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Starfleet too Militaristic?

Matthias Russell

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 5:27 am

After reading the TNG and VOY relaunch novels and playing STO, it became apparent to me that the organization of Starfleet is heavily based upon the US armed forces.  I know the astronaut corps is mostly ex-military and most explorers from the age of exploration had military backgrounds, but do you think Starfleet is too militaristic?  Should the exploratory and militaristic wings of the Federation be kept seperate as NASA and the USAF have seperate space programs?  I feel that in Star Trek, the 'discovery' side is being overwhelmed by the 'military' side.  Maybe that's what more fans find interesting, but not me.

UNTRugby

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 6:57 am

They were sort of separate in ENT but the constant hostile nature of deep space caused a merging and that govt funded exploration had to have military capabilities and personnel so it was easier to make them one

tribblenator999

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 7:49 am

if starfleet isn't military in nature who's going to protect the federation and second how would those exploration vessels protect themselves?

"take us out"...

Vger23

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 9:11 am

A millitary structure is necessary. It's unrealistic to think that fleets of starships with idealistic hippy scientists are going to be roaming the galaxy living in floating communes and exploring for the good of humanity in peace and harmony with their environments.

I think Star Trek portrays Starfleet as an organization that is structured like the "armed forces" because even thought the primary mission is "peacekeeping and exploration," there are also "national defense" needs that must be taken care of.

There are certainly branches / elements of Star Trek that are less millitaristic. TNG often showed starships mainly staffed with scientists, for example (like the USS Brittain). Heck, the 1701-D had families aboard! But, because there are hostile situations and the need to defend ourselves...Starfleet officers are trained for battle and the ships are armed and prepared for conflict.

I think it's realistic. Usually, the shows didn't focous on that kind of stuff, so it doesn't bother me.

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Vger23

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 9:13 am

Also,

If you watch TNG in the post-BOBW era...it's almost like the Borg invasion was the Federation's "September 11th" event. Starfleet realized that the utopian days of peaceful exploration were over, and they began developing new weapons and defenses (Lt. Cmdr Shelby) and new starships (Defian and Sovereign classes, for example) that were more geared toward battle.


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Kesfan74656

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 9:33 am

Well, speaking strictly from a fan standpoint, I have to say that I enjoy a good space battle, and such has played a significant role in st But, I can see where MatthiasRussell might have concerns, given his background career-wise as I understand it to be, and his focus upon exploring space. I guess that DS9 really pushed the military mindset out front in a huge way.But, the further Starfleet has gone outwards, the more evident, that there are powers like the Borg, and the Dominion with whom the strongest defense possible is a must. The cold, hard facts are, that, to quote Q, ''It's wonderous out there. But, it's not for the timid''Ssomeone like Kathryn Janeway, a trained scientist, and explorer, if ever there was one, would, given her experiences with the Collective, and other hostiles, ever be mindful that there must be a balance of focus whilst going into the unknown. But, in the wake of the war, it's easy to see Starfleet wanting to go back to what it was, at its core, designed to do...seek out new life, and new civilizations, just as Archer was, after the trials of the Xindi Mission, desiring to get back to why he joined Starfleet in the first place.


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Camorite

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 10:31 am

Starfleet is mostley in charge of the exploration of the galaxy, but they are also the military arm of the UFP. this is how it has been since it all began with TOS, and it is how it will continue to be for as long as trek is around.


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Matthias Russell

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 4:01 pm

But the needs of exploration and the needs of defense are different. In the modern, NASA wants an Orion-like capsule whereas the USAF wants the X-37. The space shuttle was supposed to support both groups but the DOD quickly gave up on it and were forced to support the shuttle to begin with.

I understand exploration ships needing defensive capabilities for hostile environments and hostile first contacts but we wouldn't send the Nimitz to explore anymore than we would send the Calypso to fight. A ship optimally designed for one is ill fitted for the other, I can't see that changing in the next 400 years anymore than it has in the last 400.

Also consider, the mentality and training needed to be a good soldier are different than that needed to be a good scientist/explorer (with the exception of being well disciplined). I would expect them to train differently to be more specialized. I would rather have 1 good soldier and 1 good scientist than 2 that have been half-trained in both discipline. The VOY relaunch shows how I would expect deep space exploration to be done. Send several ships, each outfitted for a specific task, some for research, and some defense.

Matthias Russell

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 4:03 pm

Quote: Camorite @ Sep. 12 2010, 10:31 am

Starfleet is mostley in charge of the exploration of the galaxy, but they are also the military arm of the UFP. this is how it has been since it all began with TOS, and it is how it will continue to be for as long as trek is around.



So do you think a realistic UFP would split these disciplines? Or are you just stating this is how it has been written?

