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Old October 3 2013, 11:27 PM   #31
Nob Akimoto
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

I'm probably going to change that when I get to editing this section again, but 902.3 would have (chronologically) been issued during the later part of the Landau Admiralty. Now there is some precedent for even conservative minded administrations to build enormous ships (HMS Forte of 1804), but I may have it that Directive 902 was the initial order, and 902.3 was a revision that allowed for the hugeness of the Galaxy.
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Old October 4 2013, 05:13 PM   #32
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Cool. I like that notion.

Do you have any feelings as to why later administrations didn't turn back to Ambassador? Was it simply that by the time they would be able to consider it, the Galaxy would be almost fully designed, so it makes more sense to wait for those?
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Old October 4 2013, 06:43 PM   #33
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

From the way I have the timeline going, Ambassador production basically stalls out at the end of 2340, with Laundu and co. basically scuttling the programme. By the time Mehdi takes over in 2345, production's been paused for 5 years, and he's got the huge mess of ships piling up in dockyards and surplus depots to deal with.

Given that Starfleet dockyards (as opposed to civilian yards) are the ones used for refitting/modernization, having that huge backlog precluded starting new hulls in the only yards that could build Ambassador class ships. Basically it made more sense from a fleet strength pov to build/fit out new Excelsiors and Mirandas en masse in civilian yards while the precious Starfleet yards focused on keeping up with refits and modernizations of ships deemed too important to retire. That plus the fact that the first generation of Ambassador-class ships would be coming in for refits/rebuilds (pretty extensive ones if the changes between Enterprise and Yamaguchi are any indication), the facilities weren't there until well into the early 2350s. At that point Nebula production was only a couple years off and Galaxy would be ready in less than 5 years anyway, so there wasn't any real point in tying up the dockyard slips with building new Ambassador-class ships.
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Old October 4 2013, 11:54 PM   #34
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

It's late yet, but it's occurred to me that the development and proliferation of small warp-capable support craft like the runabouts would make sense if it coincided with the Ambassador class rollout. That would explain the appearance of starships with the saucer-mounted shuttlebay behind the bridge: that "main shuttlebay" could very well be designed SPECIFICALLY for those larger runabout types and leave the short-range craft to use the smaller bays further below decks.
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Old October 5 2013, 12:36 AM   #35
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

One of the assumptions was that proliferation of small "starship" qualified warp capable craft (as opposed to smallcraft) was that ships were finally large enough to actually carry a fair number of them, the growing size of Starbase facilities, and the fact that shipboard industrial replicators might allow starships to modify/customize them to their own satisfaction.

We know that Sisko referred to runabouts as "starships" at several points. So maybe they can in fact go at at least warp 5 (old scale) and have dilithium reactors. I'm partly basing that by the by, on the fact that NX-01 being a warp 5 ship and being a "starship" seemed to be a big deal.

Perhaps dilithium reactors went out of style for a while after NX-01 and were only revived around the time of TOS.
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Old October 6 2013, 03:23 AM   #36
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
One of the assumptions was that proliferation of small "starship" qualified warp capable craft (as opposed to smallcraft) was that ships were finally large enough to actually carry a fair number of them, the growing size of Starbase facilities, and the fact that shipboard industrial replicators might allow starships to modify/customize them to their own satisfaction.
Delta Flyer et al

We know that Sisko referred to runabouts as "starships" at several points. So maybe they can in fact go at at least warp 5 (old scale) and have dilithium reactors. I'm partly basing that by the by, on the fact that NX-01 being a warp 5 ship and being a "starship" seemed to be a big deal.
AFAIK, Sisko only referred to them as "vessels" although I initially thought the same thing until recently. I'm agree that the use of Yachts/runabouts/Aerowings on exploration vessels is both the combination of compact warp drives becoming more feasible and a starship's greater ability to support one. OTOH, part of me thinks that similar types of vessels must have existed before they were attached to starships; the Vulcan shuttles of the 22nd century seem quite a bit bigger and more capable than anything Earth Starfleet had, as was the survey ship from "Carbon Creek." There's also Goroth's shuttlepod in "Bounty" which appears to be equipped with a photon torpedo launcher and a tractor beam. I think the CONCEPT of such vessels was always around, but it wasn't until recently that anyone thought to attach them to starships on a regular basis.

