Starfleet Academy, take two

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Penta, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. SpyOne

    SpyOne Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe Bashir was a graduate of Starfleet Medical, actually. However, I believe it was never specifically mentioned where Doctor Crusher learned to be a Doctor, or whether she attended the Academy at all.
    (EDIT: found it in the Encyclopedia: Bashir was second in his class at Starfleet Medical, Elizabeth Lense (now of the SCE books) was valedictorian.)

    Yes, Starfleet seems to be very willing to recruit people who already have a degree in their field (at least if that field is Medicine or Psychology, not sure there is canon evidence of others), but they apparently also maintain a medical school for Academy graduates who want a degree in medicine.
     
  2. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    My gut instinct is that SFA is generally for the younger applicants, with older second-career applicants proceeding through a sort of direct commission/OCS program. The reality in fields like medicine, science, etc is that knowledge quickly becomes obsolete. This is a problem in all professions, yes, but is especially acute in the "self-regulating" professions (medicine, law, etc) where if you're out of practice for 4 years, your licensure can easily lapse.

    Nevermind the fact that you want a direct commission program for long-lived species who may not have physical vigor but have a ton of experience, and might consider Starfleet as a second career, also.
     
  3. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    So far as the role of officers:

    It depends on their branch. In most branches, officers in Starfleeet are likely to be generalists, compared to enlisted technicians. The exceptions come in what are traditioonally exceptions today - fields like law or medicine, where practitioners are officers as a matter of course. In short, T'Girl, I doubt that'll change too much.
     
  4. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

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    Exploration vessels that go out in the unknown - yup, those would definitely be reduced in number. But small science vessels for long-term detailed studies of phenomenon in 'safe' space, inside UFP territory, those I could still see as being numerous. Considering how lightly they are probably armed, I don't think many were used (and destroyed) in front-line combat during the war.

    But shuttlecraft aren't equivalent to today's cars (flying cars are :)), they're more like helicopters or boats. And you do need specialized training to use those.

    Well, that's sort of why in today's militaries you have OCS and direct comissioning (in fact IIRC, British military academies aren't even academies in the sense of US service academies but are more like OCS). Both could be organized as a sort of Academy 'lite'.
     
  5. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    Neozeks:

    Re the science vessels - Yes, but isn't SF described as having something of a personnel shortage post-war?

    T'Girl:

    So far as the Academy goes: I definitely see the 4-year institution being limited to younger applicants. Why is as much a matter of mental formation as it is anything chronological or physical. People coming at SF as a second career will have a lot different outlook, be less malleable, than those coming at SF as their first career. For its future leaders, I have no doubt that SF has an interest (as any organization does) in getting them as young as possible, so as to mold their mental outlooks to a military habit of thinking.

    Neozeks:

    You're right re the British - Sandhurst is 44-weeks and designed for university graduates. However much the model is inapplicable to SFA (Which has been defined canonically as a 4-year institution), it is one I could see Starfleet borrowing for direct-commissioning programs.
     
  6. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    Killing time after class, so figured I'd sit down and babble on about some of the stuff brought up since I posted the last document-piece.

    Security Screenings

    I was semi-amused by something re the Advanced Combat Training Program I proposed - maybe it was the clumsy way I wrote it up, but nobody really questioned the program itself (which, to clarify, is meant to produce "all-environments" combat leaders, basically to identify masters at tactics and strategy at an early point in their career and to give them extra training. It is probably only at the San Francisco campus, too). The security screening got pointed questions from Pavonis, so I figured I'd explain my thought process:

    In my mind, in the "pre-tests" before the entrance exam, everybody applying to SFA goes through a security screening by Starfleet Intelligence - this is a basic sort of thing, similar to the Confidential security clearance level in US parlance IRL, and requires the same things (biometrics checks, agency checks (Federation-wide and local agencies), and credit checks) as the NACLC requires IRL. It's required for entry into Starfleet, whether as officer or enlisted, though for officers the check probably goes farther back in time.

    On the other hand, some classes (Advanced Starship Tactics comes to mind fastest) would require the equivalent of a Secret clearance - not so much because it's intended you'll be exposed to classified information in the course or while doing research or whatnot, but because you might be unintentionally exposed. Same checks as the pre-entry checks, but they're done all over again instead of working off the info from one's application period. Might include interviews with associates, though, as well, depending on how paranoid Starfleet Intelligence feels.

