all the way out to the galactic rim, and have explored all the way inward to the Great Barrier around the galactic core.
Since both the outer rim and the inner barrier are imaginary characteristics of the Trek universe rather than real physical phenomena, we don't necessarily have to assume that they would be quite as distant as the real (if ambiguous) outer rim of the Milky Way disk or the real galactic core.

But let's assume the TOS voyages indeed went tens of thousands of lightyears outward and inward along the galactic plane. A hundred such sorties would still only chart an insignificant volume of space. The exploratory routes would be mere thin lines, no thicker than the maximum range of starship active sensors (the TNG Tech Manual suggests a few dozen lightyears at most) in a vast volume that remained unexplored despite the voyages. It wouldn't be until tens of thousands of radial sorties were made that their volumes would begin to overlap at the 8,000 ly range.

any sort of presence
Apparently, Starfleet doesn't support much of a presence, as it takes months or years to investigate the mysterious cessation of communications from a million-strong colony or a starship on an important assignment. And there isn't any sort of a credible perimeter defense, as encounters with unknowns and hostiles deep within UFP or UFP-explored space are not considered surprising at all.

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Old March 26 2012, 07:02 AM   #23
Ian Keldon
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Timo wrote: View Post
Plus, Starfleet is dangerously short on ships in peacetime. Why would this be, if Starfleet were capable of building more ships? It's quite possible that ship production has already hit the roof in peacetime, and further ramping up is impossible.
There is no evidence for this. "Only ship in the quadrant/sector" is easily explained by the vast scope of their area of operations.

We know canonically from WHMHGB (TOS) that ships can and have traveled all the way out to the galactic rim, and have explored all the way inward to the Great Barrier around the galactic core.
Since both the outer rim and the inner barrier are imaginary characteristics of the Trek universe rather than real physical phenomena, we don't necessarily have to assume that they would be quite as distant as the real (if ambiguous) outer rim of the Milky Way disk or the real galactic core.
There you go again, trying to substitute your "unique" notions for canon fact. You do that a lot.

But let's assume the TOS voyages indeed went tens of thousands of lightyears outward and inward along the galactic plane. A hundred such sorties would still only chart an insignificant volume of space. The exploratory routes would be mere thin lines, no thicker than the maximum range of starship active sensors (the TNG Tech Manual suggests a few dozen lightyears at most) in a vast volume that remained unexplored despite the voyages. It wouldn't be until tens of thousands of radial sorties were made that their volumes would begin to overlap at the 8,000 ly range.
Those ship readings are supplemented by automated probes, unmanned high-power sensor arrays, etc, all of which are canonically established.
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Old March 26 2012, 01:25 PM   #24
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Well, we know that 39 ships and nearly 11,000 lives (most of which were probably Starfleet) were lost at the Battle of Wolf 359, and don't really hear much about this causing a massive resource issue, so as a minimum number, we're safe to assume at least double that amount.
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Old March 26 2012, 01:34 PM   #25
Timo
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

"Only ship in the quadrant/sector" is easily explained by the vast scope of their area of operations.
Quite so - but this also establishes that Starfleet is powerless to fight the issue, and thus colonies are lost to disasters that could have been averted had a second or more proximal ship been available. If the situation can be remedied in war where resources necessarily are concentrated and diverted, why not in peace where they are available in abundance and the enemy does not dictate their application?

There you go again, trying to substitute your "unique" notions for canon fact. You do that a lot.
Why not? It's not as if the canon facts add to anything much: they're only a thin spiderweb pretending to be a solid canvas of art, with the audience filling in the gaps and tying together the ends flapping loose.

Canon never said how far Kirk went in "Where No Man" or "By Any Other Name" or "Is There In Truth". All we learned was that he went to the strange barrier at the rim of the galaxy in the first two episodes, and entered "a space-time continuum" in the third that looked quite a bit like that barrier. There's no particular reason to think that this would have taken place beyond Picard's 8,000 ly figure - or that at least some of it (the "In Truth" bits) wouldn't have happened millions of lightyears away from Earth and the Milky Way. No reason other than trying to keep some sort of consistency for the warp speed, distance and travel time references that form our spiderweb.