Perhaps dilithium reactors went out of style for a while after NX-01 and were only revived around the time of TOS.
What makes you think dilithium even went out of style?
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Old October 6 2013, 05:34 AM   #37
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Yeah, the Delta Flyer and the whole infinite shuttles on Voyager (not to mention the silly need for all shuttlecraft to look like their mothership, ranging from the Chaffee on Defiant to Picard's in Insurrection made me wonder how the actual logistics actually works)

On the runabouts, I did go back and check the transcript. You're right, it does simply say "runabout class vessels" which makes me think he meant "runabout class" as in being a size class, rather than the ship class name like people assume that dialogue to mean.

It does seem like moderately sized ships aren't super rare, but I'm also curious if they were actually as capable as they're made out to be or as small. Goroth's ship is actually decently big compared to an Archer sized escape pod...say about ~35-50m in length and substantially beamier than a 24th century runabout, and certainly large enough to have a payload volume in the ~1500 m range.

The Captain's Yachts are all around that size, which means maybe they weren't rare even in Starfleet use as executive transports of one sort or another.

What seems to be the difference with something like a Danube is that they're in a size range that's right in between those 1500 m range light vessels and the much smaller sub-100 m auxiliaries, which make them roughly analogous to advice boats, pilot boats and similar craft which were bigger than ship's boats but smaller than say a cutter or schooner. Except what's interesting is that these sub-1000m designs are capable of being used in ways that the previous 1500m designs used to fill. It's a good combination of the mother craft increasing in size and the vessels increasing in capability vs. volume.

Could you give me your thoughts on the classification scheme itself? Tried to go with as much a combination of payload types and endurance as much as anything else. Some of the classifications were required out of dialogue. For example TNG's Conspiracy established there were still heavy cruisers and frigates.
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Old October 8 2013, 04:42 AM   #38
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
Could you give me your thoughts on the classification scheme itself? Tried to go with as much a combination of payload types and endurance as much as anything else. Some of the classifications were required out of dialogue. For example TNG's Conspiracy established there were still heavy cruisers and frigates.
My impression is that the system works, but again seems to fall into the trap of classifying by size. The mission payloads of different craft will tend to determine size a lot more than the reverse, and this should be reflected by what the ship is meant to do.

The Intrepid class, for example, could fit various definitions depending on what the ship actually has aboard it; it could just as easily be a cruiser, a frigate, an explorer or a surveyor. There's a bit of an arbitrary cutoff there that seems to assume something about a size difference between two ships that might otherwise have the exact same payload.

So I'm thinking the classification should go a bit more "under the hood" as such. The "scout" class, for example, would be a vessel that carries powerful sensors as well as probes and/or shuttles but doesn't carry a lot of laboratory equipment or analytical hardware; it's more about gathering information than processing it. Likewise, it's tempting to think of cruisers as being "multirole" platforms, but this is not necessarily the case; it could very well be that "cruiser" tends to be a ship with a large deflector dish and enough fabrication equipment to replace its food and/or equipment in the field. Frigates would differ from cruisers in that they lack the big deflector dish and the fabrication equipment and instead pile on the firepower.

In the end, it's going to come down to trying to examine some of the nuances in how Starfleet technology actually works, and that will require some educated guesses (mainly because Star Trek is wildly inconsistent in this regard). I volunteer the possibility that a starship's "main deflector dish", in addition to functioning as a gigantic sonic screwdriver (e.g. a device that can do just about anything if you need it to) is probably indispensible for long-range subspace communications and scanning. A ship that lacks such a dish (or is in a position where it cannot use it for some reason) would have a time delay of several days or weeks between transmission and receipt of his message; those same ships would have very limited FTL sensing ability and would have to move much closer to an object to scan them at all. The big dish makes a lot of things on the ship possible, but it is also probably the most expensive component on the entire ship, which would explain why not all starships even have them and only very special ones have a small "secondary" dish to back it up.
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Old October 8 2013, 09:00 PM   #39
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

I guess I was a bit unclear that size in itself doesn't have any bearing on the classification. It's simply the combination of payload that defines a classification. That combination of payload naturally includes things like supplies and fuel hence the inclusion of mission endurance in the classifications.

An Intrepid could easily be configured as a frigate rather than a light explorer by swapping out her enhanced sensor suite for a standard one and upgrading her weapons capabilities at the expense of mission endurance.
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Old October 8 2013, 10:32 PM   #40
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Another side bar...

Evolution or Revolution? Advances in Smallcraft in the 24th Century
The retirement of the final batch of Khitomer era through-deck cruisers and shuttle carriers in the early 2310s seemed to mark the end of widespread smallcraft use as a way to expand on limited capabilities. Tactical craft had long been relegated to support combatants, serving in transatmospheric and ground support roles unsuited for modern starships, while the scientific shuttlecraft had fallen behind as it could neither match the processing capabilities of a starship or the propulsive speed, endurance, and economy of a probe. In fact with the advent of small warp sustainer equipped high-speed courier probes in the 2330s, it appeared probes would even replace shuttles in certain transport roles. A converted Class IX "coffin" probes could be used to transport individuals in stasis at extremely high warp factors.

