Difference Between Earth Starfleet and the UESPA?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by LutherSloan, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have been trying to figure out the difference between the Earth Starfleet and the United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA), both of which were mentioned throughout 'Kobayashi Maru', and possibly other 'Enterprise'-era books.

    Anyone have a clarification?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Onscreen, there isn't a difference. In the fourth season of ENT, we saw a logo that said STARFLEET COMMAND - UNITED EARTH SPACE PROBE AGENCY:

    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Image:Starfleet_UESPA.jpg

    We also saw a UESPA logo by itself in the "Friendship One" probe in VGR and in the flashbacks in ENT: "First Flight." So maybe Starfleet was formed out of UESPA or merged with it. We know that the term UESPA continued to be in use throughout the 23rd century; Kirk mentioned it as the body he reported to in "Charlie X" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday," and its name appears on the Enterprise-B's dedication plaque.

    Perhaps UESPA continued to be used as a traditional name for the Earth Starfleet that grew out of it, or maybe Earth Starfleet was a subdivision of UESPA that eventually overtook the whole thing. And then when the Federation Starfleet was formed, the Earth branch of the combined service, which had formerly called itself Starfleet, went back to calling itself UESPA instead. Perhaps it and the Vulcan Space Command and the Andorian Guard and so forth continued to have some existence, at least in organizational terms, within Starfleet through the late 23rd century or so. But apparently the term had fallen out of use by the TNG era.
     
  3. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I find it interesting that in 'Kobayashi Maru', the captain of that vessel talks about his ship having trouble with meeting UESPA regulations, after Archer tells that captain that his ship does not meet a lot of their standards. I found it kind of odd that he said that, rather than Starfleet regulations. It made me think that Starfleet and the UESPA were somewhat different, with Starfleet in control of everything except cargo and transport vessels, which seemed to fall under the UESPA's jurisdiction. Maybe both of them still existed separately as of 2156?
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I would presume that the United Earth Starfleet is a division of the United Earth Space Probe Agency, in the same sense that the United States Marine Corps is a division of the United States Department of the Navy.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I thought I remembered there being a reference somewhere to the Federation members still having their own planetary fleets that focused solely on defending their own world. I could very well be mistaken though, that does happen to me alot.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That makes sense. So UESPA is the branch of the government that oversees it and Starfleet is the organization itself?
     
  7. Osquevel

    Osquevel Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Agreed, at least as far as Earth Starfleet. The idea doesn't seem to hold up though once the Federation comes into play. Why wouldn't Kirk say that he reported to the Federation and use the old Earth Starfleet's overseeing body? Unless UESPA was molded into the federation (which sounds logical, except why would it keep its pre-federation name?)
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, the Enterprise had a mostly Earth-human crew, so maybe Starfleet was divided into different fleets under different planetary governments' administrations. The Starfleet we saw in TOS seemed very Earth-centric; maybe there were other subfleets that were Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, etc. The Intrepid could've been under the supervision of the Vulcan branch of Starfleet, for instance.
     
  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    My guess is that UESPA is the organization that oversaw all of Earth's space related ventures. It included the UE Starfleet (exploration and defense), the Earth Cargo Service (commerce), what ever organization controlled Colonial operations and anything else space related.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That was always my inference, yeah -- a bit like if the US government was to established a "United States Space Force" and place it under the jurisdiction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I figure UESPA isn't an executive department, but rather an independent executive agency such as NASA or the Central Intelligence Agency.

    But of course that's just my interpretation of the UES/UESPA seal in "Demons," and others could be perfectly valid.

    That theory goes a long way towards explaining why the Federation Starfleet would seem so species-specific during the TOS era, and also gives us some retroactive justifications for Kirk's referring to the Enterprise as a United Earth ship and as being under UESPA command during TOS episodes produced before they came up with the idea of the Federation and the Federation Starfleet.

    Having said that, my inclination was always just to pretend that when Kirk called the Enterprise a United Earth Ship, he was actually saying "Federation starship," and that when he referred to UESPA, he actually said, "Starfleet." But it's all good. :)
     
  11. Osquevel

    Osquevel Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    From which one might draw the conclusion that, at least by the time of ST:TMP, Federation or Starfleet officials had begun to encourage more integration, a trend which continued into the 24th century; though it might be fair to say that the trend of having species-dominated vessels was a case of "old habits die hard" with many ships on-screen still having a predominantly human crew, or the all-Vulcan ship seen in "Take Me Out To The Holosuite" (DS9).

    Taking another approach to that, I can imagine myself being an Andorian in the mid-to-late 22nd century, finding myself part of this new Coalition/Federation and thinking "OK: fighting along side Vulcans I can do, but serving alongside them... no way!" I can see this trend disappearing over time, but it sounds reasonable to assume that even a century after the formation of the Federation, that it would still be "more comfortable" for individuals to serve with their own kind, but as time progresses, the barriers continue to break down and multi-species crews become increasingly common, and even encouraged (<cough>Titan</cough>).
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Who knows? Maybe when Kirk said there were "only twelve [starships] like it in the fleet," he was referring to the Earth fleet, which was anchored by the Constitution-class starships. Maybe there were other fleets with different classes of ship. Since we never saw the Intrepid, maybe it was a Vulcan ringship, one of the capital ships of the Vulcan branch of Starfleet.
     