Those ship readings are supplemented by automated probes, unmanned high-power sensor arrays, etc, all of which are canonically established.
...And still amount to a pitiful 11% ("Where No One") or 19% ("The Dauphin") of the galaxy explored, a far cry from a full quadrant. The percentage actually visited by landing parties and away teams may be anywhere between 11% and 0.0011% as far as canon goes.

Not to mention that in Kirk's time, at least a hundred years after Earth began using warp-speed starships for other things besides battling the Romulans, many of the nearby stars were still unknown quantities, full of wonders that only Kirk would uncover. We don't have to speculate about the reach and thoroughness of Earth's or the Federation's exploration effort, when we can directly see it comes to just about nil even in Picard's time.

Actually, it's the other way around.
Apparently not necessarily in Starfleet, though - Kirk would carry 400-500 fellow spacemen and -women on exploration missions, but ships lost to combat at Wolf 359, each of them larger than Kirk's, would be listed as having gone down with an average of only 250.

On the other hand, we have the alternate timeline E-D with 5,000 people aboard in wartime, as opposed to the mere 1,000 on Picard's peacetime voyages. And DS9 "Field of Fire" lists a supposed Excelsior as having been lost with some 1,250 personnel. A wartime increase to operating crews - or evidence of troops being shipped? Difficult to tell.

Interestingly, the wall chart onboard DS9 would list casualties on a day-to-day basis, and these would always seem to be a trickle, with at most dozens per starship (regardless of whether we looked at the chart in detail or satisfied ourselves with the unfocused artwork available without screencaps or backstage information)...

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Old March 26 2012, 02:24 PM   #26
Knight Templar
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

We know in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" that Kirk tells Captain Christopher regarding the Enterprise that "there are only 12 like it in the fleet".

Whether that means 12 or 13 ships like the Enterprise is up to interpretation. Some have claimed that this meant only 12 or 13 ships in the entire Starfleet but that of course is ridiculous.

For most of the last couple of decades, a captain aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier could correctly say that "there are only 12 like it in the fleet" and be completely accurate but the U.S. fleet still has hundreds of vessels.

The loss of 39 ships at Wolf-359 and Shelby's "we'll have the fleet up and running in less than a year" gives some idea about the Federations ship production capabilities in peacetime.

Assume that they can replace 39 ships in about 10 months (less than a year) then that means that Starfleet normally builds about 4 new starships a month or about one a week. This would have to be the level of peacetime production as there was no time for production to have been ramped up significantly around Wolf-359.

The huge number of Miranda and Excelsior class ships during the Dominion War gives some clues as to how the Federation operates during war time. I think that the Federation has a system similar to the old Soviet Army where they stored vast amounts of military hardware to equip reservists and others called to duty during wartime.

I suspect that huge numbers of Excelsiors and Mirandas were put into mothballs (or more likely ready reserve) and kept in combat ready condition in case of time of war, when they could be deployed quickly and manned by minimal crews.
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Old March 26 2012, 02:34 PM   #27
Timo
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

The loss of 39 ships at Wolf-359 and Shelby's "we'll have the fleet up and running in less than a year" gives some idea about the Federations ship production capabilities in peacetime.
Or perhaps ship reassignment capabilities? We might note or ignore the presence of many study models of TOS movie era (or even older) vessels among those lost, and speculate that (most of) the destroyed ships were bottom-of-the-barrel junk that typically floats around Earth - and that Starfleet in the aftermath of the battle would want not only to compensate for the number of ships lost, but also to reassign actual combat forces to the vicinity of Earth, in a radical change from previous policy.

I suspect that huge numbers of Excelsiors and Mirandas were put into mothballs (or more likely ready reserve) and kept in combat ready condition in case of time of war, when they could be deployed quickly and manned by minimal crews.
This is certainly a possibility. The other one is that those ships remained in constant operation, just like Klingon ships of old design appear to serve through decades and centuries. We never quite got the impression that the peacetime TNG Starfleet would consider either Miranda or Excelsior outdated or useless. Admittedly, the first class was seen in "secondary" tasks only, and two were present among the Qualor II junk - but the latter class was always seen busily serving next to the Galaxy class, and even receiving experimental updates to its drive systems that were only later given to the E-D ("Where No One Has Gone Before").