Extensive proliferation of isolinear technology, an emphasis on multi-role capability, improving crew accomodations, and SIF-trussed frame designs all pushed the size of Starfleet's sizes higher. The minimal size-class for active service was fixed at around 75,000 m, a ten fold increase from the cutters and scouts of the previous century. By 2330 Starfleet's major theoretical engineering teams had been pulled off sub-75,000 m ship development and smallcraft design was farmed out to civilian firms.

Despite Starfleet's abandonment of the size-class, there remained strong demand for smaller ships within the Federation. Potential uses ranging from the Revenue Service to high-value material courier services meant substantial pressure for engineers to pick up the torch and run with it as quickly as resources and science could take them. Abandoning anti-matter fuel cells, large-scale battery storage, and high-density fusion as insufficient, Yoyodyne, and Shuvinaaljis partnered with a number of small, cutting edge engineering firms to create small warp core packages without sacrificing energy density.

The first to bring a design to market was Yoyodyne with it's Light Antimatter Dilithium Reactor series. Known by its popular nickname "Ladder" ("Ladder to the stars"), the series could manage a sustained reaction from a core design with a chamber size of half a cubic meter and an injection assembly less than 20 m in height. Early efficiency returns were less than ideal, with a power conversion rate of only 72% compared to Yoyodyne's own high-density fusion cores in the high 80s-90s, but this was vastly outweighed by the greater energy density and lighter construction. Though still much too large to power a shuttle or auxiliary sized fighter, it found a following in powering 3,000 - 10,000 m designs marketted as "clippers". The LADR-22 model is also known for being the design used by Cardassian engineers as a base for the up-scaled reactor designs in Galor class cruisers.

Initially lagging behind Yoyodyne, Shuvinaaljis released the Compact Reactor Assembly Block as part of a new effort to introduce Starfleet's trussed frame modular interior system into civilian use. The higher efficiency inherent in the CRAB design was cancelled by the bulk needed to create a modular power assembly with sales and adoption never reaching volumes hoped for by shareholders. It was also tricky to disassemble and maintain without a Shuvinaaljis provided facility. Bulk sales bundled with discounted hull configurations for the rest of the "shell fish" system ecosystem made sure Shuvinaaljis remained a competitor in this field, but by 2350 it was quite clear the two designs had bifurcated between rugged frontier and high-performance interior categories.

Starfleet interest in both types of engines remained luke warm. A small number were tried on tenders assigned to the large Ambassador-class. Classified as a Pinnace, these smallcraft were capable, but finnicky. Lacking component commonality with the rest of the ship's complement of smallcraft widespread use of pinnaces remained confined to Ambassador-class explorers, planetary outposts and starbases. The design's most important contribution came from component design and engineering that later found their way into integrated auxiliaries like the Captain's Yachts of later model explorers.

Shuvinaaljis's unveling of the the first ultra compact anti-matter reactor system during the 2350 Tellar Trade Show signalled a shift in the balance between large and small starship designs. The ultra compact reactors measured less than 20 m in volume and could be installed in a variety of configurations. More importantly unlike the previous generation of small warp reactors the UCR did not have many non-replicatable components. All of the maintenance and upkeep of an UCR equipped craft could be conducted by a facility equipped with an industrial replicator and standard smallcraft maintenance tools.

The first applications of the UCR were civilian. Chiokis partnered with Ardep to produce a substantially miniaturized version of the Ju'day/Condor-class scout. The Merlin-class contained a UCR with a mission endurance of one month, and allowed a sustained cruising speed of Warp 6. Combined with a relatively spacious cockpit and acceptable berth deck, the design gained quick popularity with customs agencies and colonial defense forces.

A militarized version with a higher output reactor was purchased by Starfleet facilities near the Cardassian Border in the 2350s. The Osprey featured the same high-output UCR as the civilian version, but added a deflector shield generator first fielded in the Sabre-class, a pair of Type VII phaser cannon, and a micro-torpedo launcher. Though the shield generator was mounted singularly rather than in a network like on larger starships, the significantly smaller surface area covered by an Osprey's shields allowed decent combat performance. High density warp coils enabled a sustained velocity of Warp 7 and made the Osprey an effective patrol vessel when deployed in pairs from starbases.

