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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old June 25 2013, 01:37 AM   #31
The Mighty Monkey of Mim
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

I certainly have no problem with anyone choosing to interpret the evidence as one pleases, including deciding that the bulk of the evidence runs contrary to some of it, but it's still not factually correct to say that there's "absolutely no evidence" that Starfleet is not military. Even if those statements are ultimately open to interpretation and may be regarded as outliers, they still represent (limited) canonical evidence of exactly that.
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Old June 25 2013, 02:09 AM   #32
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

The Mighty Monkey of Mim wrote: View Post
I certainly have no problem with anyone choosing to interpret the evidence as one pleases, including deciding that the bulk of the evidence runs contrary to some of it, but it's still not factually correct to say that there's "absolutely no evidence" that Starfleet is not military.
It's a lot easier to prove that it _is_ military than to prove that it isn't, simply because proving a positive claim is easier. I think we all agree that they do a lot of exploration and research and aid, etc. But it still is the military arm of the Federation.
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Old June 25 2013, 02:13 AM   #33
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Well, we have personal opinion of a few characters vs. the fact that every Federation war/skirmish we've ever seen has been fought by Starfleet.
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Old June 25 2013, 03:45 AM   #34
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Starfleet is a military.

Having actually served in the USAF myself,I can draw some interesting parallels between Starfleet and a modern military.Contrary to what CNN may have you believe,most of the time the US DoD isn't fighting wars.If you look at how many sorties the USAF operates,most of them are transport hours,moving food and fuel for civil and humanitarian purposes.Combat Search and Rescue typically operates rescue missions domestically,and our actions in Haiti with humanitarian aid after their last earthquake are textbook "Starfleet" if you will.

Back to the latest movie,JJ Abrams' insistence to the contrary of the obvious has to do with the plot.Admiral Marcus' actions of making a secret vessel like the Vengeance are reprehensible if we consider Starfleet to be a humanitarian organization.If we take it as the military organization it is,then Admiral Marcus' actions are entirely justified.He's a commander of a military department looking at a large war hell have to fight.While his actions in setting up Kirk arent kosher,if we base Starfleet as a military the construction and use of the USS Vengeance is entirely justified: and the actions of the characters only serves as a vain act of self destruction.
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Old June 25 2013, 03:59 AM   #35
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

BillJ wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Belz... wrote: View Post
The fact that the federation needs a military branch against its military enemies.
Possibly. It probably isn't Starfleet, though.
Um... everytime we see a military engagement, it is Starfleet doing the fighting.
Duh, the show is ABOUT Starfleet. They're the ones we get to see doing the fighting. If regular military organizations are never mentioned or never appealed to for help, you'd never know they existed otherwise; the first time we ever see or hear about the MACOs, for example, is when Archer realizes his security teams probably aren't up to the job. If they HAD been -- if he had ten men Malcoln Reed and five years to train more skilled security officers -- the MACOs would still be on Earth, languishing in Trek obscurity.

My suspicion, in fact, is that the MACOs are the military of United Earth, and that this remains the case well into the 24th century. They are probably the ones primarily responsible for the defense of the planet and its various space stations through the use of ground-based weapon systems, drones, fighters, etc. And their response time is still slow enough that even in the 22nd century -- when their existence is not at all up for debate -- they are nowhere to be found when the shit hits the fan.
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Old June 25 2013, 04:18 AM   #36
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
Nah, NASA isn't the military. It makes use of military expertise, like how a news network might hire a retired general to comment on military matters, but NASA doesn't wage war....
Yes it does. The U.S. space shuttle was specifically designed to be capable of performing spy missions against the Soviet Union, up to and including the interception of Soviet spy satellites, which would necessarily constitute an act of war. NASA also conducted about two dozen shuttle missions in the 1980s on behalf of the U.S. military, the exact nature of which remains classified (mainly the launch and recovery of reconnaissance and ELINT satellites). Those same missions are now being performed by the X-37B -- a NASA design that has since been militarized for the NRO.

