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How Should a Space Military Force be Organized?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Commodore, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    Okay so let's say it is a few hundred years from now and most nations on Earth have colonies elsewhere in the solar system and beyond. Obviously those nations are going to want to have military forces to protect those colonies.

    Now from what I have seen most science-fiction depicts a space military as either being organized similar to a modern-day air force or organized similar to a modern-day naval fleet. So this is just a random little thread that asks which one makes more sense. If you were the leader of your nation would you put your space forces under the command of your air force or your navy? And why?
     
  2. cav scout

    cav scout The Continuum

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    Navy because they operate ships now so that translates nicely to spaceships.
     
  3. AdamCrock

    AdamCrock Polish Pudding

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    Space force unlike the "earth force" should be under civilian command ;) And no nukes ! ;) Asteroids ? !! We will tough it out ! ;P
     
  4. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    That seems pretty unlikely.
     
  5. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Considering the immense expense of space travel, I would imagine a Marshall force under the auspices of a treaty faction of space-faring civs. Dedicated warships in space would be a grossly unjustified expenditure without a real extraterrestrial threat.
     
  6. cav scout

    cav scout The Continuum

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    Considering the immense expense of age of discovery ocean travel, I would imagine a Marshall force under the auspices of a treaty faction of ocean-faring civs. Dedicated warships in the Atlantic would be a grossly unjustified expenditure without a real new world threat.
     
  7. AdamCrock

    AdamCrock Polish Pudding

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  8. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Navy, so we can also get Marines.
     
  9. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    If in-space combat happens, weight will be the limiting factor for any spacecraft. So you cannot carry much armor around. Additionally, any hit will happen at very high speed, which would render most approaches to armor useless, anyway. So any spaceship - and especially big ones - would be very vulnerable in combat. For these reason I think the navy-like battleship concept and a navy-like structure with a hierarchy on each ship would not be viable.

    Squadrons of multiple small and maneuverable weapon platforms would be more effective, which seems to point to an air force-like structure. However, going back to the weight issue, life support systems would also be a disadvantage and humans are bad at calculating orbital mechanics, so I would guess that space-combat would be AI-controlled to a very high degree. But until then I would expect any air combat on earth to be carried out with drones, anyway, so my guess would be that it would be organized like an air force. Not the air force as it is today, but the air force as it will be in the future.

    Many missions would require some "boots (or wheels, tracks, robot legs...) on the ground", though, so I would also expect a highly mobile force of troops that can be quickly transported anywhere and would be organized similar to the marines of today.
     
  10. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    Space warfare should be limited as much as possible. There's so much potential for catastrophic results for humanity that it's too risky and not worth it, not to mention expensive. Orbital bombardments could kill billions, and could easily wipe out small, fragile colonies on other planets. Small defense forces may be necessary to stop piracy, but otherwise the human race cannot afford having so many swords dangling over our heads.

    The enormous distances involved in space will probably mean that rapid transit is out of the question. Forces should be based on or around the planets they are assigned to protect, since it could take months or years for help to arrive. Intel is crucial as always, since an enemy force could be detected and intercepted lightyears away. Stealth is also essential, since ships will probably be able to pick each other off from tens of thousands of miles away. Heat dissipation is a serious concern.
     
  11. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    Human history says otherwise.
     
  12. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    Navies use smaller ships and aviation as well, and armed forces usually have hierarchical structures of command almost by definition. :confused:

    A stronger argument for the Air Force route would be the history of space programs (at least in the US and Russia) developing out of air force projects and using their pilots.
     
  13. KmDubya

    KmDubya King

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    Considering the expense and technical feats required to have space colonies I don't think that there would be multiple nations carrying it out. I'd expect that at some point there ends up some sort of Empire on Earth composed of a few of the current major nations, maybe the US and EU with Russia on one side and a Chinese hegemony on the other who both would have the assets to colonize space. Both sides could then turn the third world into a labor farm to help produce and facilitate space exploration. Use of a space elevator could allow for much greater loads to be lifted into orbit. Once you had enough assets in orbit you could facilitate colonies on the moon and then the asteroids. The asteroids would provide large quantities of raw material so that mass of a space ship would not be a limiting factor. I'd look to see the large battleship type vessels with large power generating capacity to power energy weapons, rail guns and heavy use of missiles. You could even mine out an asteroid and use it as the basis for a vessel.

    For organization I'd see it as a navy for the fleet and as marines for ground forces and for boarding operations.
     
  14. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    In so far as the US's separation of it's military makes any sense at all, that separation should continue to exist in the space-faring age. So you'd have a separate army, air force, and navy space-faring organizations, or similar structure under different names.
     
  15. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    Agreed with KMdubya that whatever space force would have to be a space force. Not a launched-from-ground force as Uppi seems to envision.. A ground force would be needlessly limited by needing the ability to perform atmospheric reentry, and even more so by the need to achieve escape velocity, while achieving little in return, and on top of that the time and energy required to actually send them out almost precludes using them in an emergency scenario.

    Conversely, once you're out in space, mass/weight/shape are actually less limiting factor than for a earth-bound vehicle, due to operating in a vacuum and with far lower gravity restrictions.

    This in turn spells the need for significant orbital and space infrastructure. That limits drastically who can have space forces as you need the infrastructure on the ground to support and supply that space infrastucture. If not space elevators - and you practically need world peace for those given how vulnerable they are - then at least some kind of practical regular system for space launch.

    Because new colonies would lack this, they could not support a local defense force. Thus we'd be looking at vessels on long-range patrols or station. That require crafts that can afford to stay on station for months, even years, before heading home for supply and R&R. Not somethign fighters with minimal crews can really afford.

    Ultimately, you're looking at a role much closer to a navy than an air force.
    OTOH, while I'd adopt a navy-like STRUCTURE, I'd do it with - at first- mostly air force PEOPLE, or failing that by submariners, because unlike the crew of surface ship they have a grasp of 3D maneuvers. Surface ships experience wouldn't prepare my crews for Z-axis maneuvering.
     
  16. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Human history isn't relevant to human future.
     
  17. TheLastOne36

    TheLastOne36 Deity

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    I think the Navy is more comparable. Spaceships would need a crew like a naval ship, as opposed to individual pilots and ground air control of the air forces.
     
  18. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Space navy would sound cool..

    Diastemiko nautiko, or nautiko tou Diastematos :)

    At least the actual spaceships could be part of the space navy. The regiments meant for ground combat would have other names.

    (ps, the Greek term for "Spaceship" is Diastemoploio; not sure if any similar term was used in ancient sci-fi, eg by Lucian, but it sounds very cool :) ).

    *

    Btw, it is highly unlikely there can be colonies by nation-states here. I doubt we will have any space colonies in this century anyway. We don't even co-operate on this planet.
     
  19. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    What's the difference?
     
  20. Chazumi

    Chazumi Trained& Motivated Killer

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    The same as anywhere, a pyramid scheme with pawns at the bottom and a singular hive mind at the top.
     

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