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Old July 24 2013, 04:40 AM   #106
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
Kolrami appeared to be a contractor, to me. But again, I've experienced many "requests", such as "5th fleet requests a ship to investigate a suspicious dhow". That was a ranking officer kind enough to let several skippers argue who should get the tasking, rather than deciding to interrupt a particular ship's tasking.
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."

so, which branch? AF, Army, Navy, CG, Guard? I'm gueessing CG.
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.

Remember, Paramount didn't have a military advisor, and SG-1 did, yet they're not that good about it, either. It's just Hollywood writing out of their nether orifice.
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.

courts-martial? Uniform regs? Causus Belli? POW camps? We never saw Starfleet ever do anything that wasn't a military mission, aside from scale/milieu...
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).

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.

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.

NOAA, NASA, et alia took over some of those jobs because it spread the work to other bureacracies. This created the false idea the military isn't part of that.
That's not even an "idea" let alone a false one. 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.

On that scale, only an anarchy would allow world-killing weapons to anyone except the military.
Under present conditions, yes. Under the conditions that exist in the Federation... who knows?
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Old July 24 2013, 06:10 PM   #107
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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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Old July 24 2013, 11:58 PM   #108
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
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.
Not saying it does. Just that Starfleet doesn't prioritize combat readiness enough to make it an order.

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.

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.
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.

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.

The Kobayashi Maru could legally enter the Neutral Zone, as a civilian ship...
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.

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.


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.

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.
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."

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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...

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.
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.

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.

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.

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.
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; July 25 2013 at 05:36 AM.
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Old July 25 2013, 05:29 PM   #109
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

In an event that has just blown the lid off my "Weird shit" meter...

Mentioned this conversation to a friend of mine at NASA, and he pointed out to me the fact that NASA has its own SWAT team.



I honestly don't know what to make of this, except that I wonder if many Americans are simply interpreting the Federation through a uniquely American lens with all the creeping militarism that comes with it.

Seriously: we live in a country where the fucking Department of Education has its own SWAT Team; if the Federation is anything like America, it probably shouldn't be.
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Old July 25 2013, 06:49 PM   #110
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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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Old July 25 2013, 06:53 PM   #111
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
In an event that has just blown the lid off my "Weird shit" meter...

Mentioned this conversation to a friend of mine at NASA, and he pointed out to me the fact that NASA has its own SWAT team.

I honestly don't know what to make of this, except that I wonder if many Americans are simply interpreting the Federation through a uniquely American lens with all the creeping militarism that comes with it.

Seriously: we live in a country where the fucking Department of Education has its own SWAT Team; if the Federation is anything like America, it probably shouldn't be.
Oh, I quite agree. I've been concerned about that for a while now. I don't see any valid justification for any cabinet branch to have a SWAT team except for the specific law enforcement agencies. And I'd really like to consolidate them - BATF, DEA, etc should all be rolled into FBI Task Forces, IMO, and all those SWAT Teams disesablished or moved to FBI.
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Old July 26 2013, 01:43 AM   #112
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

There is an interesting bit from "The Way to Eden". The TOS Enterprise's presence across the RNZ would be viewed as a "military intrusion" and not a "exploration intrusion" according to Kirk.
SULU: Captain, we're now leaving the Neutral Zone. Bearing into Romulan space!
KIRK: Any patrols?
SPOCK: Negative.
KIRK: There will be soon. Doctor Sevrin. You are violating Romulan space and endangering the peace of the galaxy. The Romulans will view this as a military intrusion and attack. Bring the ship about now.

But we do know that some ships, particularly ones that move some illegal cargo like Romulan Ale go back and forth across the RNZ according to McCoy in "The Wrath of Khan".
McCOY: I only use it for medicinal purposes. I got aboard a ship that brings me in a case every now and then across the Neutral Zone. Now don't be a prig.
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Old July 26 2013, 04:25 AM   #113
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
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.
I'm not so sure. I think that UESPA is a "combined service" in the sense that both military and non-military organizations were fused together to form it under basically the same rationale as the shuttle program and/or NOAA: military officers have more operational experience, but certain scientific disciplines involve specialists from civilian fields. Extrapolating further, it might very well be that the uniform colors on the Enterprise indicate what branch of the service they're originally from: blues are scientists and/or doctors, reds for civilian contractors, gold for commissioned officers.