When the border war with the Cardassians escalted in 2357, Starfleet fielded a smaller version of the Osprey with simplified construction and a Type-15 Shuttlepod cockpit named Kestrel. The initial version of the Kestrel was classified as an interceptor and was designed primarily to destroy Cardassian warhead drones and small attack ships of Hideki size and smaller. With dimensions comparable to a Type 7 Shuttlecraft, these interceptors found substantial use on both starbases and ships with large shuttle bays like Akira and Nebula class ships during the Border War.

An evolutionary design from the Kestrel was fielded in 2361 with a substantially improved reactor design and shield generator. Named Peregrine, this model was classified a tactical fighter and fully expected to engage full starships. Graviton density of the compact shield generator was comparable to those of Norway-class starships, providing ample protection. Two high-intensity Type VII phaser emitters, a single Type VIII Phaser cannon, and a pair of microtorpedo launchers served as its primary weapon complement. Upgrades and field modifications continued through the conflict on the Cardassian Border, with all models beyond the Mk.V receiving the upgraded Griffon powerplant/engine system capable of dash speeds of warp 9.

The Griffon powerplant also found use in Starfleet's runabout development program, becoming the core of the new Danube-class. Although the detuned version of the Griffon was only capable of sustaining Warp 5.5 on the Danube frame, it was capable of sustaining this velocity until fuel exhaustion. Maintenance was also improved on this model, with the Danube's mean time between core refurbishment at 15,000 hours compared to the Peregrine-VI's 2,500 hours.

The substantial improvement in the capabilities of smallcraft in Starfleet service vastly increased both starship and starbase reach. Runabouts found widespread deployment on explorers and starbase facilities, while tactical fighters were deployed in large numbers during the Dominion War. Tens of thousands of these vessels are now in use throughout Federation space as new designs and field modifications lead to a growing database of potential configurations.

Strength By Type (Estimated)
  • Runabouts: 45,000
  • Scouts: 1,000
  • Tactical Fighters: 12,750

Last edited by Nob Akimoto; October 9 2013 at 04:51 AM.
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Old October 9 2013, 03:47 AM   #41
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

I like it. Further, I really think you've made the case for fusion-based warp and made it seem very plausible.
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Old October 9 2013, 04:50 AM   #42
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Fusion, particularly as it's described in ST is very safe, pretty energy dense and gives you nice cheap fuel. The only real limitation appears to be size. You need a LOT of fusion generators to match the peak output of a warp core. (Sustained output for the E-D's fusion generators are probably about 240TW, which compares rather favorably for most estimates of its warp core output in the ~1100 TW/year for 3 years range)

(This will go into detail later but...) I wager that the main thing that requires m/am warp cores is crossing peak transitional thresholds for higher warp factors. Which means that the brief high peak output of an anti-matter reaction cores are more useful for ships that required going into higher warp realms like proper starships.

Everyone else (especially at lower tonnage) is probably happy with something that can sustain warp 6ish until the heat death of the universe, assuming you have enough deuterium.

Also in the episode "The Jem'hadar", it's actually interesting how well the runabouts held up in combat against the bug ships. The trio of DS9 runabouts seemed able to distract at least one of the bug ships. Ultimately it didn't save Odyssey, but given the massive pounding the much much larger ship got, it's still impressive nonetheless that all 3 of them survived without any crippling damage. Which suggests relatively good protection, maneuverability and all around performance even if their overall output isn't all that impressive.
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Old October 9 2013, 08:02 PM   #43
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Hm, pretty innovative thinking there. I do agree. Looking forward to future updates.
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Old October 10 2013, 01:31 AM   #44
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Here we go again...

From Golden Age to Looming Threats
The decade starting in 2361 appeared to hold infinite promise for Starfleet. Shakedown of the prototype USS Galaxy was proceding smoothly despite the Manraloth incident. Her five sisters Yamato, Enterprise, Odyssey, Challenger, and Venture were on schedule for commissioning by 2365. Other Galaxy-class spinoffs had completed their initial tours of duty with glowing reviews. Starfleet capabilities along its turbulent Alpha Quadrant border were such that there seemed to be two Starfleets at once: one dedicated to charting new frontiers and another defending the Federation's territory.

The politics that had so thoroughly influenced Starfleet procurement policy in the 40s and 50s remained in the background. A succession of single-term presidential administrations more focused on various disputes between member worlds were happy to follow the T'Pragh Administration's 2355 Decennial Plan calling for a starship ready cadre of 1.5 million personnel by the end of 2365. Stability within the upper echelons of Starfleet ensured the continuation of the 2350s trends of modernization, diversification, and expansion. Still, some think tanks such as the Andorian Strategic Engagement Institute (ASEI), the Foundation for Federation Defense, and the Brookings Interstellar Institute raised concerns that Starfleet's tactical posture lagged behind its expanding fleet capability.

