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Old 10-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #91
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So? Why sad?
Your points reinforce and complement mine.
I would have done a better job if I wasn't restating some of the same points.

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If the Navy gets down-sized or repurposed a lot of the personnel would end up in the Space Force *alongside* the repurposed USAF personnel. They would be the ones with both military training and the necessary management skills. Technical skills can be taught quickly but people skills require experience.
The thing I think gums up those works is the command side of things. We are talking about career military folks who have spent a lot of time getting leadership over their piece of turf and I'd be surprised if they didn't try to defend it. I'm talking about the Admiralty level and the like. These are going to be the most vocal defenders of keeping the Navy separate and with a clear piece of turf. Mostly for themselves and those they are looking to have replace them when they retire.

Also, while skills can be taught, that is a longer-term project. If you need to move quickly, retraining looks less palatable. And in the short-term, political factors seem to be the bigger issue. Perhaps if there isn't pressure to move quickly, absorbing the Navy and Air Force into a merged Space Force could happen... but that has to overcome both high-ranking officers looking to protect their turf, and whatever other political pressures are present at the time.

Humans are not always known for going the optimal route, as irrational drives tend to derail objective thought and planning. Plus time can always be an enemy. I'm approaching what I see as likely with that assumption in mind.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:46 PM   #92
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I'm talking about the Admiralty level and the like. These are going to be the most vocal defenders of keeping the Navy separate and with a clear piece of turf. Mostly for themselves and those they are looking to have replace them when they retire.
Those guys are past the "mandatory lobotomy" phase so they woudn't qualify for repurposing.
The best command candidates from the Navy will be Commanders and Captains with recent deployment experience, preferrably on the larger ships.
From the AF the best Candidates will be Majors and Lt. Colonels with squadron command experience, preferably from the bomber and transport/logistics side rather than the fighter jock side. Those can provide the cannon fodder but for the first-gen, I don't think you want their kind running a deep space vehicle.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:14 PM   #93
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Those guys are past the "mandatory lobotomy" phase so they woudn't qualify for repurposing.
The best command candidates from the Navy will be Commanders and Captains with recent deployment experience, preferrably on the larger ships.
From the AF the best Candidates will be Majors and Lt. Colonels with squadron command experience, preferably from the bomber and transport/logistics side rather than the fighter jock side. Those can provide the cannon fodder but for the first-gen, I don't think you want their kind running a deep space vehicle.
Yet, the Admiralty are the folks who will dive head-first into the politics, talk before the legislature/etc. These are the folks that will help shape future branches of the military.

Again, it isn't always about what makes the most sense, but rather the political climate. If you have a weak set of Admirals in charge at the time, perhaps you can do what you like to the Navy. But if you have any charismatic/strong-willed types at the top, you can bet they will be trying to carve something out for themselves out of self-interest.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:58 PM   #94
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In many dimensions, the Orbital Patrol is in charge of near Earth space, however the command structure of this force depends on the political arrangements of the nation states. Most are under the auspices of the United Nations, hence the UNOP. Others include the United States Orbital Patrol, the Russian Federation Orbital Patrol, the People's Republic of China Orbital Patrol, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Orbital Patrol, the Empire of China Orbital Patrol, and the United Empire of Britain and India Orbital Patrol. Mars usually has the Martian Orbital Patrol or the Martian Republic Orbital Patrol or the Empire of Mars Orbital Patrol. Smaller moons often use the names of the controlling entity, hence Amazon Orbital Patrol, Google Orbital Patrol, etc.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:17 PM   #95
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Ok, so let's assume we've got a space elevator, a number of recreational and medicinal space stations in LEO, and some serious asteroid mining outposts who have declared themselves to be an independent entity from all Earth nations.

What kinds of special ops assignments might emerge within this milieu? I'm looking for something that requires a small, elite force and that's going to force my protagonist to confront the enemy pretty much face-to-face.
Hi Nancy

I'm going to repeat some of what's already been said, but it's a long thread so I apologise in advance for not referencing/acknowledging others' individual posts.

