Tacfleet: defending the borders, peace-keeping and protection of the United Federation of Planets.

The tactical element of the Starfleet – sometimes referred to as ‘Tac Fleet’- is the section of Starfleet responsible for the Peace-keeping and defensive roles. Tacfleet was formed after the Federation-Klingon war of 2257-58 after one-fifth of the United Federation of Planets was occupied by Klingon forces. It was only through fortuitous events on Qo'noS that caused the Klingons to withdraw that the Federation did not fall. Coupled with Section 31, Tac Fleet was formed to prevent another disasterous collapse of the border; to protect Eden from those that storm the walls to cause harm. After the explosion of Praxis, a secret meeting of Starfleet included the question of “mothballing the Starfleet”, to which the reply was that the “scientific and exploration” aspects would not be affected. This was a direct reference to the tactical arm having cutbacks. The Khitomer Accords, like its forefather the START Treaties, aimed to lower the amount of tactical assets both sides had. Starfleet decommissioned most of its older escorts and frigates, losing the dreadnoughts that were an anathema to the principal of the Federation. Only those systems with a peacetime role or were needed out of vital necessity were retained after the peace dividend of the 2295 Stardate 10000 Review.

Whilst most Starfleet ships have defensive systems, those in the tactical wing of Starfleet have specialised weapons systems in greater number. There is a greater presence of Starfleet Security and Security Operations in the Tac Fleet than the rest of Starfleet. The Tac Fleet is not a part of Starfleet that the Federation would idealistically want, but unfortunately circumstances dictate that there is a need for defence against those who would try to storm Eden’s gates.

Author notes: Tac Fleet comes from the Fandom of the 1980s. This is a very nasty tightrope act for me between having tactical vessels that Starfleet would NEED to have as a deterrant and protection force for the Federation - especially after Star Trek: Discovery showed the Klingon-Federation War of 2257 - 58 cost a FIFTH of the Federation and a THIRD of the Starfleet. Surely you'd beef up your defences after that? Starfleet relies primarily on INTELLIGENCE and DIPLOMATIC methods, with DEFENSIVE-ONLY assets used as THE LAST RESORT. After the Earth-Romulan war of 2156 - 2160 there was a thought, like after the Great War of 1914 - 18, that this was the last war. We'd find a better way. 100 years after neglecting the Klingons they destroy a communications relay and start the Battle of the Binary Stars. This leads to about a year of fighting. This is resolved in 2257 by a covert mission to Qo'noS. Yet in 2266 there's another declaration of war between the Federation and Klingons which is only stopped by the Treaty of Organia. After TWO declarations of war in a decade, even the Vulcans would logically be making the case for defensive ships and trained peacekeepers. Tac Fleet, or Starfleet Tactical, would be the result.

I've removed non-PC terms such as "destroyer" (replaced with escort or frigate) and strike/assault terms as well. Dreadnoughts are a difficult thing; Star Trek removed the "Dreadnought Entente NCC-2120" comm-chatter from ST: TMP Director's Cut, only having one as the villain USS Vengeance in Star Trek Into Darkness. I've compromised by getting rid of the Federation class and having mostly Ascension class Light Dreadnoughts in low numbers. Komsomolsk class Dreadnought will be a number of ships, which cease production after Khitomer. Ulysses class was only seen in Klingon Academy and is a Heavy, or Super, Dreadnought numbering no more than half a dozen.

Psychology of Starfleet tactics (or why we need to stop quoting Sun Tzu):

  • Prime aspects:

  • Gather Intelligence.
  • Diplomacy and dialogue.
  • Deterrence.
  • Defence by degrading and subduing the aggressor.
  • Don't kill or destroy the other side; prevent them from fighting so they may resume talking.
  • Escort the aggressor out of Federation space.
  • Resume dialogue. Establish Neutral Zone or Demilitarised Zone to give both sides a pause.

  • Sun Tzu teaches about actual fighting. The goal here is to talk and not need to fight at all. Less like Kung Fu, Aikido, Krav Maga and KFM, more like Judo; use aggressor's tactics against them and subdue them. Don't kill or destroy them. STOP thinking like 20th and 21st Century people and START thinking like enlightened 23rd and 24th Century ones. LEARN from the mistakes made in the past and present to be BETTER in the future. Be compassionate, wise and restrained.