This would certainly explain the broad inconsistency with the fact that members of the security department do not always wear red shirts and that some command-level officers (Scotty, in particular) do not wear gold ones. In the case of, for example, the Galileo Seven, we'd have Latimer (in a gold shirt) as a former fighter pilot assigned as a shuttle pilot for the Enterprise; Gaetano, a radiation specialist who also comes from a military background (and therefore wears gold instead of blue); Boma, a civilian scientist comissioned into Starfleet gets a blue shirt; Spock, joining Starfleet from the Vulcan Science Academy, also gets a blue; Scotty comes from a civilian job serving on a freight liner at Deneva Colony and is therefore a civilian contractor, along with Yeowman Mears, who is just a glorified secretary.

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.
Strictly speaking, it didn't: ENT actually turns into NuTrek after a century and I'm privately of the opinion that it never had anything to do with TOS in the first place (and there's some in-universe support for this theory; see "Romulan Cloaking Device").

I agree, If I could find a way to definitively divorce TNG+ from TOS, then UESPA/Starfleet would be totally different discussion (the TOS fleet is, at the very most, a non-conventional military with a fascinating structure). It's having to make them consistent with EVERYTHING ELSE that makes things weird... but then, that's been true of TOS since at least 1976

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...
Deneva under control of neural parasites whose population can only barely operate what little machinery is still operational on the surface... not exactly a test case (although I've been wondering for a long time why that episode had such a severe title with such a pussy ending; might play with this in a fanfic )

Also, 22nd century Earth IS kind of an under-developed backwater. Also, FLORIDA.

Although in Patterns of Force, the Enterprise was supposed to be able to take that nuke on it's hull, without shields...
I don't know if they'd be walking away from that unscathed, but it definitely wouldn't be a ship killer.

NOT the same thing: Vaping batallions is a far cry from broiling planets.
Not by much, considering that every warp-capable spacecraft in the Federation uses antimatter as a fuel source and civilian freighters clearly don't have much in the way of security (seeing how Earth is a crime-free utopia and all...) A 9/11 style terrorist attack against Earth would otherwise result in an "Obsession" style devastation of the entire planet, UNLESS said planet had some pretty formidable safety systems capable of containing that kind of accident.

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.
Who needs arsenal ships when you've got SSGNs? Nothing says "Respect my authority!" like a 150 Tomahawks and a SEAL team for dessert.

Total derail here, but I'm of the opinion that the Carrier Age is already over and America simply hasn't gotten the memo yet (we were late to the end of the Battleship Age too, so there's that). There are reasons why one would like to think supercarriers are still the end-all of naval power, but that's only because we've spent the last fifty years using them to bomb and intimidate third-world countries that have no real capacity to challenge us military.

In the event of an ACTUAL WAR with a world-class naval power -- say, China or Russia or some unholy alliance of Asian countries -- the carrier fleets would be giant targets for submarines, which would force American submarines to counteract them; entire naval battles would be fought and lost UNDER the ocean that nobody would ever see, and the carriers would go through the war (or be sunk before its end) without ever directly engaging an enemy warship. Add to that new technological touches -- supersonic SLCMs and submarine-launched UCAVs capable of competing with manned fighters -- and the aircraft carrier is as useless as a battleship.

End derail.
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Old July 26 2013, 02:00 PM   #114
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
I'm not so sure. I think that UESPA is a "combined service" in the sense that both military and non-military organizations were fused together to form it under basically the same rationale as the shuttle program and/or NOAA: military officers have more operational experience, but certain scientific disciplines involve specialists from civilian fields.
I did say
DOD and any other stakeholding agency
, which may be the in-universe cause of some of the stupidity. If UE Solar Fleet merged with the Space Probe Agency to make UESPA, the Solar Fleet types would assume they're best suited to administer and lead the new force, while some of the SPA-types assumed the low-brow soldiers would know they're just supposed to provide muscle and get out of the brainiac's way. Picard being an inveterate reader and a lover of the past, over-identifies with the SPA chapter of Starfleet history.


Extrapolating further, it might very well be that the uniform colors on the Enterprise indicate what branch of the service they're originally from: blues are scientists and/or doctors, reds for civilian contractors, gold for commissioned officers.
I'd say red for logistics, technical support, engineering, civilian contractors, etc. Still, interesting idea.

This would certainly explain the broad inconsistency with the fact that members of the security department do not always wear red shirts and that some command-level officers (Scotty, in particular) do not wear gold ones. In the case of, for example, the Galileo Seven, we'd have Latimer (in a gold shirt) as a former fighter pilot assigned as a shuttle pilot for the Enterprise; Gaetano, a radiation specialist who also comes from a military background (and therefore wears gold instead of blue); Boma, a civilian scientist comissioned into Starfleet gets a blue shirt; Spock, joining Starfleet from the Vulcan Science Academy, also gets a blue; Scotty comes from a civilian job serving on a freight liner at Deneva Colony and is therefore a civilian contractor, along with Yeowman Mears, who is just a glorified secretary.
Which sounds like you're assuming the merger was in the late 2250s / early 2260s.

