Whay doesn't starfleet use ships by other races.

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Tribble puncher, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And also somewhat the Bureau of Mines.

    The way the Enterprise flew into a ion storm in Court Martial, reminds me of the USAF flying into hurricanes for scientific research. And the Enterprise visiting various science outposts like (again) the USAF tending to Antarctic bases.

    The British stopped flying the Harrier some 16 months ago and resently sold over 70 of them surplus to the US Marine Corp, who will strip them down and reassemble about 25-30 into their night attack version. The UK will get their F35s in 8 years and will be without for the interval, the USMC will get their F35s in 4 years and didn't want to go without.

    :)
     
  2. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yup, that's the one. When Doug Drexler and John Eaves started posting orthos of their 3D models from the show on their respective blogs, I half-expected (and hoped) to see two ships that never seemed to get that treatment - the Sarajevo was one and the Conestoga was the other.

    Anyone have any insight if those ever got posted as orthographic projections?
     
  3. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I sort of agree, sort of disagree with you.

    Where I agree is in the beginning of the UFP, a new polity projecting power, unified designs would matter more. Acting to limit these unified designs would have been a comparatively less-sophisticated technological knowledge than they had 70-100 years later (in the TNG to post-Dominion War period). Where I disagree is this - later it would become more about style and less about substance (because the basics of starship function have been nailed down and mastered centuries before). Look at cars today. The basics haven't changed much. The form factor to a degree has been locked down. Its function is long known. The difference in the style. Preferences about the ship designs notwithstanding, look at the stylistic differences between the E-nil and the E-J. By the time of the Enterprise-J and Daniels, they'd moved so far beyond what a basic starship could do, I'm sure the only safe place to take Archer on the ship (from a standpoint of not screwing up your own future timeline) WAS that viewport he observed that battle from.

    Allowing him to see or interact with anything more would contaminate the timeline (using their own terminology).
     
  4. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The NX does look a lot like "future" Starfleet craft, particularly the Akira class.

    At least, from the outside; on the inside it's completely different.
    So who knows?
    Maybe the 23rd-24th century Starfleet ship owe their aesthetics to humans but their modern (Galaxy/Sovereign/Defiant/Intrepid) warp core technology is of Vulcan design, the weapon systems of Andorian origin, the turbolifts a Tellarite invention (given their propensity to initiate arguments between the occupants, it's likely)...

    Of all founding Federation members, humans seem to me to be those to care most about appearance: Vulcans would probably consider it a secondary concern at best; Andorians would gladly sacrifice looks for functionality/armament... and son on.

    At least, that's how I rationalise Starfleet's ship design not being purely earth-centric :P.
     
  5. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Ensign Red Shirt

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    The U.S. Marines use the Harrier because it is a proven airframe. Also McDonald Douglas built the Harrier under license from the British firm that built it.

    The U.S. Navy did not at first believe a VSTOL jet could operate from it Ambibious Transport Carriers (which are roughly the same size as the Essex class carries of World War II - Today the Intrepid and Hornet are musems)

    After the Falklands war the British Navy proved that they could operate and deploy Harries from their small flat tops.

    As a result since they were already a proven weapons delievery system. The U.S. Military (namely the Navy and Marines) purchased and then built their own for use on the Amphibious carriers. The ships can only carry six jets and will be replaced with the new F-35 Strike Fighter that can also do VSTOL and go supersonic whic the current planes cant.

    As for Starfleet using other coulter's ships why would they just like the U.S. Navy does not today yet we sell them to other nations when the Navy deems the ships have become oppsolite.

    Since Starfleet is comprised of races from all over the federation there is no need for a member race to build their own fleet. Instead there "spacemen" would be assigned to Starfleet ships.
     
  6. ImCaptKirk

    ImCaptKirk Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    How many aliens were on the Enterprise in TOS? Not many, so I guess it was an Earth ship.
     
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ That is explicitly what Enterprise was referred to a half dozen times in TOS' first season. It seems to me that the only aliens who ever serve on Earth fleet ships are aliens who have some form of dual citizenship or other cultural commitment to Earth. Taking Nog as the archetypical example, evidently you don't even have to be a Federation citizen, it's enough to live in a human-controlled space station with a good enough reputation to sponsored by a Starfleet officer.

    If you consider the hugeness of the galaxy and the fact that each Federation member is an entirely different planet with an entirely different culture and entirely different economic/military needs, it's possible that Starfleet is divided into several different commands, each command being a distinct "branch" of the Federation's space forces but otherwise having nothing in common with each other; different academies, different ships, different bases, different priorities, possibly even different jurisdictions.

