Have police forces camps in the military style

Is Starfleet a Military or Civil Organization?

At first glance, this question is easy to answer: Gene Roddenberry says it doesn't is , Picard says it's not like that is , and so is neither does it.

So easy is this Not . It all depends on how closely you use the word military define.

  • Is Starfleet a Force? Yes. (any episode in which weapons are used)
  • Is it the job of protecting the Federation from foreign enemies? Yes. (e.g. DS9s Dominion War, many Borg raids).
  • Are these authoritarian operations in line with contemporary military? Yes. (Any episode in which someone is threatened with insubordination for disobeying orders).
  • Does it have a separate judicial system that is separate from the civil federation courts? Yes. (TNG: the measure of the man, TNG: the eardrum).

If you take the broadest definition of military - armed forces - then Starfleet is clearly a military organization. Starfleet has a structure, operations, and authority similar to that of today's military.

If you follow this definition of military however, limit: Forces whose main task is to wage war, they are absolutely not .

The military in the United States is unique in the world in that it does not conduct domestic police operations (this is reflected in the Posse Comitatus Act). Military training reflects their main mission: to destroy the enemy. It is a war force in the same way as the militaries of the past of this world: we against them, destroy or are destroyed, and win at almost any cost.

Starfleet's primary role is not to wage war - until the Federation is involved in a war. DS9's Dominion War undoubtedly marked Starfleet as a military operation. Similarly, TNG: Yesterday's Enterprise shows that Starfleet is operating fully militarized. These are undeniable examples of Starfleet serving as the Federation's de facto military.

However, these exceptions seem to rule to prove that there is in the Starfleet im Compared to contemporary and historical armed forces The point is not to wage war, but to enable peaceful exploration of the Federation.

Expressed differently, according to today's definition of military , which is consistent with Gene Roddenberry's use , Starfleet is not a military.

More importantly, the Starfleet is a realization of changed values. Military tactics have evolved over time on Earth to recognize laws that define what type of violence is allowed (for example, chemical weapons are banned). All of this indicates a higher appreciation for life, the value of life as it is so often expressed in Star Trek: to look for new life and civilizations . This statement implies that Life of all kinds is to be appreciated. The Prime Policy states that life should be cherished even if we disagree with its values.

National military operations in today's world don't work that way (World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan). No contemporary military values ​​life like Starfleet. The main task of our military is always to achieve the set goals, regardless of the number of victims on the other side (and often without much consideration for risking the lives of the civilian population).

That is a very clear and profound difference. This is what Gene Roddenberry was probably referring to, and the main difference Picard would understand if he used the word "military".

In the same episode where Picard says, "Starfleet is not a military organization." Shortly before this line he also says:

Despite all of my concerns, I consented to Starfleet's request to participate in these war game exercises.

War games. Why does a non-military organization participate in war games?

He replies:

Because with the Borg threat, I decided that my officers and I need to improve our tactical skills. In a crisis situation, it is advisable to have several options.

Starfleet clearly recognizes that Federation security is important and that training is important for this possible military action.

The author's original question was which, civil or military?

By today's standards, it is neither military nor civil.

The next (bad) analog I could come up with is the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which conducts law enforcement (i.e. they are armed) for limited purposes, but NOAA's primary role is scientific.

By the standards of the 24th century, Starfleet is absolutely not comparable to the operations of the Cardassians, Romulans or Dominion, which are clearly military forces as we would define them today - to wage war military does.

And so, Starfleet is clearly not a military in the 24th century, although it will conduct military operations if the need so requires.

Captain P.

In the context of the episode, it is clear that they were referring to a real war. In particular, combat tactics. While I confess that I have never heard of the term used outside of the military context, “live exercise” is certainly not the dictionary definition of the word. Even so, I am aware of an "Emergency and Coordination Center" that was simply referred to as the "War Room". The examples you cite seem to relate to strategic responses, and your use of "war" is clearly hyperbolic (they appeared to be less related to "live practice" than to testing contingency plans).


To claim that our military does not care about civilian casualties seems ridiculous. We have such strict rules of engagement that some military personnel (and many Warhawk politicians) believe they are being prevented from performing their duties.

Captain P.

I didn't say that either, DC. Her follow-up that "the rules are so strict that some military personnel believe they cannot do their duty" accurately reflects my point of view: if contemporary military personnel recognize their duty to "win the war" then this is it the best way to do this duty means you (sometimes) have to disregard civil life. Concern for public perception and concern for deaths are different.


Your answer is very thorough and complements the clear quotations of the accepted answer with a more philosophical and linguistic description. However, I think the modern, country-specific political considerations and soapbox editorials are completely unnecessary. I don't think the OP was interested in the US military justifying the double action doctrine (the ethical point at which civilian lives is worth losing to achieve a military goal) in Afghanistan.