You're thinking that Starfleet is effectively the Federation's navy; that analogy falls apart when you realize the Federation literally HAS a Navy, and probably an army and an Air Force too, and that any combination of these are fully capable of fighting small regional wars all on their own. Starfleet as an organization is just one of many, but it's the one whose PRIMARY goal is exploration, not combat.
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Old June 25 2013, 04:25 AM   #37
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

As you said, they did those things on behalf of the US military, not as a part of the US military.
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Old June 25 2013, 04:30 AM   #38
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Silversmok3 wrote: View Post
Back to the latest movie,JJ Abrams' insistence to the contrary of the obvious has to do with the plot.Admiral Marcus' actions of making a secret vessel like the Vengeance are reprehensible if we consider Starfleet to be a humanitarian organization.If we take it as the military organization it is,then Admiral Marcus' actions are entirely justified.He's a commander of a military department looking at a large war hell have to fight.While his actions in setting up Kirk arent kosher,if we base Starfleet as a military the construction and use of the USS Vengeance is entirely justified: and the actions of the characters only serves as a vain act of self destruction.
Would Starfleet being the military justify the construction/use of the Vengeance? We don't know that Marcus followed the proper procedures for building and staffing the Vengeance (Scotty even remarks that the crew may be private contractors), and he certainly wasn't justified in using it to attack the Enterprise, kidnap Dr. Marcus, etc.
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Old June 25 2013, 04:55 AM   #39
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

I think it was evident to me, and this belief was validated in the Star Trek: Ongoing Issue #21, that Admiral Marcus considered the Enterprise expendable.

Captain Robert April:
I'm sorry, Kirk, but your Enterprise was expendable given the fleet that Marcus was building.
According to the movie, Admiral Marcus approved the mission of the Enterprise. She would carry 72 advanced torpedoes, with the intent to kill Khan on the planet Qo'nos. As the ship approached Klingon space, the starship's warp drive malfunctioned - a malfunction initiated by sabotage committed by Section 31. If the Enterprise had completed her mission, and had fired the missiles, the Klingons would quickly locate the origin of these missiles and destroy a disabled starship, a preamble to war between the two galactic powers.

Admiral Marcus' decision to destroy the Enterprise was his attempt to ensure there were no witnesses to his actions.
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Old June 25 2013, 05:11 AM   #40
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Belz... wrote: View Post
With Starfleet it sure seems multidisciplinary, but they still are the 23rd-24th century equivalent of the military.
We've SEEN the 23rd-24th century equivalent of the military: the Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian and Jem'hadar fleets in particular. Those organizations DO emphasize combat capabilities; their ships are compact and utilitarian, lacking amenities or advanced scientific laboratory equipment or sensor capabilities. The largest ships in most of those fleets are designed purely for combat; the largest ships in Starfleet are designed primarily for exploration.

Wait, how do you know how much of their ressources they devote to all that ?
Primarily, the fact that various individuals have said at various times that most Starfleet vessels are NOT designed purely for combat. By the 24th century, personnel assignments are being made with the crew's comfort in mind -- e.g. spouses and children being brought on board -- both to the exclusion of other tactical considerations and the bemusement of just about everyone in the universe whose space forces ARE standing militaries.

Secondarily, it's obvious that Starfleet is incredibly active throughout the galaxy even in peace time: when their ships are not in combat, they are mapping new sectors, exploring alien worlds, charting solar systems and comets, cataloging gaseous anomalies, etc. They spend about 10% of their time fighting or preparing for a fight; unless combat operations are ten times as expensive as their scientific programs (which seems VERY unlikely considering the nature of their weapons) it means that that their science budget is at least ten times larger than their tactical budget.

So basically your counter to every element of my list is "nope" ?
Did you expect me to counter them with "yep"?

Entirely of scientists ? Is Uhura or Sulu or Chekov or Kirk or Riker or Worf or Yar or Rand or Sisko or O'Brien or Paris or Scotty or Archer or Mayweather or Sato or Reed a scientist ?
Hell, the only people that's even a question for are Worf and Yar, because they served as TACTICAL officers.