Firstly, I doubt very much that a military arm would emerge *in response* to such a milieu. Rather, they would be leading the way with commercial entities following. As such, the military structure would already be in place to respond to such events.

Re: the independent mining colonies, that would very much depend on who they belonged to in the first place, then add in the geopolitical situation of the day. eg if Mali owned Asteroid 123 which subsequently has sought independence, who will be on which side of the argument? Perhaps Panama are in a power struggle with Mali over something else so they will support the colonists. Thailand might have a lot of economic interests with Mali which gives them special concessions with respect to the resources on the asteroid and thus have an interest in Mali retaining power. Have a look at current and historical fights over territory. A lot of the time it will be a case of your enemy's enemy is your (temporary) ally. Think the American War of Independence, WWII - in particular outside of Europe - why did Japan ally with Nazi Germany?, current disagreements over the Falklands/Malvinas, Taiwan, various parts of the Caucasus...
What if it's an entirely corporate-owned entity? Do national governments have an interest in getting involved? *Can* an asteroid belong entirely to a company without also being designated as part of a nation? What sort of security force does the company maintain or contract?
Note that the colonists *must* have reasonably powerful allies - they need them to get supplies back and forth, and to maintain trade (and therefore cashflow).

Re: Military units. First, remember that the US military is not the only one in existence. Depending on which country(ies) you decide are involved, the military units might differ. Especially consider cultural and political differences - the way the US military operates is no doubt different to the way the Chinese military operates. Even similar cultures can have significant differences - the Australian military has many differences to the US military. Whether it's a separate SPace Force or a branch or Joint Command of the current ones is less relevant I think than how it will operate within your prevailing culture.

Re: Military missions. Consider how military action has changed over the last 200 years. Hand to hand (or sword to sword? - and yes I know that's more than 200 years ago...) has significantly reduced in favour of remote warfare. Drone warfare is in relatively early stages now, but in 200 years will there still be actual people sitting in those starfighters? Or will they be sitting in a comfortable control room somewhere playing advanced computer games? ::waves to Ender::
In order to get more personal interaction you want to be able to justify why the whole place isn't just blown up from space. It might be smuggling an important individual or piece of equipment in or out of somewhere, or a black ops assassination of a rebel leader. It would be worth doing a bit of research into what current Special Ops units do (in a broad sense obviously :P )

Re: Space elevator. That's an interesting one. It sounds like there is only one, which straight away raises access, security and competition issues. As a monopoly, it will have a lot of enemies, regardless of whether it's government or commercial. Even if commercial, there will be a lot of government issues depending on where it's situated, especially if there are internal political disturbances. When the USSR broke up there were quite significant ramifications as some of the more significant military bases were outside of Russia, and in newly sovereign nations seeking to ally themselves more closely with the West.

Best of luck, and hope this is useful!
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:15 AM   #96
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UN peacekeepers are not elite combat forces.
They're glorified traffic cops, for the most part.
This is an interesting possibility, IMO. UN peacekeepers are whatever troops governments feel like contributing, operating under whatever rules of engagement their governments feel like imposing.
Usually they are from third world countries looking to earn a bit of extra cash, and 'peacekeeping' usually implies that things are already peaceful and just need someone to keep an eye on things with "not getting involved in a war" as their No1 priority.
But conceptually there's no reason why a first-rate military couldn't contribute some of their Tier-1 troops with orders that if trouble breaks out they pull a camo cover over the blue helmet and wipe out any troublemakers sharpish. E.g. if there was something fragile and of vital importance to their nation stuck in the middle of the peacekeeping zone - like perhaps a space elevator. If the space elevator was in Kenya and civil war broke out there, China/Russia/US might not want to invade or take responsibility for fixing the mess but might be willing to put some boots on the ground to keep anyone from damaging the elevator.