Strictly speaking, it didn't: ENT actually turns into NuTrek after a century and I'm privately of the opinion that it never had anything to do with TOS in the first place (and there's some in-universe support for this theory; see "Romulan Cloaking Device").
That's what I've come to. At first, I just hated the way ENT could not fit TOS, but after nuTrek came along, I decided it could probably fit there.

I agree, If I could find a way to definitively divorce TNG+ from TOS, then UESPA/Starfleet would be totally different discussion (the TOS fleet is, at the very most, a non-conventional military with a fascinating structure). It's having to make them consistent with EVERYTHING ELSE that makes things weird... but then, that's been true of TOS since at least 1976
that's an interesting idea.

Deneva under control of neural parasites whose population can only barely operate what little machinery is still operational on the surface... not exactly a test case (although I've been wondering for a long time why that episode had such a severe title with such a pussy ending; might play with this in a fanfic )
The Blish adaptation is where I learned that. Look it up if you don't have it.

Also, 22nd century Earth IS kind of an under-developed backwater. Also, FLORIDA.
Now, now, Terra in the 22nd century isn't under-developed, they just haven't caught up with the 23rd century yet. And what about FLORIDA?

I don't know if they'd be walking away from that unscathed, but it definitely wouldn't be a ship killer.
Again, Blish worked with the scripts, not the episodes, Kirk discusses it in the adaptation of the episode.

Not by much, considering that every warp-capable spacecraft in the Federation uses antimatter as a fuel source and civilian freighters clearly don't have much in the way of security (seeing how Earth is a crime-free utopia and all...) A 9/11 style terrorist attack against Earth would otherwise result in an "Obsession" style devastation of the entire planet, UNLESS said planet had some pretty formidable safety systems capable of containing that kind of accident.
That's a totally different argument than the idea of one machine-gunning down barbarian tribes.
We never saw any systems to shield from such attacks in TOS or TNG. But the sensors, computers, tractors, etc we did see would detect a ship (with antimatter powerplant) on a wrong course far enough out to warn them off, tractor them and hold them until they blew up or surrendered, and ended the threat short of their goal.

Who needs arsenal ships when you've got SSGNs? Nothing says "Respect my authority!" like a 150 Tomahawks and a SEAL team for dessert.
When you have a surface arsenal ship, you can have a lot more than 150 tomahawks, SM3s, etc. Maybe no SEAL team, but when you've got AEGIS and several times your tincan's own firepower on call, who needs SEALs? Your VBSS team can comb the wreckage just as well.

Total derail here, but I'm of the opinion that the Carrier Age is already over and America simply hasn't gotten the memo yet (we were late to the end of the Battleship Age too, so there's that). There are reasons why one would like to think supercarriers are still the end-all of naval power, but that's only because we've spent the last fifty years using them to bomb and intimidate third-world countries that have no real capacity to challenge us military.
Carriers are very useful for power projection, even against major powers. But yes, they are very vulnerable to subs. Riding shotgun on the Indy (we had a much cruder name for her) in the 90's, I realized we could sink her before she could react if we had wanted to.

Carriers aren't going away, and subs aren't going to become the queens of naval warfare. But we are probably going to have to jigger the formula a bit, which, to bring it back to Trek a bit, is something to work out for fleets. A lot of fans want to see Space Control Ships demonstrate the bad-assery of a carrier over a dreadnought, while other fans dismiss carriers in Trek as a joke.

In the event of an ACTUAL WAR with a world-class naval power -- say, China or Russia or some unholy alliance of Asian countries -- the carrier fleets would be giant targets for submarines, which would force American submarines to counteract them; entire naval battles would be fought and lost UNDER the ocean that nobody would ever see, and the carriers would go through the war (or be sunk before its end) without ever directly engaging an enemy warship. Add to that new technological touches -- supersonic SLCMs and submarine-launched UCAVs capable of competing with manned fighters -- and the aircraft carrier is as useless as a battleship.