    The ACTP (which, as I mentioned, probably only exists at San Francisco) probably requires the equivalent of a Top Secret clearance - with just as deep a security screening required. Interviews are mandatory, and the look-back period is something like 10 years IRL. Chances are, by the 24th century, they take a DNA sample as well.

    Age range

    T'Girl mentions how Starfleet might not restrict itself to younger ages - on the contrary, I think that the older you are, the less likely you are to be accepted to Starfleet Academy, or at least the 4-year program. Direct commissioning or an OCS program is far more likely. Why? Because with the 4 year program (this is especially true for those assigned to San Francisco), Starfleet isn't just looking for officers, it's looking for leaders among officers. Not just future Ensigns, but future Captains and Admirals, who are just-about-always in their first career. 99% of cadets won't turn out to be that! But when Starfleet can identify them early, it helps.

    Why restrict it to the young then? Physical vigor is one thing, but mental...Malleability is another. The younger you are, the more likely they can shape your thoughts, attitudes, and habits to those Starfleet requires. (The old maxim attributed apocryphally to the Jesuits comes to mind, which I perhaps am quoting inaccurately: "Give me a boy for seven years and I shall give you whatever sort of man you may desire.") Because at the end of the day, a good bit of the Academy experience is designed to indoctrinate those undergoing it - whether with habits of action, habits of thought, or values - according to Starfleet's requirements. Indoctrination works a lot better on the young than the old.
     
  7. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    I definitely agree that there's probably some kind of direct commissioning and OCS equivalents, particularly for those with professional degrees. There's just too many useful people you might miss otherwise. I could see some of them getting the equivalent of a warrant officer rank instead of a full officer, though. I imagine that Starfleet might also have a strong tradition of promoting mustangs from the enlisted ranks. They seem more flexible about what their NCOs can do - just look at O'Brien - and since they're already Starfleet a lot of the indoctrination stuff is less important. Further along those lines, Starfleet probably has an excellent distance education program, both to keep the crews up to date and so people can get additional degrees or whatnot. I bet holodecks are big boon to that.

    I'm thinking that there has to be an ROTC equivalent as well. You talk a lot about how one of the main points of the SFA curriculum is indoctrination. Well, one of the major benefits of ROTC is that it gets people from very different backgrounds and experiences into the officer corps. There's a lot of criticism for the service academies for promoting groupthink and acting more like a "good old boys" club that ends up benefiting insiders regardless of relative merit. It also promotes an unhealthy degree of egotism due to their "elite" status. (In fact, some people argue that the academies, although not the secondary professional schools, should be abolished entirely for those and financial reasons.) I think Starfleet would want some outside perspectives in their ranks. This might be especially true during and after the war, particularly if a lot of people got inducted without the full academy experience and then proved to be just as good, as has happened a lot in our current wars.
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think we've even remotely seen a warrant officer in Star Trek, however the non officer ranks have always been murky.

    If the member worlds still maintain fleets, there would be the ability to transfer from the smaller fleets into the big Federation fleet. They could take a abbreviated academy curriculum, graduating in half the time. Or some form of Officers Training School. A member world Captain might take a demotion to Lt. Commander, but depending upon her experiance could rise faster to Captain than a academy graduate with the same rank but less command experience.

    A seasoned NCO might gain a step in rank to "bait them across," depending on Starfleets needs at any given time.

    ----------------
    The current US Navy is 1/1000 of the US population.

    While I'm not going to suggest that Starfleet is anywhere close to that ratio, even after the Dominion War the Federation population could still be over 800 billion. Penta, your OP figure of thirty million personnel with twenty thousand ship might be, well small.

    150 members, member colonies, Federation colonies, orbital colonies, pre-contact protected worlds, mining worlds and asteroids.
    Present day Earth has 55,000 merchant ships of various types in service around the world. The inter-system and interstellar shipping traffic in the Federation could easily be ten million ships. All that civilian shipping will have to be cared for, especially outside the core systems, Starfleet performing coast guard like functions. Between the Borg attacks and the events of the Dominion War, Starfleet is going to have to begin patrolling it member systems, if the members don't already do this themselves. There is anti-smuggling and anti-piracy. Before and after the war, there is probably a dazzlingly large number of science and survey ships that come in after the big multi-role ships do their "scan and dash" missions. Small crews, but there are a lot of them. And there are starbases, space stations and outposts.