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Maybe the heroine of your story happens to live in a reality that "Press" gangs and shanghaiing are common. Because the military at the time was a less than desirable occupation. And she was in the wrong place at the right time.
Seems unlikely. Combat operations in one of the most technically complex and hostile environments imaginable doesn't seem like the kind of thing where you want to trust your life to people you've snatched from a bar and are forcing to do their jobs at gunpoint. Nowadays most decent militaries don't even want to rely on draftees/conscripts - it's volunteer professionals all the way.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:28 PM   #97
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This is an interesting possibility, IMO. UN peacekeepers are whatever troops governments feel like contributing, operating under whatever rules of engagement their governments feel like imposing.
Usually they are from third world countries looking to earn a bit of extra cash, and 'peacekeeping' usually implies that things are already peaceful and just need someone to keep an eye on things with "not getting involved in a war" as their No1 priority.
But conceptually there's no reason why a first-rate military couldn't contribute some of their Tier-1 troops with orders that if trouble breaks out they pull a camo cover over the blue helmet and wipe out any troublemakers sharpish. E.g. if there was something fragile and of vital importance to their nation stuck in the middle of the peacekeeping zone - like perhaps a space elevator. If the space elevator was in Kenya and civil war broke out there, China/Russia/US might not want to invade or take responsibility for fixing the mess but might be willing to put some boots on the ground to keep anyone from damaging the elevator.


Seems unlikely. Combat operations in one of the most technically complex and hostile environments imaginable doesn't seem like the kind of thing where you want to trust your life to people you've snatched from a bar and are forcing to do their jobs at gunpoint. Nowadays most decent militaries don't even want to rely on draftees/conscripts - it's volunteer professionals all the way.
Both good points.
"Peackeeping" troop commitments are political statements and most countries commit troops to those missions for political reasons and grandstanding, rather than operational military goals. Which is one reason why top-tier militaries are rarely found in those missions. Not sure how easy it would be for some country to slip in "ringers" for covert ops but it sounds like a sweet concept for a techno thriller.

Likewise, these days there are few missions for why top tier militaries could even use involuntary troops. There are cheaper and more effective ways of soaking up bullets and shrapnel. ;-)
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:51 AM   #98
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After digesting this thread and a bunch of other material, I've got a basic military setup that I think I can render believably. We've got a United Earth Space Corps with an orbital operations base in Near Earth Orbit. My protagonist is part of a multidisciplinary team from a variety of countries and specializations.

So here's my next question. What's Boot Camp likely to look like for soldiers who will be deployed in space? Will it still be carried out groundside because most of its purpose is psychological anyway? Or would Boot Camp be held in a microgravity environment to facilitate the skills needed for freefall combat?
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:59 AM   #99
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I'd go for a two-stage process. Ground first to weed out the obviously unsuitable, and then orbital advanced training.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:03 PM   #100
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I'd go for a two-stage process. Ground first to weed out the obviously unsuitable, and then orbital advanced training.

This would be similar to the Submarine Service in the Navy.
Failure of phase 2 might not get you booted from the space force, but might cause you to end up in a (? ground/station ?) support assignment.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:32 PM   #101
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I think it depends on the cost of rides on your space elevator and the cost of your sealed environments. Some ground screening, a Hell week or whatever, is probably cheaper on the ground but probably not if the average family could afford to vacation in space annually.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:25 PM   #102
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Two stages.
Possibly three.
Boot camp is to weed out those that don't make good soldiers.
Space training would determine suitability for active space operations.
If you're still thinking *elite* specialty team, then you'd need a third level of special-focus training (to weed out the merely good in favor of the great) like the US SEALS...

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Old 11-23-2012, 03:33 PM   #103
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More military ? hmm not sure that would help make the world a better place.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:04 PM   #104
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More military ? hmm not sure that would help make the world a better place.
By providing food for thought for people willing to exercise the gray matter.
We *are* talking about a Science Fiction Story.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:48 AM   #105
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Two stages.
Possibly three.
Boot camp is to weed out those that don't make good soldiers.
Space training would determine suitability for active space operations.
If you're still thinking *elite* specialty team, then you'd need a third level of special-focus training (to weed out the merely good in favor of the great) like the US SEALS...
I like three stages. Good.

Now I've just got to figure out what kinds of stuff would be involved in freefall combat training. How to shoot your enemy without punching a hole in the ship wall?
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