End derail.
Can't agree entirely. Carriers are the diplomatic big stick of power projection; subs aren't visible enough to make the point that sailing a carrier somewhere does, and in fact, making it visible renders it vulnerable. And the new tech never meets it's promise, so those UCAVs will get shot down for the next few decades.
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Old July 27 2013, 03:03 PM   #115
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Darkwing wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
I'm not so sure. I think that UESPA is a "combined service" in the sense that both military and non-military organizations were fused together to form it under basically the same rationale as the shuttle program and/or NOAA: military officers have more operational experience, but certain scientific disciplines involve specialists from civilian fields.
I did say
DOD and any other stakeholding agency
, which may be the in-universe cause of some of the stupidity. If UE Solar Fleet merged with the Space Probe Agency to make UESPA, the Solar Fleet types would assume they're best suited to administer and lead the new force, while some of the SPA-types assumed the low-brow soldiers would know they're just supposed to provide muscle and get out of the brainiac's way. Picard being an inveterate reader and a lover of the past, over-identifies with the SPA chapter of Starfleet history.
That could work. Picard may be thinking that Starfleet is an organization that INCLUDES military personnel among its crews (again, as we saw them do with Colonel Kira) but that the military contingent of Starfleet (still the Goldshirts?) are not calling the shots.

Which sounds like you're assuming the merger was in the late 2250s / early 2260s.
I don't think it was an actual merger. I think they're simply transferring people around from one service to another (and maybe back again) on a regular basis and the uniform colors reflect what service each one originally comes from. In the same sense each ship has its own separate insignia, each branch of the service -- civilian astronaut corps, science corps, military officer's corps -- would have their own colors.

Here's a thought: maybe the red shirts actually represent, collectively, the Earth Cargo Service, the Merchant Marine, and anyone else who spends a lot of time in space under the regulation of, say, the Federation Astronautics Administration? So redshirts are FAA, Blueshorts are FSC (Federation Science Council) and goldshirts are MACO.

The Blish adaptation is where I learned that. Look it up if you don't have it.
Reading list updated.

Now, now, Terra in the 22nd century isn't under-developed, they just haven't caught up with the 23rd century yet.
For that matter, the 22nd. In "Affliction" we learn that Klingon cities are protected by their own forcefields that are capable of at least temporarily holding off an orbital bombardment. Andorian and Vulcan ships both have deflector shields, and the Syrannite rebels on Vulcan even have some advanced holographic technology (for that matter, Surak's lost scripture turns out to be an ancient holographic projector, indicating that the Vulcans have had holographics -- and probably shield technology -- for at least a couple of centuries). In this sense, 22nd century Earth is the equivalent of Japan during the Meiji Restoration: on a crash course for modernization, building new ships and new institutions, but it'll be a few more years before they achieve indoor plumbing.

And what about FLORIDA?
It's ALREADY kind of a backwater. The Xindi basically had a choice between Afghanistan, Florida and the Moon; they decided to hit the one people were least likely to notice.

When you have a surface arsenal ship, you can have a lot more than 150 tomahawks, SM3s, etc. Maybe no SEAL team, but when you've got AEGIS and several times your tincan's own firepower on call, who needs SEALs? Your VBSS team can comb the wreckage just as well.
You were talking about "broadly useful" ships, yes? An Arsenal Ship is just a floating missile silo with a giant "kick me" sign painted on the keel. It's the perfect weapon system when a bunch of Cambodian rice farmers get uppity and lynch the foreman at the local Tropicana factory.

An SSGN is broadly useful in the sense of military power, not just gunboat diplomacy. It can torpedo your fleet, bomb your capital, put 12 heavily armed daredevils on the shore and kidnap your president. Kinda like Starfleet, come to think of it.

Carriers aren't going away, and subs aren't going to become the queens of naval warfare.
Yeah, they used to say the same thing about battleships... until 1942.

But we are probably going to have to jigger the formula a bit, which, to bring it back to Trek a bit, is something to work out for fleets. A lot of fans want to see Space Control Ships demonstrate the bad-assery of a carrier over a dreadnought, while other fans dismiss carriers in Trek as a joke.
That's mainly because with the tech level of Star Trek -- and the nature of space warfare in general -- FIGHTERS are a joke. A small craft can cause a lot of damage against a large unprotected warship or an unprotected urban target, but in Star Trek there's no such thing; your shields can hold off scores of torpedo hits and any phaser weapon powerful enough to damage a starship is better off being mounted on another starship. There's also the fact that WHOLE SHIPS can act in the fighter craft role more efficiently than small one-man craft; Defiant and Bird of Prey are good proofs of this concept.

Can't agree entirely. Carriers are the diplomatic big stick of power projection
"Power projection" is the militaristic fantasy that you can prevent foreign powers from threatening your interests purely through intimidating tactics. It's the same school of thought that produced the phrase "shock and awe," the same kinds of people who say things like "What kind of message does this send to our enemies overseas?"

The Big Stick is a tool of VIOLENCE, not intimidation. You negotiate in good faith and seek a peaceful solution; the stick is the implement you use when negotiations fail. Parking a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier off your rival's coastal waters is an example of "speak loudly" and is especially counter-productive since those kinds of grand gestures rarely send the message they're intended to send.

subs aren't visible enough to make the point...
The military's job is not to "make a point." The military's job is to defeat the enemy.