A succession of crises in the early 2360s seemed to reinforce this gloomy view. The Romulan Star Empire came out of its isolation in 2364, revealing their massive D'Deridex class Warbird. An alien conspiracy within Starfleet Command, the rising concern of the stability of the Thallonian Empire, and rising instability in the Klingon Empire added to a steady stream of problems piling up on the Long-Term Threat Assessment Division's docket.

The final and most spectacular blow to Starfleet complacency came in 2365 when the Enterprise made first contact with the Borg. Demonstrating contemptuous ease in dealing with the most powerful starship in the Federation arsenal, Starfleet Command ordered the implementation of several contingency plans originally established in case of renewed Beta Quadrant instability.

Orders for starships at civilian dockyards was accelerated, while fleet deployment size was augmented by putting off modernization refits for several ship classes. Recruiting gained pace with doubling of Academy officer training cohorts and the opening of additional satellite Starfleet training facilities outside of the original Starfleet core worlds. Starfleet Command authorized ASDB to accelerate design studies of next generation starships into full fledged construction and prototype projects.

The Federation also tried to bring its extensive Alpha Quadrant border conflicts to an end. Starfleet participated in this process by stripping its core world fleets of non-explorer modern designs and reassigning most of its advanced fleet strength to its borders. Substantial demonstrations of strength were coupled with well-timed concessions bringing the Tzenkethi War to an end in 2365 and the Cardassian War to a settlement in 2368. Federation President Amitra set her entire presidential term with the goal of bringing Federation's border conflicts to an end, choosing several politically unpalatable decisions such as the creation of the Cardassian Demilitarized Zone.

The border control emphasis happened to rob Starfleet of most of its frontline starships during the Borg Incursion of 2366. Admiral J.P. Hanson's hastily assembled task force at Wolf 359 featured an ecclectic mix of ships both new and old. The loss of 39 ships, roughly half of them facing retirement within several years, was less of a set back than the loss of 11,000 trained personnel. As a result Starfleet's deployment patterns and ship commissioning schedule fell largely behind schedule compared to the original timeline set in the 2365 decennial plan. Historical opinions are mixed about this outcome. While revisionists criticize the Amitra Administration for failing to recall more of Starfleet's assets after 2365, most modern historians acknowledge that given the performance of even cutting edge ships like Bellerophon, Starfleet might have suffered greater casualties in materiel and personnel.

After the Borg Incursion, the Federation Council and Starfleet Command were at loggerheads on how to proceed. Led by Fleet Admiral Taela Shanthi came into conflict with members of the Federation Council led by Councillor Jaresh-Inyo on the level of resources required by the fleet. Though given backing by Amitra, the President's fading popularity in the face of the Federation's near brush with assimilation and numerous border concessions to the Cardassians and Tzenkethi made it difficult for Shanthi to sustain the 2365 escalation plan. This was particularly clear in the Council's reluctance to continue expanding Starfleet's training programs. New satellite campuses for the officer training program were rejected, and the effort to recruit Merchant Marine crew as reservists was curtailed by request of the Commerce Committee.

Despite these difficulties, Starfleet continued to modernize and expand its fleet. The disconnect between its ship procurement and personnel policies were brought to the fore on several embarassing occasions, the most significant being the Klingon Civil War of 2368. When the Federation Council authorized the use of force to prevent Romulan border incursions into Klingon Territory, Starfleet found that it didn't have enough qualified officers to lead the Task Force. Ships were available in abundance at Starbase 234, idled or undergoing final fitting lacking but sufficient crew to operate. Unorthodox personnel shuffling was conducted by task force commodore Jean-Luc Picard allowing the blockade to proceed and sparing Starfleet public embarrassment and saving Chancellor Gowron's government.

The 2368 election showed the doves in ascendance when Jaresh-Inyo won the popular vote with a five-point margin. Taela Shanthi was replaced as commander in chief of Starfleet with Vice Admiral Ruah Brackett and Starfleet's mobilization plans further scaled back. The decision would have profound implications as the turbulent 2370s approached.
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Old October 10 2013, 02:06 AM   #45
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Re: Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

Alright, sorry about this, but I have some nitpicks.

Why did T'Pragh serve 4 terms as the UFP President? If 3 terms were considered unprecedented?

Also the end years of the wars seem strange, as the Tzenkethi War ended before '64 and the Cardassian one had the ceasefire in '66 and a peace treaty in '70?
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