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Old March 26 2012, 02:38 PM   #28
Ian Keldon
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Timo wrote: View Post
"Only ship in the quadrant/sector" is easily explained by the vast scope of their area of operations.
Quite so - but this also establishes that Starfleet is powerless to fight the issue, and thus colonies are lost to disasters that could have been averted had a second or more proximal ship been available. If the situation can be remedied in war where resources necessarily are concentrated and diverted, why not in peace where they are available in abundance and the enemy does not dictate their application?
Because even in a generally prosperous "post-scarcity" economy such as the 24th century Federation, there is a trade off in use of resources, if only in manufacturing time for large items like starships.

There you go again, trying to substitute your "unique" notions for canon fact. You do that a lot.
Why not? It's not as if the canon facts add to anything much: they're only a thin spiderweb pretending to be a solid canvas of art, with the audience filling in the gaps and tying together the ends flapping loose.
More like "Hey, let's put sunglasses on the Mona Lisa! Why? Why not? It makes sense to me and looks cool!"
Canon never said how far Kirk went in "Where No Man" or "By Any Other Name" or "Is There In Truth". All we learned was that he went to the strange barrier at the rim of the galaxy in the first two episodes, and entered "a space-time continuum" in the third that looked quite a bit like that barrier.
Not true, look up the eps in question and they are quite explicit. Kirk's mission was to go beyond the galactic rim in WNM, in BAON they explicitly went beyond the galactic rim (something they would do again in Beyond the Farthest Star. In ITIT again explicit mention is made of them being beyond the galactic rim.

There's no particular reason to think that this would have taken place beyond Picard's 8,000 ly figure - or that at least some of it (the "In Truth" bits) wouldn't have happened millions of lightyears away from Earth and the Milky Way. No reason other than trying to keep some sort of consistency for the warp speed, distance and travel time references that form our spiderweb.
Nope, sorry. Again you're substituting what you WANT for canon fact.
Those ship readings are supplemented by automated probes, unmanned high-power sensor arrays, etc, all of which are canonically established.
...And still amount to a pitiful 11% ("Where No One") or 19% ("The Dauphin") of the galaxy explored, a far cry from a full quadrant. The percentage actually visited by landing parties and away teams may be anywhere between 11% and 0.0011% as far as canon goes.

Not to mention that in Kirk's time, at least a hundred years after Earth began using warp-speed starships for other things besides battling the Romulans, many of the nearby stars were still unknown quantities, full of wonders that only Kirk would uncover. We don't have to speculate about the reach and thoroughness of Earth's or the Federation's exploration effort, when we can directly see it comes to just about nil even in Picard's time.
None of which in any way argues for a "small" Starfleet. In fact, you're reinforcing my point that just to maintain a minimal presence in a fraction of all that requires a LOT of ships, as I demonstrated.

Actually, it's the other way around.
Apparently not necessarily in Starfleet, though - Kirk would carry 400-500 fellow spacemen and -women on exploration missions, but ships lost to combat at Wolf 359, each of them larger than Kirk's, would be listed as having gone down with an average of only 250.
Apples and oranges. Ships are more automated in TNG than TOS. Witness what happened when the Defiant lost it's computers to Eddington's virus and they had to go back to the more manpower-intensive way of doing it.

On the other hand, we have the alternate timeline E-D with 5,000 people aboard in wartime, as opposed to the mere 1,000 on Picard's peacetime voyages. And DS9 "Field of Fire" lists a supposed Excelsior as having been lost with some 1,250 personnel. A wartime increase to operating crews - or evidence of troops being shipped? Difficult to tell.
Speculation. It's still simple fact that civilian ships would not need massive amounts of military specialists, and neither would Starfleet in peacetime.

Interestingly, the wall chart onboard DS9 would list casualties on a day-to-day basis, and these would always seem to be a trickle, with at most dozens per starship (regardless of whether we looked at the chart in detail or satisfied ourselves with the unfocused artwork available without screencaps or backstage information)...