  13. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think I like Christopher's take on it. And Osquevel's. It makes the most sense.
     
  14. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not sure. From TOS onward, we no longer see any indication that the Vulcans, Tellarites, and Andorians had their own fleets, at least non-Earth style vessels. We know that the Vulcans had transport craft, but it generally doesn't seem to make much sense that each of these worlds would continue to build their own ships after the founding of the Federation. It makes more sense to have one singular Starfleet charged with exploration and defense of the various member worlds/systems.

    Although it begs the question why, even though Vulcan ships were more advanced and powerful at the time of the Federation's founding (based on ENT), their ships weren't the basis for the Federation Starfleet. The only answer I can come up with is the hostility between the Vulcans and Andorians, who would both rather work with humans than each other.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Somehow, I find it very, very hard that Earth's local space military could ever have accepted the name "UE Space Probe Agency". Militaries do not accept wussy, sissy, completely nonmilitary and nonpatriotic names like that. They just don't.

    It is much easier for me to think that Starfleet would work together with a "peaceful" UE organization dedicated to space exploration, closely enough to warrant a joint seal, and that this peaceful organization would somewhat predate the space combat force because probes like Friendship 1 are probably much easier to execute in practical terms than credible space combat starships, early on in the history of starflight.

    Having Kirk work, at least part time, for a peaceful Earth-run space research organization sounds quite acceptable, OTOH. And this is something he'd be happy to declare to a fellow Earthling from the 1960s, as opposed to confessing to his day job as the minion of an interstellar and thus essentially foreign military.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    You had me right up until "unpatriotic." Okay, I'm lying, you didn't have me at all, but I can see the argument for wussy, sissy, and completely nonmilitary, but how exactly is UESPA -- the first words of which are the name of the nation to which it belongs, to wit, United Earth -- nonpatriotic?????
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Presumably in the same sense that the "National" in "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" is unpatriotic....?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't see how that makes sense, because the Federation is just that, a confederation of sovereign nations cooperating for mutual benefit and defense. It's not the United States writ large. It's more like the European Union (though not exactly, just relatively). If they still consider themselves sovereign nations, it stands to reason that they'd want to be responsible for their own defense and transportation capabilities as well as cooperating in mutual defense.

    And we do have evidence of one all-Vulcan starship, the Intrepid. Fans have assumed for decades that it was one of the Constitution-class fleet, and there's behind-the-scenes material reinforcing that assumption, but the bottom line is, we never actually saw the ship. It could've been a Vulcan design. Also, there's the Vulcan-made shuttle and warp sled in TMP, although the shuttle portion conforms to familiar Starfleet designs.

    I think there was some indication of Vulcan having its own capital ships in "Unification" or "Gambit" or some such episode. Once at a Trek museum exhibit, I saw a Rick Sternbach design drawing for a TNG-era Vulcan starship, something that had familiar Starfleet technology elements but a more Vulcan design overall. It was designed for one of those episodes, I think, but ultimately not shown.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Erm.... No. If it was, it would be called the "United Confederation of Planets." That it is called the "Federation" means it is exactly that -- a federal state.

    The UFP displays all of the traits of a state, to boot. It has its own territory; it has a legislature capable of making Federation-wide law (eg, the Warp 5 speed limit from "Force of Nature"); it controls foreign policy towards non-Federation polities; it has a well-defined bureaucracy that's quite extensive; it holds a legal monopoly on the use of violence; its government is capable of instituting martial law on Member States' territory without needing to consult that Member State; it has its own military.

    The United Federation of Planets is rather plainly a sovereign state in the same way that Canada or the United States or the Commonwealth of Australia are.

    Hmmm. Gonna have to disagree with you on that. The EU hasn't really taken its final form -- Europe's still going back and forth on EU statehood. But while the Federation's Member States may have more autonomy than US states, it's pretty clear that the Federation is a federal state in its own right, just like the US or Canada or Australia.

    All this to say nothing of the fact that the Federation has rather explicitly been described as a nation in its own right in novels like Articles of the Federation.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Ben Sisko said onscreen in "Battle Lines" that the Federation is "made up of over a hundred planets who have allied themselves for mutual scientific, cultural and defensive benefits." It is a federal republic -- I didn't mean to imply otherwise -- but it's one where the individual worlds are still largely autonomous.

    After all, we're talking about whole planets, each one of which would have billions of citizens, thousands of regional and cultural subdivisions, etc. Look at how difficult it is to govern even one large country on the surface of a single planet. Imagine how much harder it would be to do that for an entire planet. Now imagine how exponentially harder it would be to do that for a hundred and fifty planets at once, especially when they're separated by vast distances in space and whose populations belong to whole different species with different values and priorities.

    Trying to regulate all that with a single, monolithic government would be like herding cats. It's totally beyond the realm of practicality. The only way a system like that can work at all is if the individual worlds take the bulk of the responsibility for their own governance, economy, and internal affairs, with the federal government limiting itself to matters of mutual concern such as interstellar trade and diplomacy, overall defense, and so forth. Maybe a better analogy would be the US under the Articles of Confederation -- a federal union, but a loose one in which the states retain much autonomy. Nothing more is practical on an interstellar scale.