Sunday, December 28, 2014

Building a Space Navy IV: Fleet Missions- Service Roles and Missions

Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays or whatever.  Some of us had birthdays since my last post, including Ken Burnside!  I'm thirty-eight!  Considering I was expected to die at thirty-two, I am enormously pleased.  Every birthday is a gift.
Just this one.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand:  The fleet missions for our UNSF and UNEC (Espatier Corps).  Because this section is so lengthy, I'm breaking it up into its constituent sections, starting with Service Roles and Missions.  In Conjunction, Why are their just two service branches?  Why just in space?  Are they just a glorified coast guard, or a real military?

In order to begin to answer these questions, I studied up a bit on how the UN is currently set up, how the UN Peacekeeping forces are set up, some problems they have, and some of the problems they face.  The results, were then combined with the meta-fiction considerations of what I wanted to focus on, what I thought would make a good story and a semi-plausible progression from today to Conjunction.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

Fist of all, the Peacekeepers are not a military, in the conventional sense.  The UNSF is more akin to Heinlien's Space Patrol in that they are an organization whose purpose is to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of military men. In this case, the dangerous weapons are not nukes or bio-nasties or anything, but the ultimate in WMDs: multi-ton, NTR rockets. 

This is an example of Jon's Law:
"Any interesting space drive is a weapon of mass destruction. It only matters how long you want to wait for maximum damage."
Caused be a piece of foam
I'll put it another way: Our little Patrol rocket uses a plain-vanilla chemfuel engine similar to what we have today. At a dry mass of 72 tons or so, going at its top velocity of 8.2 km/sec, it would hit something with the explosive power of almost two hundred thousand  kilograms of dynamite. Or, in the language of nuclear weapons, 200 kilotons.  That's the power of a couple of nuclear warheads, in case you were wondering. This is because, according to Robinson's Law
"Something hitting at 3 km/sec (kips) delivers kinetic energy broadly equal to its mass in TNT."
So yeah, the UN takes a dim view of its member nations running NTR rockets around at each other.  Other than that, peacekeepers, you know, keep the peace.  They ensure compliance with UN mandates, stabilize conflict regions so that the officially accepted government can catch its collective breath and get on with governing.  They do not invade; they neither take or hold territory, and they rarely, if ever, are expected to fire a shot in anger.  If they do fire, then the solids have hit the separators indeed.

Moving forward, the reason for the UN to only operate space-based forces is twofold.  First, the history of the UN Peacekeeping forces involved cleaning up after countless coups, juntas and other examples of why governments should fear their own militaries the most.  Since Naval/Marine forces are less likely to overthrow their governments, the UN&C only keeps a standing Space Force and Espatier Corps.  For planetary actions, they draw from a pool of national armed forces same as they do now.
This happens all. The. Time.
The other reason involves the UN&C's modified charter.  They only operate space forces, and the member nations only operate planetary forces.  The UN also does not maintain a nuclear arsenal, while the member nations may not operate nuclear powered spacecraft without a UN inspection team.  Since planetary attack is not nearly the turkey shoot that old school science fiction made it out to be, these trade-offs make the UNSF and a national nuclear powers about evenly matched, so tensions are theoretically reduced.

Theoretically.  It's gone all political.
 So now that we've established some of the setting-specific particulars of the UN's Not-military, we can move forward to their missions and service roles.

More outline!
    1. Service Roles & Missions
      1. UN Space Force
        1. Patrol major commercial orbits
        2. Convoy escort
        3. Patrol orbits of actively mined NEOs MBOs, KBOs and other potentially dangerous objects
        4. Operate and Maintain Navigation Lasers in Terran, Martian, Main Belt, Jovian and Chronian orbits
        5. Power Projection in orbital space of Main Belt and Saturn (Fleet in Being)
      2. UN Espatier Corps
        1. Space Expeditionary Force
          1. Mobile Fleet Contingent (Combined Arms)
          2. Peacekeeping Zone Contingent
        2. Space Force internal security
          1. Spacecraft security/boarding parties
          2. Security contingent at nav-laser installations
        3. Inspection Team security
          1. Nuclear spacecraft inspection teams
          2. Patrol craft boarding parties 
 Most of the above is self-explanatory.  A few curious notes: MBO means "Main Belt Object" if there is an official term for this, please let me know.  "Chronian" is used instead of "Saturnian" because the Chonians themselves prefer it. Which, of course, means I do.

Next time, we tackle Concept of Operations (CONOPS).  This involves chains of command and charts and stuff, so it could take awhile.  I will of course be unable to resist drawing spacecraft and other cool stuff, so I will probably post in the meantime.  Enjoy!



  1. These are truly fantastic. Keep them up! Both these and Crew as Mission Control have been fantastically useful for me.

  2. Glad you are enjoying everything! I've gotten inspiration from so many sources out there, it's gratifying to provide some.


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