As you may have guessed from our earlier discussions, I have a basic philosophical aversion to mission creep, which is part of the reason I don't think Starfleet works as a "play it straight" space navy.
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Old July 28 2013, 06:02 PM   #116
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It's the same school of thought that produced the phrase "shock and awe,"
It's also the same school of thought that produced the phrase "mutual assured destruction," which historically worked.

The military's job is not to "make a point." The military's job is to defeat the enemy.
In part, but it's also the military's job to make potential enemies think (more than) twice before attacking.

When it comes to defensive capabilities, you don't want to appear to be the "low hanging fruit."


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Old July 29 2013, 06:34 AM   #117
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It's the same school of thought that produced the phrase "shock and awe,"
It's also the same school of thought that produced the phrase "mutual assured destruction," which historically worked.
From our end, yes. The thing most people don't get is that the Russians never actually held to that philosophy and their interpretation was better explained as "If somebody tries to nuke you, nuke em right back!" Historically they had a much more cavalier attitude about nuclear war than their western counterparts, primarily because they assumed (possibly correctly) that a nuclear holocaust, as much as it would suck, would NOT actually be the end of the world and most of their war plans had to do with how they would recover -- and win -- after the exchange.

The military's job is not to "make a point." The military's job is to defeat the enemy.
In part, but it's also the military's job to make potential enemies think (more than) twice before attacking.
If you're being threatened by the kind of people who aren't aware of the existence of submarines -- or the fact that you have a shitload of them, or the fact that your military can suddenly appear out of fucking nowhere without any warning whatsoever -- they are probably NOT the kinds of people who are smart enough to comprehend the strategic implications of aircraft carriers.

OTOH, if you have the kinds of enemies who don't give a shit about aircraft carriers (which we presently do) "make them think twice" isn't exactly a helpful strategy.
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Old July 29 2013, 09:07 PM   #118
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
That could work. Picard may be thinking that Starfleet is an organization that INCLUDES military personnel among its crews (again, as we saw them do with Colonel Kira) but that the military contingent of Starfleet (still the Goldshirts?) are not calling the shots.
I have to wonder how someone gets that high without realizing that his military rank and responsibility means he is, ipso facto, a military officer.
]
don't think it was an actual merger. I think they're simply transferring people around from one service to another (and maybe back again) on a regular basis and the uniform colors reflect what service each one originally comes from. In the same sense each ship has its own separate insignia, each branch of the service -- civilian astronaut corps, science corps, military officer's corps -- would have their own colors.
What other services? UESPA was only mentioned ina few TOS eps, and nothing else really comes to mind in TNG.

Here's a thought: maybe the red shirts actually represent, collectively, the Earth Cargo Service, the Merchant Marine, and anyone else who spends a lot of time in space under the regulation of, say, the Federation Astronautics Administration? So redshirts are FAA, Blueshorts are FSC (Federation Science Council) and goldshirts are MACO.
Personally, I find it easier to just assume they're all Starfleet, and let it go at that. But remember in TOS gold shirts were command, so in your scheme, that's still putting the military in charge. And TNG just swapped red & gold to try (and fail) at eliminating the "red-shirt meme".

For that matter, the 22nd. In "Affliction" we learn that Klingon cities are protected by their own forcefields that are capable of at least temporarily holding off an orbital bombardment. Andorian and Vulcan ships both have deflector shields, and the Syrannite rebels on Vulcan even have some advanced holographic technology (for that matter, Surak's lost scripture turns out to be an ancient holographic projector, indicating that the Vulcans have had holographics -- and probably shield technology -- for at least a couple of centuries). In this sense, 22nd century Earth is the equivalent of Japan during the Meiji Restoration: on a crash course for modernization, building new ships and new institutions, but it'll be a few more years before they achieve indoor plumbing.
Eh, just more of the continuity issues with ENT/TOS. Kirk didn't have a holodeck, and this would indicate he should have. Much easier to assume ENT leads to nu-Trek, and not to TOS.
It's ALREADY kind of a backwater. The Xindi basically had a choice between Afghanistan, Florida and the Moon; they decided to hit the one people were least likely to notice.
Really? Nobody's gonna notice all the snowbirds going up in smoke and a canal where the retirement home used to be?