And yet even Worf appears to have relatively advanced knowledge of both computer science and electrical engineering. In "One Little Ship" Sisko asks him to "plant a computer virus" in the warp core subprocessor that would effectively destroy the ship, and earlier we see him and Nog reprogramming the Defiant's fire control systems basically by hand. Even earlier, in "A fistful of Datas" he's able to manufacture a personal forcefield (In a cave! With a bunch of scraps!). Worf may be a warrior at heart, but like most Starfleet officers he has the equivalent of an advanced degree in at least two different fields. Basically, he's a scientist who likes to experiment with weapons.

As for the others... I'm amazed you even asked.

Did you just argue that the Federation has a military branch to combat its enemies, by which it is surrounded by almost all sides it seems, but that despite the battles we saw in every iteration of Trek so far fought by Starfleet, that we somehow never saw these guys or their ships ?
Yes. Primarily because
1) "these guys" probably don't have any ships, and wouldn't need them if they did. Most battles appear to be fought on the ground anyway. Probably in the same way and for the same reasons that the U.S. Air Force doesn't have any space stations and the U.S. Army doesn't have any submarines.

2) We never saw or heard of the MACOs either until Archer specifically asked for a squad of them to be assigned aboard his ship. If the MACOs are still around a century later -- and they almost certainly are -- Starfleet has even less reason to refer to them or request their presence than Archer did.

As a matter of interesting parallels: Starfleet vessels appear to be primarily exploration ships with advanced combat capabilities, while Klingon ships appear to be TROOP TRANSPORTS with advanced combat capabilities. The Romulan warbird is implied to follow a similar design philosophy, and even Ferengi Marauders evidently double as trading vessels.

It seems that advanced races rarely build starships purely for the purpose of fighting other starships. It's not that it's impossible per se, it's just highly impractical and expensive.
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Old June 25 2013, 05:34 AM   #41
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
As you said, they did those things on behalf of the US military, not as a part of the US military.
The shuttle crew WAS part of the military while the military payloads were being deployed; they'd have been breaking quite a few laws if they weren't. That is, incidentally, one of the reasons why NASA has always kept a stock of inactive (not retired, not discharged) military personnel as part of its astronaut program: for legal reasons shuttle's military missions required the reactivation of the crew for the duration of the flight.

OTOH, it could just as easily be true that Starfleet takes part in combat on behalf of the Federation military without actually becoming part of it. That would put Scotty's comment into an interesting sort of perspective. Picture that same conversation taking place on the ISS with a pack of orbital bombardment missiles being offloaded from a cargo ship. "This is clearly a military mission. Is that what we are now? Because last time I checked, we were scientists."

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
Silversmok3 wrote: View Post
Back to the latest movie,JJ Abrams' insistence to the contrary of the obvious has to do with the plot.Admiral Marcus' actions of making a secret vessel like the Vengeance are reprehensible if we consider Starfleet to be a humanitarian organization.If we take it as the military organization it is,then Admiral Marcus' actions are entirely justified.He's a commander of a military department looking at a large war hell have to fight.While his actions in setting up Kirk arent kosher,if we base Starfleet as a military the construction and use of the USS Vengeance is entirely justified: and the actions of the characters only serves as a vain act of self destruction.
Would Starfleet being the military justify the construction/use of the Vengeance? We don't know that Marcus followed the proper procedures for building and staffing the Vengeance (Scotty even remarks that the crew may be private contractors), and he certainly wasn't justified in using it to attack the Enterprise, kidnap Dr. Marcus, etc.
That is, in fact, the entire premise of the movie. Marcus was envisioning a MILITARIZED Starfleet, one in which ships like the Vengeance would be the norm rather than the exception. It would be a massive paradigm shift away from everything Starfleet had ever been, away from all of its previous priorities, all its existence principles and values.