    In modern terms the USN has the Atlantic Fleet and the Pacific Fleet; imagine if the Atlantic Ocean (and all of New England, for that matter) was on actually on Mars and the Pacific Ocean (and all of the West Coast) was on Europa. Both would be considerably less cohesive, with different command structures and responsibilities, and FAR less likely to swap personnel and equipment.

    At the end of the day, it's a question of how big you think the Star Trek universe really is. Is it a place where a handful of small far-flung planets, divided by huge interstellar gulfs, have banded together to find common ground culturally and economically, or is it a place where a handful of solar systems that just happened to be in the same local cluster ceded their autonomy to an Earth-based superstate?
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Yes -- before the writers came up with the idea of the Federation. After that, the Enterprise was always referred to as a Federation starship, and never as a United Earth starship. A retcon, that's called.

    It's a place where over 150 planets, some relatively close and some relatively far-flung, all divided by huge interstellar gulfs, have banded together to find common ground culturally and economically, and thereby ceded their sovereignty, but not their general autonomy, to an interstellar federal superstate whose seat of government is located on Earth, and Earth is one of the planets who have so ceded their sovereignty.
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    IIRC, "Federation" was referred to in "Arena" an episode produced before "Tomorrow is Yesterday" where "United Earth Space Probe Agency" is mentioned. Based on Kirk's dialogue, the TOS Enterprise could have been under UESPA authority and still in the big picture be part of the Federation. Not really a retcon unless someone actually calls out the non-existence of UESPA during the timeframe that Season 1 takes place in, IMO.
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You can't really have it both ways. Either the universe is very very big, and humans/Starfleet are just one small component of a much larger system operating on a vast scale, or the universe is very very small and Starfleet is really all there is. It's enough to know that Earth is the seat of government for the Federation at large, but that doesn't necessarily tell us anything about Starfleet's role in it.
     
  11. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Erm, what? We're talking about the Federation, not its Starfleet.

    Who says the Federation can't be vast?

    That sentence doesn't make sense. Starfleet isn't even "really all there is" even within the Federation, any more than the Royal Navy is all there is within the United Kingdom.

    Except we've seen its role. It's the Federation Starfleet, the UFP's defense and exploration service.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...But it does nicely remind us that the British Empire was vast yet its Royal Navy minuscule and almost exclusively crewed by people from a tiny island that represented a ridiculously small fraction of the Empire's surface area or population.

    If humans were at least originally the primary conquerors in the UFP, the ones bringing in new members and then securing the defensive ties, it's no wonder that they would be the "Americans" in NATO or the "Russians" in the Warsaw Pact, and nobody would bother to mention the irrelevant other members or participants. This would be all the more pronounced if Starfleet in fact was such a small force that its actions were symbolic rather than practical: humans would do a lot of gunboat diplomacy such as the sending of three starships to Altair in "Amok Time", while the contributions of other, older and/or more logical big members would be limited to what the tiny force could actually accomplish, that is, guarding the immediate home base.

    By the time of TNG, though, we have enough evidence of diversity in crews and other personnel, as well as in starship design, to start believing in a multicultural Starfleet where simple pragmatic segregation keeps some of the ships human and others Vulcan and perhaps Andorian etc. The reputation of Starfleet as a bunch of Earthling thugs would be diluted enough that we would no longer hear of "Earth ships".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For all intents and purposes, the Royal Navy is "all there is" as far as the UK's naval forces. It is NOT, however, "all there is" as far as the WORLD'S Naval forces.

    To reflect the same question: How big is your world? Does it consist of a huge number of disparate nations each with their own naval forces and sometimes competing ideologies, or does it consist of the United States and as much of the world as can be effectively patrolled by the US Navy?

    In the latter case, you're thinking of a closely knit and highly centralized universe without only token political/social diversity. In the former case, you're thinking of a far-flung universe that has transcended distance and language and cultural barriers for mutual benefit and is centralized only insofar as their relationships with their neighbors. One of those is an empire, the other is a union.

    You have many times tried to claim as such, but I far from sold on the idea of the Federation as a de facto "Benevolent Earth Empire."

    What we have not seen is whether or not it is the Federation's ONLY defense and exploration service, or merely the one most widely patronized by humans and/or citizens of Earth.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Considering the number of witnessed Federation-wide threats, as opposed to the ones merely causing uncertainty about the continuing existence of planet Earth, I'd say the chances of some other defense service existing are a flat zero. Were something else out there, we would have seen it many times over during the Dominion war. We saw Klingons and Romulans (and ultimately Cardassians) participate in the fight on the side of the familiar Starfleet; if there existed a separate Andorian Blue Fleet or somesuch, it certainly doesn't exist in the postwar Federation, as all of its employees would have been executed for terminal cowardice.