QUOTE]You were talking about "broadly useful" ships, yes? An Arsenal Ship is just a floating missile silo with a giant "kick me" sign painted on the keel. It's the perfect weapon system when a bunch of Cambodian rice farmers get uppity and lynch the foreman at the local Tropicana factory.[/QUOTE]Back to the digression: You can't reload VLS at sea. It's one thing to pull into a harbor with a crane on a barge in Japan, Guam, or Hawaii; it's another to try that in Yemen. An arsenal ship means less need for reloads while on deployment, and can also take over plane guard from the shooters, which frees them up a bit more to do more important things than ride shotgun during flight ops. The Tropicana issue is the purview of the CIA, not the navy; we reserve tomahawks for presidents needing a media distrction from the latest intern scandal

An SSGN is broadly useful in the sense of military power, not just gunboat diplomacy. It can torpedo your fleet, bomb your capital, put 12 heavily armed daredevils on the shore and kidnap your president. Kinda like Starfleet, come to think of it.
Starfleet doesn't like to kidnap or assassinate; that's stepping on Section 31's toes. An SSGN can't conduct freedom of navigation ops, doesn't handle VBSS well, and isn't going to be able to stop Somali pirates. And who needs 12 daredevils when we can drop off a company of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children? Or drop them in addition to your daredevils? Hell, we did that on an AE in 96 - one transit from Bahrain to Iraq where the bridge & CIC watches were all manned by khakis, but of course, "nothing happened"...

Yeah, they used to say the same thing about battleships... until 1942.
Yeah, well, Billy Mitchell showed them battleships weren't top dog anymore, they didn't listen til the Japanese sank their BBs. I still can't see subs taking that slot. Now, if the carrier/sub/battleships in MWB's "Strangers from the Sky" ever get built, then maybe subs can take more prominence. But right now, if we can find a sub, it's sunk - even if it's airedales off that carrier. A surface ship has better chances to stay afloat.

That's mainly because with the tech level of Star Trek -- and the nature of space warfare in general -- FIGHTERS are a joke. A small craft can cause a lot of damage against a large unprotected warship or an unprotected urban target, but in Star Trek there's no such thing; your shields can hold off scores of torpedo hits and any phaser weapon powerful enough to damage a starship is better off being mounted on another starship. There's also the fact that WHOLE SHIPS can act in the fighter craft role more efficiently than small one-man craft; Defiant and Bird of Prey are good proofs of this concept.
Your philosophy, not mine. Nothing in canon demonstrates unequivocally that fighters are useless - in fact they did show that they existed they just never used them because it'd be hard to handle the special effects. Up until TMP, shields always had gaps. Not enough for other capital ships to take advantage of, but fighters could slide through, much as star wars showed vis-a-vis the Death Star. TMP showed shields and forcefields. TNG showed "shields" but they appeared continuous, like the forcefield. And yet the Scimitar was shown carrying fightercraft, the Akira was referred to as carrying fighters, and the Maquis used old Starfleet fightercraft. So even without the gaps, fighters still had some utility. A 1- or 2-man fighter costs less, and causes less casualty if lost in combat than a Defiant or BoP. They're smaller and harder to see when doing recon (except for BoP w/ cloak). And a swarm of fighters can overwhelm a larger ship, as seen when the Jem'Hadar took out the Odyssey.

"Power projection" is the militaristic fantasy that you can prevent foreign powers from threatening your interests purely through intimidating tactics. It's the same school of thought that produced the phrase "shock and awe," the same kinds of people who say things like "What kind of message does this send to our enemies overseas?"
I do not agree. Power projection is reminding them we're here; better behave. When N. Korea launched a missile in 98/99, and declared a 200-nautical-mile economic easement zone that nobody was allowed in, Japan and S. Korea were sweating; they couldn't afford to lose the money sailing around it would entail, and they couldn't force the issue. We sailed 12.5 miles off the coast of N. Korea for awhile, and they quietly stopped trying to enforce that zone. Little things like that keep the peace without "shock & awe". That latter is taking the previous ideas and putting a media blitz zpin on them, abusing the doctrine horribly for the sake of kewl internet videos.

The Big Stick is a tool of VIOLENCE, not intimidation. You negotiate in good faith and seek a peaceful solution; the stick is the implement you use when negotiations fail. Parking a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier off your rival's coastal waters is an example of "speak loudly" and is especially counter-productive since those kinds of grand gestures rarely send the message they're intended to send.
Carrying the stick is power projection. USING the stick means speaking softly didn't work, pointing out the stick didn't work, now you have to fight.

]The military's job is not to "make a point." The military's job is to defeat the enemy.
First, intimidate them enough to avoid having to fight, but if that doesn't work, then beat the holy hell out of them.