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Simple static graphics meant to imply a user-interactive variable display. The list as seen was not the entire list.

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
We know in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" that Kirk tells Captain Christopher regarding the Enterprise that "there are only 12 like it in the fleet".

Whether that means 12 or 13 ships like the Enterprise is up to interpretation. Some have claimed that this meant only 12 or 13 ships in the entire Starfleet but that of course is ridiculous.

For most of the last couple of decades, a captain aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier could correctly say that "there are only 12 like it in the fleet" and be completely accurate but the U.S. fleet still has hundreds of vessels.
Which was the model GR was following at the time. The Connies were the "best of the best", much as the Galaxies would later become.

The loss of 39 ships at Wolf-359 and Shelby's "we'll have the fleet up and running in less than a year" gives some idea about the Federations ship production capabilities in peacetime.

Assume that they can replace 39 ships in about 10 months (less than a year) then that means that Starfleet normally builds about 4 new starships a month or about one a week. This would have to be the level of peacetime production as there was no time for production to have been ramped up significantly around Wolf-359.
That assumes that they were devoting full resources to just that task. It could just as easily be that that was 1 shipyard's output, or part of a shipyard's output.

BOBW is a poor reference point in any event, as it is swamped by other canon evidence suggesting a large fleet and the associated shipbuilding capacities.
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Old March 26 2012, 03:03 PM   #29
Deks
Rear Admiral
 
Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

Shelby's statement might also refer to the time frame needed to also fully staff those 39 ships.
The construction times could be tiny in comparison of finding 10 000 replacements in crews (the actual ships could be replaced inside say a month - but crewing them would take longer).
We are talking about 39 new captains (in case there aren't any currently on 'hold') along with first officers, bridge crews, etc.
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Old March 26 2012, 03:17 PM   #30
Timo
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Re: How big is Starfleet in men and ships?

there is a trade off in use of resources, if only in manufacturing time for large items like starships.
This in no way explains why Starfleet would fail to respond to an ongoing peacetime crisis, unless we subsequently assume Starfleet is equally at failure to respond to war.

Not true, look up the eps in question and they are quite explicit. Kirk's mission was to go beyond the galactic rim in WNM, in BAON they explicitly went beyond the galactic rim (something they would do again in Beyond the Farthest Star. In ITIT again explicit mention is made of them being beyond the galactic rim.
And? That's what I said, too. Nothing there about the distance.

Nope, sorry. Again you're substituting what you WANT for canon fact.
Bullshit. None of your argumentation differs in any way - you decide that a certain phrase means X, I decide it looks better meaning Y, but it's us talking where the writers wisely left things unsaid.

None of which in any way argues for a "small" Starfleet. In fact, you're reinforcing my point that just to maintain a minimal presence in a fraction of all that requires a LOT of ships, as I demonstrated.
But there is no minimal presence - there's only absence, which drives the Star Trek plots.

Explored space is not patrolled. Systems are not defended. The enemy can intrude virtually unchallenged to Vulcan ("Unification") or the Moon of Earth ("Descent"), or traverse through the UFP or its regions of interest in decisive strength unobserved ("Way of the Warrior" or "Improbable Cause").

The obvious argument for why that is dovetails to yours: the ability to control a region of space that vast is so far beyond the means of the UFP that they don't even try. But we are still missing the actual reason for them failing to attempt even a partial remedy - or any proof that this reason would be tied to whether there is war or peace.

Witness what happened when the Defiant lost it's computers to Eddington's virus and they had to go back to the more manpower-intensive way of doing it.
...And did it without bringing any extra personnel abroad. Or are you deciding they did? You're allowed to do that, you know. It's just not part of direct canon evidence.

Speculation. It's still simple fact that civilian ships would not need massive amounts of military specialists, and neither would Starfleet in peacetime.
Your facts are worth nothing special, though. It's an equally simple fact that military ships would need massive amounts of civilian specialists in order to perform civilian duties, which means Starfleet would need them in peacetime. Equal facts there; only the observed onscreen illusion holds decisive power over them.

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