    Starfleet personnel doing incognito survey missions on pre-contact worlds, on a fifteenth century Earth like planet how many teams? Fifty plus all over the world with dozens of people in each team and a small ship in orbit for logistics, communication and transport. Multiply that by the number of worlds (thousands?) being investigated over the course of decades. Part of Starfleet's mission statement is "seek out new life and new civilizations."

    Starfleet's officer corp alone might be tens of millions.

    With SFA graduation goals being in the order of several hundred thousand per year. I came up with the idea in a post last fall that, by the 24th century, Starfleet academy might largely be the city of San Fransico. Regardless of the size of Starfleet, with death, medical reasons and retirement, (for ease, all officer entry is SFA) SFA must replace all losses each year and also account for any growth of Starfleet.

    The total number of "student-officers" coming down the pike at any one time might be in the order of two and a half million people. Half that number for the staff and support at SFA.
     
  9. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh, yes. Starfleet, I fully imagine has an amazing distance-education program. Probably with required continuing education for promotions and stuff.

    Re ROTC: We've gone back and forth and back and forth about it here. Not so much in this thread, but in others.

    If there is an ROTC program, it probably replaces the multiple-campuses idea for SFA. So much simpler and less resource-intensive.

    On the other hand, one wonders why we'd never heard about it, or about characters coming from it.

    I also agree heavily with (and really like from a story perspective) the idea of there being a good amount of mustangs in the officer corps. It just seems to fit.

    (I've heard all of the arguments about the service academies, going back to Charles Dunlap's "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012", and while the issue is worth debating, I am not sure they need repetition here. But your point about diversity of perspectives is well taken, and I wish I'd recalled that when I was arguing for a Starfleet ROTC.:))
     
  10. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    While the idea of SF basically taking over San Francisco would be fun to think about, it doesn't seem to mesh with canon too much - San Francisco certainly doesn't seem like a garrison town whenever we see it!

    The way I see it, a lot of the "coast guard" duties get handled by member-world fleets, with Starfleet only doing them when nobody else is available.

    One of the reasons why I favor a fleet that doesn't get too much into the tens of millions is because of a small point, repeated over and over again:

    The flag officers *all* know each other in Trek. And they seem to know all the captains. Suggesting there are not many of either.

    Beyond a few million personnel, there would have to be hundreds, possibly thousands, of flag officers. And that seems incompatible with the repeat thing that the flag officers all know each other, and a good many of the O-6 level officers, by sight and often on a first-name basis.

    It makes a good membership requirement for the UFP, too - you must be able to pull your own weight militarily - at least to be able to provide coast guard sorts of support for your own systems and a region of space beyond those, too.
     
  11. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

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    Nice idea. Given that member state fleets could often be expected to work alongside Starfleet or under it's command, I'd say much of the training would already be the same.

    I'm sure a lot of these teams (especially in 'safe' UFP space) are at least partially made of trained civilian scientists, with Starfleet providing support.

    I agree with this. There is probably a complex series of arangements between Starfleet and MS fleets and MS fleets themselves, defining areas of responsibility. In-system stuff would always fall to Member States (well, except if it's some 'newly-born' federal colony unable to field spaceships just yet). Stronger and larger Member States would also maintain larger ships for patrolling the trade routes between their homeworlds and colonies and the main trade routes between Member States. Starfleet would be only happy to let them do this, releasing it's ships for it's other missions.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think there's any particular reason to think that from the canon. Most episodes, frankly, are not about Earth or Earth-centric issues, so why would United Earth institutions come into play?

    For the record, Ronald D. Moore has said that the DS9 writers originally planned to include mention of the United Earth government in "Homefront," but dropped those plans to streamline the story. Meanwhile, the United Earth Prime Minister toured the post-Breen attack City of San Francisco in the short story "Eleven Hours Out" in Tales of the Dominion War. The Federation Councillor from United Earth is established to be a man named Matthew Mazibuko in the novel Articles of the Federation, and Councillor Mazibuko has appeared in several novels since, all of which portray him as a very powerful and important Federation Councillor.