    Exploration might be more of a shared responsibility, what with all those Vulcan science vessels conveniently popping up in the middle of nowhere (say, "Vortex").

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    .... you are not making sense now. Was the question I initially responded to about what the Federation is, or was it about what the galaxy is?

    You're not defining your terms, and I officially don't know what your intended topic of conversation was.

    This is based on the false premises that accepting a certain amount of centralization in joining a federal system is the same thing as yielding to imperium, and that it is impossible for a federal system not to be a mechanism for one particular unit's domination of the others. I reject both premises.

    The Federation is a democratic union of democratic planetary states, which practices federalism. It leaves a great deal of power in the hands of its Members, but it also has specific sovereign powers itself. And it is not dominated by any one Member -- not even Earth.

    Further, it is very clear that the Federation Starfleet is not the United Earth Starfleet -- so comparing Starfleet's relationship to the UFP to the U.S. Navy's relationship to the rest of the planet is off-base.

    I think it's abundantly clear from the canon that numerous organizations dedicated to exploration and scientific research exist, and that many of them are private, non-governmental endeavors. The Hansens, for instance, seem to have been private researchers working on their own behalf, not that of any government; the S.S. Vico seems to have been a surplus Orbeth-class starship bought from Starfleet. The Vulcan Science Academy seems as active as ever, even constructing the Jellyfish seen in ST09. The novels also establish this; in The Buried Age by the TrekBBS's own Christopher, the University of Alpha Centauri launches a year-long expedition to the far corners of explored space on an archaeological exploration mission.

    The canonical evidence does, however, seem to imply that the Federation Starfleet is the UFP's only federal defense organization. It seems that Member worlds maintain their own forces in the same way that U.S. states have their own National Guards and State Defense Forces, but there's no indication that they operate on a Federation-wide scale.

    ETA:

    The DS9 episode "Rapture" established that as part of Bajor becoming a Federation Member, the Bajoran Militia would need to be "integrated into Starfleet." Exactly what that means is unclear; my hypothesis, given the continued existence of the Vulcan defensive services established in "Gambit," is that the Militia would be integrated into Starfleet's command structure (i.e., they'd become part of Starfleet in times of Federation-wide emergencies when called into Federation service, the way the U.S. President can federalize a state National Guard), but still exist as its own distinct service within Bajoran territory.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    See the phrase Vulcan defensive service could mean anything. Perhaps it is a seperate entity being more civilian in nature rather than military. So the Bajoran military being absorbed into starfleet is the military side, a civilian security force would not be absorbed into Starfleet.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I really don't think Federation Member worlds use mercenaries to provide planetary defense. That seems like the very definition of dangerous, unenlightened thinking.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    How so? All European defenses today are mercenary in nature: they depend on the use of paid soldiers from an international military alliance whose reasons of existence further are purely commercial. National fervor can falter; the power of money is likely to endure.

    There is no "Vulcan defensive service" in canon. There is just a branch called Vulcan Security. In "Gambit", it is portrayed as an intelligence arm and a police force. In "Unification", so-called "Vulcan defense vessels" respond to the Romulans, but no separate organization is associated with them there.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except the Klingons and Romulans were arguably only an immediate threat to Earth and Earth-local operators in the first place. Even the Cardassians didn't become a problem until humans started building colonies along the expanding Cardassian border, which would seem to suggest that while the Dominion War could be fought along many fronts, the "Earth front" that included Earth, Cardassia and Bajor would have been the primary responsibility of Starfleet and the other local operators in that sector. If the Dominion opened other major fronts -- and they almost certainly did -- the fleets responsible for those sectors wouldn't have had a huge amount of time to shift all the way to the opposite side of Federation space just to make a token appearance for Ben Sisko's edification.

    Or let's put it this way: How many Russian troops participated in the Normandy landings? Or better yet, how many German warships took part in the Battle of Savo Island?

    How often was Andoria even MENTIONED during the Dominion War? By TNG's time, it's not even clear whether or not the Andorians are Federation members. It's likely the reason for this is that Andoria has projeted its influence into an entirely different region of space (probably to avoid provoking local conflicts in the post-Corridan Federation) and is fighting the Dominion on the exact opposite side of the Federation from Bajor.

    Better yet, we see three Vulcan vessels in "Redemption" that appear to have an entirely distinct design from anything else in the Federation.
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Neither. I was asking about the scope of the fictional universe in which Star Trek takes place, which has to do with, among other things, the nature of its political alliances, the distances involved, the ease of transport and exchange and how cohesive its individual members are with one another.