As you may have guessed from our earlier discussions, I have a basic philosophical aversion to mission creep, which is part of the reason I don't think Starfleet works as a "play it straight" space navy.
Mission creep always happens in a bureacracy.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
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It's the same school of thought that produced the phrase "shock and awe,"
It's also the same school of thought that produced the phrase "mutual assured destruction," which historically worked.
From our end, yes. The thing most people don't get is that the Russians never actually held to that philosophy and their interpretation was better explained as "If somebody tries to nuke you, nuke em right back!" Historically they had a much more cavalier attitude about nuclear war than their western counterparts, primarily because they assumed (possibly correctly) that a nuclear holocaust, as much as it would suck, would NOT actually be the end of the world and most of their war plans had to do with how they would recover -- and win -- after the exchange.
And yet, they never actually tested MAD.

The military's job is not to "make a point." The military's job is to defeat the enemy.
In part, but it's also the military's job to make potential enemies think (more than) twice before attacking.
If you're being threatened by the kind of people who aren't aware of the existence of submarines -- or the fact that you have a shitload of them, or the fact that your military can suddenly appear out of fucking nowhere without any warning whatsoever -- they are probably NOT the kinds of people who are smart enough to comprehend the strategic implications of aircraft carriers.
Oh, state actors do think about having carriers parked offshore - kind of why Taiwan is still Taiwan.

OTOH, if you have the kinds of enemies who don't give a shit about aircraft carriers (which we presently do) "make them think twice" isn't exactly a helpful strategy.
Subs are even less use against terrorists and other assymetrical warfare than carriers are.
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Old August 1 2013, 10:36 PM   #119
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

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That could work. Picard may be thinking that Starfleet is an organization that INCLUDES military personnel among its crews (again, as we saw them do with Colonel Kira) but that the military contingent of Starfleet (still the Goldshirts?) are not calling the shots.
I have to wonder how someone gets that high without realizing that his military rank and responsibility means he is, ipso facto, a military officer.
Which brings us back to the overall point: maybe he isn't?

don't think it was an actual merger. I think they're simply transferring people around from one service to another (and maybe back again) on a regular basis and the uniform colors reflect what service each one originally comes from. In the same sense each ship has its own separate insignia, each branch of the service -- civilian astronaut corps, science corps, military officer's corps -- would have their own colors.
What other services? UESPA was only mentioned ina few TOS eps, and nothing else really comes to mind in TNG.
Again, there's the Earth Cargo Service from the 22nd century and the Merchant Marine alluded to in "The Ultimate Computer" from which Geologist Carstairs was recruited. Scotty is implied to have worked on a cargo ship in Deneva before joining Starfleet. So those would be civilian space services who contribute members to Starfleet; this being TOS, it's doubtful that either of them attended (or needed to attend) Starfleet Academy.

Personally, I find it easier to just assume they're all Starfleet, and let it go at that. But remember in TOS gold shirts were command, so in your scheme, that's still putting the military in charge.
That puts military OFFICERS in charge. NASA remains a non-military organization even if its space shuttles are flown by air force officers and conduct classified DoD missions.

Eh, just more of the continuity issues with ENT/TOS. Kirk didn't have a holodeck, and this would indicate he should have. Much easier to assume ENT leads to nu-Trek, and not to TOS.
True, but then TOS also breaks the continuity from First Contact where Zephram Cochrane is said to have invented the space warp that everyone uses (which would explain why Earth is such a big deal on the galactic stage these days). It's never suggested that he was the guy whose warp drive experiments paved the way for first contact, which is arguably a more important contribution to history than his discovery of an engine system that everyone else in the galaxy already has.

Another point of contention for the TNG/TOS divorce lawyers.

Really? Nobody's gonna notice all the snowbirds going up in smoke and a canal where the retirement home used to be?
"This summer construction work is getting ridiculous."

Starfleet doesn't like to kidnap or assassinate; that's stepping on Section 31's toes.
My impression is that Section 31 is and has always been a faction within Starfleet.

Your philosophy, not mine. Nothing in canon demonstrates unequivocally that fighters are useless - in fact they did show that they existed they just never used them because it'd be hard to handle the special effects.
I think they're useless against STARSHIPS, to be sure, which would explain why we never see them used in that capacity except in desperation, and then only with crazy aggressive swarm tactics.

A 1- or 2-man fighter costs less, and causes less casualty if lost in combat than a Defiant or BoP.
But is also more likely TO be lost, since such a craft cannot stop and make repairs if it's damaged or malfunctions. Runabouts and special shuttles can, which takes out the fighter's advantage for recon; bird of preys with their cloaking devices and heavy weapons can and do carry out the precision strike missions and "sink the bismark!" type missions.

So the only role left for the Trek fighter, really, is close air support. Standard shuttles can do that too, but if that's ALL you need it to do you probably don't need space for passengers or cargo, nor do you really need a warp engine. If you're using the fighter/gunship to transport troops and equipment, on the other hand, then you've basically warp capable AC-130, which would explain where the Maquis got most of their ships.