    And I don't think it's fair to say that Earth has "given over" its cities to the Federation. San Francisco hosts Starfleet Headquarters, and Paris houses the office of the Federation President (and, if you go by the novels, the Palais de la Concorde, the Federation's capitol building housing the full Council and the President). That's about it.

    I don't know if there would even be an Earth Defense Force, if only because the protection of Earth would almost certainly be a "federal" concern because of the Federation Starfleet's need to protect the Federation capital.
     
  13. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

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    I could see there being a UEDF for the same reason there's a DC National Guard: Aid to the Civil Power, above and beyond any typical day to day military stuff. There's also the defense of Earth colonies to think about.

    Yes, in 90% of both cases, Starfleet will be right behind the UEDF to help, but it's important symbolically and politically, probably, for there to be a UEDF that can do these things, for the same reason why Vulcan keeps the V'Shar about, for instance. Sovereignty, even pooled sovereignty, only means much if you can credibly take your ball and go home, after all. No matter how unlikely that may be.
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Fair enough on that. (I wonder if those wonky-looking Mars Defense Perimeter drones seen in "The Best of Both Worlds" were Earth Defense Forces or Mars Defense Forces property rather than Federation Starfleet property?)

    But I also wouldn't be too surprised that we haven't run into a canonical Earth Defense Force. We know, for instance, that a civilian organization called Federation Security exists, but we've only run into it once (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock); it's not unreasonable to think that the EDF exists without us having run into it yet.
     
  15. Cheapjack

    Cheapjack Fleet Captain

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    Amazing how Earth security and military are going to be exactly the same in 400 years time, just as they are exactly the same as they were in Shakespeare's time, with pike-staff's and swords!

    :lol:
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Um, what the hell are you talking about?

    And while the technologies and weaponry used has certainly changed, the fact of the matter is that the basic organizational precepts of the modern military aren't all that much different from those used in the Elizabethan era.
     
  17. Cheapjack

    Cheapjack Fleet Captain

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    Um, for starters, people get a little strung up about torture, nowadays. And the military is far different. They don't execute soldiers as a punishment, or decimate for not fighting as the did in roman times. They don't execute captured enemy combatants. Have you ever heard of the Geneva convention? Don't you think there will be additions to it in the next 400? They didn't have gays openly serving, then. You could be flogged for it. Do they pressgang, now?Did they have and airforce in the 1600's? Do they salute in TNG? Where have you been the last 400 years? :lol::lol:
     
  18. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

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    Dude, no need to be snarky. :vulcan:

    We're not talking about the Geneva conventions, war crimes and the treatment of soldiers/POWs. We're talking about how a military is organized. And has that really changed? I'm sure there were units, officers, commanders, militias and fleets, yes, even 400 years ago. And no, they didn't have an airforce. But then, guess what, we don't have a warp-capable space fleet today, either.

    Really, Cheapjack, you seem to enjoy coming in and saying 'you're not imaginitive enough'. Well, that's easy. You say how you think Earth's military and security will be different in the 24th century.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    people get a little strung up about torture --Less than you might think, depends who's on the receiving end.

    They didn't have gays openly serving -- We still can't. Not really.

    You could be flogged for it -- There is still corporal punishment in various forms, hard work details and running with weights is popular, often without access to food. During the first gulf war a man in my father's unit was informally instructed by the sergeants not to eat for three days because of repeated screw-ups, he apparently became a better airman for it. But no whips (unless you're into that).

    Do they press-gang, now -- The US still has selective service registration, seven European Union nations have legal conscription, twenty-nine UN members have "the draft."

    Do they salute in TNG -- They do come to the position of attention, in the very first episode as Picard was touring engineering a crewman very obviously did this, Picard once dress Worf down for not coming to his feet fast enough.

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  20. SpyOne

    SpyOne Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree:
    Cheapjack, rather posting non-sequiturs and than pretending that they are arguments against what other people have posted, how about you contribute some constructive suggestions?
    What do you think the experience of attending Starfleet Academy is like? What would cadets do in any given year? Your thoughts?