What's also telling is that Marcus only could have made that transformation happen in the event of a massive and devastating war with the Klingon Empire. Marcus himself believed that Starfleet wasn't a proper military, and was willing to do some rather crazy things in order to change that. If Starfleet was ALREADY a fully prepared combat force, then the construction of the Vengeance and the destruction of the Enterprise is impossible to justify.

Even more interesting is that Khan doesn't seem to think so either, since he mentions Marcus' "dream of a militarized Starfleet." Think what you will about Picard's moral pretenses, but I'm sure that Khan of all people knows a military when he sees one.
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Old June 25 2013, 05:40 AM   #42
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

That's interesting about the real-life NASA stuff. So it's sort of a hybrid agency? Civilian leadership but with occasional military employees/missions?
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Old June 25 2013, 05:50 AM   #43
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

But aren't Khan and Marcus' views subjective? Given that, as you said, Marcus wanted a "proper military", and that Starfleet is certainly the governmental organization that would have to deal with the Klingons, doesn't that tell us that they are indeed a military organization, just one that is more varied in purpose and perhaps overstocked with scientists?
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Old June 25 2013, 05:53 AM   #44
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
That's interesting about the real-life NASA stuff. So it's sort of a hybrid agency? Civilian leadership but with occasional military employees/missions?
No, it's a government agency that does whatever the hell the government tells it to do. The only reason they have to include military personnel on military missions is a legal technicality that bars civilians from participating in those kinds of operations (UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions, among others).

I figure Starfleet works more or less the same way, except the Federation has a different legal framework pertaining to the use of deadly force. In OUR system, for example, only military personnel empowered through an act of congress can legally use deadly force against foreign nationals, and they cannot use it AT ALL against our own citizens. Neither of those restrictions apply to Starfleet; we've seen them operating in a law enforcement capacity numerous times in Federation space (even on Earth, in fact) and they are fully empowered to use deadly force against Federation citizens for all the usual reasons. At the same time, they are ALSO empowered to engage in combat with alien forces for any reason they see fit, and in that regard are limited only by the Prime Directive.

I would even speculate that the Federation's definition of "war" is merely a declaration that the Prime Directive no longer applies to a particular government or a region of space. IOW, a letter to Starfleet Command saying "A Klingon fleet has conquered Organia; you are hereby authorized to interfere with the internal politics and development of Organia. Go interfere the fuck out of them."
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Old June 25 2013, 06:07 AM   #45
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
But aren't Khan and Marcus' views subjective? Given that, as you said, Marcus wanted a "proper military", and that Starfleet is certainly the governmental organization that would have to deal with the Klingons, doesn't that tell us that they are indeed a military organization, just one that is more varied in purpose and perhaps overstocked with scientists?
Which is kinda my point in the post above: the whole point of having a professional military is having a dedicated organization whose job it is to defend the homeland from external threats. For historical and political reasons, that organization is tightly controlled and has a lot of limits on what it can and cannot do, and when and where. This distinguishes military organizations from, say, law enforcement, privateers, mercenaries and local militias. It's not the mission role that defines it, but the nature of the organization used to fill that role.

Starfleet is a whole different animal. To begin with, the Federation doesn't seem to CARE who defends its interests, they'll send anyone they think can get the job done. They also have extremely lax controls over what Starfleet does and to whom, the only real restriction being a blanket prohibition on interfering in the affairs of pre-warp civilizations or the internal politics of foreign governments. It's an entity that can do many things traditionally done by other types of organizations, but Starfleet's FOUNDING goal is the exploration of space, and therefore it is, by definition, a space exploration agency. It's ability to participate in war doesn't make it a military organization any more than its ability to arrest criminals makes it a police force; going by mission roles alone, the mission on Nibiru would otherwise suggest that Starfleet is the galaxy's most powerful fire department.

Marcus, on the other hand, wants to transform Starfleet into a full military organization that specializes primarily in combat and warfare. Again, such an organization would be able to fulfill a wide variety of roles, but the political and legal and eventually even MORAL implications of that would be quite troublesome in the long run. Starfleet would have to change fundamentally the way it does ALOT of things, and also change the kinds of things it is and isn't allowed to do.
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