Interesting question: assuming the Maquis didn't build them from scratch (I somehow doubt they did) from which branch of what Federation service did the Maquis get their spacecraft?
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Old August 2 2013, 04:08 PM   #120
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Re: Marines and Combat Personel?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
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That could work. Picard may be thinking that Starfleet is an organization that INCLUDES military personnel among its crews (again, as we saw them do with Colonel Kira) but that the military contingent of Starfleet (still the Goldshirts?) are not calling the shots.
I have to wonder how someone gets that high without realizing that his military rank and responsibility means he is, ipso facto, a military officer.
Which brings us back to the overall point: maybe he isn't?
I can't see that. With the level of weaponry and the authority he wields, the fact that his ship's presence in sovereign borders is an act of war, I can't see a government not wanting the leash of a military chain of command.

Again, there's the Earth Cargo Service from the 22nd century and the Merchant Marine alluded to in "The Ultimate Computer" from which Geologist Carstairs was recruited. Scotty is implied to have worked on a cargo ship in Deneva before joining Starfleet. So those would be civilian space services who contribute members to Starfleet; this being TOS, it's doubtful that either of them attended (or needed to attend) Starfleet Academy.
I don't know this ECS. Merchant Marine would make sense; today they have reserve rank, so calling them up is a quickie military familiarity course based on an abbreviated OCS.

That puts military OFFICERS in charge. NASA remains a non-military organization even if its space shuttles are flown by air force officers and conduct classified DoD missions.
A far cry from going to war or patrolling borders.

True, but then TOS also breaks the continuity from First Contact where Zephram Cochrane is said to have invented the space warp that everyone uses (which would explain why Earth is such a big deal on the galactic stage these days). It's never suggested that he was the guy whose warp drive experiments paved the way for first contact, which is arguably a more important contribution to history than his discovery of an engine system that everyone else in the galaxy already has.
That's kind of the other way around. TOS established that Cochrane, who was from Alpha Centauri, invented warp drive shortly after Terra made first contact with A Cent. FC retconned that. TOS' version enfolds the discovery and first contact; FC rewrites the whole story.

Another point of contention for the TNG/TOS divorce lawyers.
I suppose so, especially FC.

"This summer construction work is getting ridiculous."
Access blocked to that site.

My impression is that Section 31 is and has always been a faction within Starfleet.
My impression was that Section 31 was retconned in as a faction within the UFP government, with access to Starfleet, based on Section 31 of the founding charter of the UFP - kind of like a totally black Secret Service / FBI / CIA hybrid with links into DARPA, DOD, and other agencies. Our version might be called 2A, if someone construed in 1794 that the federal government needed it's own private militia off-the-books, for those times the politicians can't fix things and/or need plausible deniability. Over time it grew into this overall entity.

I think they're useless against STARSHIPS, to be sure, which would explain why we never see them used in that capacity except in desperation, and then only with crazy aggressive swarm tactics.
The Dominion weren't desperate; that scene was supposed to show that they were so superior that their fighters alone wiped out the Odyssey task force. The Maquis were supposed to be desperate, but they were based on the Parisian resistance. We really only saw fighters as what they should be when the Domninion had them, and then switched focus to larger but fewer small craft fighting, because that was easier and cheaper for special effects.

But is also more likely TO be lost, since such a craft cannot stop and make repairs if it's damaged or malfunctions. Runabouts and special shuttles can, which takes out the fighter's advantage for recon; bird of preys with their cloaking devices and heavy weapons can and do carry out the precision strike missions and "sink the bismark!" type missions.
The BoP was also referred to as a fighter in some materials in the late 80's/early 90's, but that doesn't jive with the usual concept. Runabouts and shuttles don't have much more self-repair capacity than a fighter craft.

So the only role left for the Trek fighter, really, is close air support. Standard shuttles can do that too, but if that's ALL you need it to do you probably don't need space for passengers or cargo, nor do you really need a warp engine. If you're using the fighter/gunship to transport troops and equipment, on the other hand, then you've basically warp capable AC-130, which would explain where the Maquis got most of their ships.
This isn't Traveller. Warp drive is potentially useful in combat, unlike hyperdrive, which is parasitic mass in a fight. If nothing else, the Picard Maneuver to generate a false image, using relativity, and dodging torpedoes by jumping to/from warp.

Interesting question: assuming the Maquis didn't build them from scratch (I somehow doubt they did) from which branch of what Federation service did the Maquis get their spacecraft?
IIRC, the DS9 TM said something about them being old Starfleet fightercraft.
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