Vger23

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 4:31 pm

Quote: Matthias Russell @ Sep. 12 2010, 4:01 pm

But the needs of exploration and the needs of defense are different. In the modern, NASA wants an Orion-like capsule whereas the USAF wants the X-37. The space shuttle was supposed to support both groups but the DOD quickly gave up on it and were forced to support the shuttle to begin with. I understand exploration ships needing defensive capabilities for hostile environments and hostile first contacts but we wouldn't send the Nimitz to explore anymore than we would send the Calypso to fight. A ship optimally designed for one is ill fitted for the other, I can't see that changing in the next 400 years anymore than it has in the last 400. Also consider, the mentality and training needed to be a good soldier are different than that needed to be a good scientist/explorer (with the exception of being well disciplined). I would expect them to train differently to be more specialized. I would rather have 1 good soldier and 1 good scientist than 2 that have been half-trained in both discipline. The VOY relaunch shows how I would expect deep space exploration to be done. Send several ships, each outfitted for a specific task, some for research, and some defense.


I definitely respect this opinion, but I think a more "fitting analogy" would be the explorers / sailors of the 17th and 18th centuries, rather than modern NASA scientific exploration.

Out on the frontier of space, the starship is part explorer, part battleship, part police cruiser, part rescue vehicle. The crews of starships are trained to do all those roles equally well. I think there are defniitely ships that are designated (by design and by crew make-up) to do ONE of those things really well (like the Grissom was purely a research ship), but the Enterprise was more of a "jack-of-all-trades" super-starship.

Just a thought...

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OtakuJo

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 11:01 pm

Yes, Starfleet is military ~ there's really no way around that. But at the same time they do feel quite distinct from 20th century military organisations.

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chr33355

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Report this Sep. 12 2010, 11:17 pm

No starfleet is barely a military.  They do have weapons and military ranks but they rarely think or act like a military.


Matthias Russell

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Report this Sep. 13 2010, 5:08 am

Vger, I agree we have to few starfleet through the eyes of mankind when we had a frontier but the great explorers of those days- cook, magellan, columbus were armed and could defeat lesser equipped natives but couldn't use their ships in a major conflict like nelson and the hms victory. I guess the question to you is what would dictate the need of combining the 2 disciplines, a massive frontier or the state of social/governmental development?

Vger23

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Report this Sep. 13 2010, 7:31 am

Quote: Matthias Russell @ Sep. 13 2010, 5:08 am

Vger, I agree we have to few starfleet through the eyes of mankind when we had a frontier but the great explorers of those days- cook, magellan, columbus were armed and could defeat lesser equipped natives but couldn't use their ships in a major conflict like nelson and the hms victory. I guess the question to you is what would dictate the need of combining the 2 disciplines, a massive frontier or the state of social/governmental development?


My guess is that it is more the "massive frontier." Starships can be weeks or even months away from the nearest base (or nearest sister ship, for that matter), and therefore needed a tremendous amount of autonomy. In fact, that was a huge part of TOS...was that the Enterprise was often out of immediate touch with SFC and therefore Kirk had to make a number of millitary, diplomatic, and scientific decisions on his own. It added to the drama and tension of the show. It's one of the elements I think was missing from TNG and DS9 (even though those are excellent series).

I also think that the climate dictates the level of "millitarism" you see. TOS was a very pioneering time in Trek history...so that's where my "17th and 18th century" analogy holds up. TNG was a bit more like "the adventures of the Federation Flagship," and we saw much more mainstreem stuff...more diplomacy...and more peacekeeping and humanitarianism.

Then, the Q "Borg Introduction" and the Battle of Wolf 359 happened, and that was almost like the "September 11th" in Federation history in the 24th century. Starfleet began bolstering it's millitary and defensive focus. They conducted war games (Peak Performance), had a weapons and defense deveolopment arm (Adm Hanson, Lt. Cmdr. Shelby), and began designing starships more suited to combat (Defiant-class and Sovereign-class). Shortly after, the Dominion War took place...and there was really no turning back at that point.

So, in a way...I think it's probably a combination of the massive frontier and the "cycle" of war and peace in the galaxy. Also, the futher you expand the frontier, the more potential there is for discovery AND for conflict.

I like a good action story as much as anyone...but I'm not really into the Star Trek "war" stories. If it's a "Balance of Terror" or "Wrath of Khan" style battle...that's excellent. But, I'm not one of the fans who clamors for more "war stuff." That's not what drew me to Trek.

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UNTRugby

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Report this Sep. 13 2010, 10:36 am

Quote: chr33355 @ Sep. 12 2010, 11:17 pm

No starfleet is barely a military.  They do have weapons and military ranks but they rarely think or act like a military.



Barely a military? The are the only defense for the UFP and when a planet joins the federation their military is absorbed into starfleet. They dont act like 20th century military becuase they are in the 24th century. You can see how different they are from non starfleet personal in their attitudes and thinking.

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