    Which is to say, what "world" are we supposed to be projecting on the Federation when we imagine it? Is it the "world" as defined along anglo-centric terms such as to mean "Our country, and also our allies, and a bunch of people who don't like us" or "the world" in global terms to mean "a bunch of countries that includes us."

    It IS the same when it comes to the centralization of one's military, especially if that centralization implies either the disbandment or expatriation of ones' own armed forces. You become part of a foreign empire the moment you entrust a foreign entity with your national defense, especially when it is implied that that foreign entity will value its own defense at a higher priority than your own (something Starfleet has been seen to do in nearly every iteration of Trek; they have this concept of "core worlds" which must be held at any cost, the most important of which is always Earth; everyone else is seemingly left to wonder).

    This ceases to be an imperium when one of two things happen: either the member states give up the REST of their sovereignty (in which case they cease to be autonomous and become merely territories conquered or annexed by the central government) or they retain primary responsibility for their own defense with our without the coordination or approval of a larger Federal-controlled force.

    A benevolent empire is still an empire, with all the political implications that come with it. So if you wish to avoid those implications, you would have to either envision the Federation as a collection of worlds close enough and similar enough to yield to a central government and become a cohesive superstate (much as the 13 colonies originally did in the Americas) or you would have to concede for separate member states maintaining their own space forces spread across the galaxy, serving the priorities of their homeworlds. Otherwise "Starfleet alone is the Federation's military" is to concede that the Federation is a benevolent empire dominated mostly by Earth.

    Militarily, this appears not to be the case. That's the significant difference here. It could, certainly, be mere coincidence that both Starfleet headquarters, the Academy and all of the major construction and R&D facilities all just happen to be on the same planet as the Federation's headquarters. But it goes beyond coincidence that starbases and ships outside of Sol are overwhelmingly dominated by humans, and the few aliens on the crew turn out to be aliens with close human ties (and on two separate occasions Ben Sisko complains that Starfleet's standing policy on the Maquis is largely shaped by cultural norms on -- you guessed it -- Earth).

    That degree of centralization isn't a feature of a Federal system; the capital may contain the administrative centers for both the government and the military, but never in (for example) United States history have we had a national army at the Federal level composed overwhelmingly of soldiers/ships/equipment produced in Philadelphia. You don't have a single state militarily dominating all the others; that's antithetical of a Federal system, because the whole point of the Federal state is that no one state can survive on its own and all have to share resources for their collective wellbeing.

    That's far from clear at this point.

    This is problematic insofar as the Federation Starfleet is as highly centralized as it is vis a vis Earth. It's becomes more problematic if those local defense forces are depicted as having secondary authority to Starfleet such that the latter can become involved in a situation and tell the locals "We are taking control of this situation." If Starfleet has higher authority than the locals, this again trends towards imperialism. The only way to avoid that implication is to either distribute Starfleet's operational bulk more evenly, or to concede that lack of distribution as a result of Starfleet's being only one part of a larger whole.

    That's possible, but the same implications apply as far as authority goes, given -- again -- the issue of military centralization. The British Empire did this for decades, using the local forces of its own colonies to fight wars on opposite sides of the world simultaneously, supplemented by regular troops from its own forces. The degree of control they exerted over their colonies was immense, and yet the 13 American colonies would still have been considered colonies -- and Britain still an Empire -- if they had held seats on the Parliament.

    The thing is, only the King's government reserved the right to negotiate treaties and international agreements, as they did with the First Nations in the 18th century. Arguably, the agreement not to expand the colonies west of the Appalacians was one of the major triggers of the Revolutionary War, since it was made by the British government without the consent or input of the colonists themselves (which is more or less exactly what happened to the Maquis).

    How you handle a foreign threat is a big giveaway for your definition. A federal system prioritizes overall national defense of all its territories; in the event of a foreign threat, it will tend to mass its defenses on the very edge of its territory to prevent the enemy from attacking its outermost/vulnerable areas. An empire grows out of a central point, so the response to the foreign threat is to use those outer territories -- and even some of the inner ones -- as buffers to absorb the enemy onslaught or at least keep it at a distance until a compromise can be reached that the central government finds satisfactory (even if the outer territories hate everything about it). If Starfleet can be taken at their word and Earth really is the most important world in the Federation, then the Federation is an Empire in all but name.

    Of course, the Klingons have said EXACTLY this on a number of occasions. "The Federation is nothing more than a 'homo-sapiens only club.' Present company accepted of course." And earlier, "Vulcans are the intellectual puppets of this Federation!" Both the Klingons and the Romulans seem to believe that Earth -- and humans in particular -- are the heart of the Federation, and moreover, they firmly believe that the destruction of Earth would bring the entire Federation crashing down. Maybe they know something we don't?