  • Not about offence in other territories or slaughter. This is about defending our borders and our territory only. Degrading the enemy's ability to fight, until they want to negotiate or withdraw.

  • Attack supply lines and degrade the vanguard of an invasion to encapsulate and capture the enemy. All about DEFENCE and getting the enemy to withdraw. Not about surrender or humiliation. No 'winners', 'losers', 'victors' or 'defeated'. Never about retribution against civilians. Abide by Rules of Engagement, including proportional response, or face criminal procedure. No matter Starfleet crewman, captain or admiral.

  • Phasers are preferred defensive weapons. Stun. Precision weapons on starships to degrade threat vessel ability to fight. Photon torpedoes only used to smash down the shields first, then phasers for precision.

  • This isn't about wrecking the aggressor's fleet and killing thm all. The military tactics of a nation should reflect the ethics, laws and doctrines of that nation. In the case of the United Federation of Planets it is to degrade and subdue an aggressor with minimal force, contain them and escort them back out of Federation space with minimal harm to either side; brains over brawn. Let diplomacy, negotiation and compromise win over conflict. Where a compromise isn't possible or would conflict with the values of the Federation, a deadlock is declared and both sides either agree to disagree, or a Neutral Zone will give pause to both sides peacefully.

  • EVOLVED HUMANE SENSIBILITIES: all about getting the enemy to withdraw peacefully with zero or minimal loss of life on both sides. This isn't about a modern Trafalgar with thousands dead as a bloody nose deterrant, or scorched Earth policy subjugating the defeated nation. This has been shown historically to breed hatred and repeat the cycle.

  • The fear in war is that if you show mercy and let an enemy walk away with their soldiers and ships, you'll look weak to both thm and your own people. And the enemy will be emboldened to return tomorrow. Through Starfleet, the Federation aims to LEARN about their neighbours, and those who would disagree with Federation values, to the point of aggression. TALKING is the chosen next move. If negotiation and diplomacy look like they might fail, deterrence is the next stage with monitoring stations and defensive starships. We never invade or act aggressively, only defensively, using our technology to shield us from harm and to disarm the aggressor.

  • Militaristic terms used for aggressive purposes are shunned: The term 'defenders' is used instead of destroyers, 'dreadnought' instead of battleship. Terms like 'assault ship', 'battlecruiser', 'battleship' or 'destroyer' are not used at all. The very language suggests a willingness to kill, harm and destruction even if the starship was peacefully in spacedock. LANGUAGE has to be as deeply considered as any other action. SOFT POWER such as aid and trade can also help to diffuse tension between the Federation and rival nations.

  • Starfleet is like the POLICE, not the military. We aim to talk the other person down from aggression. If that fails, we have the taser or pepper spray to degrade their ability to fight. We then have retraint techniques to peacefully subdue them. Justice needs to rule the day, not the force of arms and body count.

  • Even the medals and awards given for bravery etc. in combat have to be in keeping with modern Federation values of restraint, selflessness and helping others, not about how many people on the other side you killed. The awards and medals need to encourage the RIGHT behaviours.

    Fleet Admiral Charles Lawrence Buckingham.

    Admiral Buckingham is the current head of Starfleet Tactical. A decorated strategist and tactician, Buckingham was a natural leader from entering Starfleet Academy. Buckingham pursued the path of Tacfleet and command, pushing himself and his teams forward to promotion and success. Buckingham has commanded escorts, cruisers and dreadnoughts; he fought in the border clashes of the 2270s; the Klingons, the Romulans and Orion Syndicate in the Tabula Rasa crisis; more recently the Romulan Crisis.

    Buckingham wants to become C-in-C, beaten recently to the position by Irina Khmalnova, the reformer. Charles Buckingham fights the corner for the tactical aspects of Starfleet, working closely with the other aspects of Starfleet, with the politicians in the Federation Council and the private corporations to get new starships designed and constructed, as well as older starships refitted or retired. Buckingham insists upon the best ships being available to defend the Federation. He is a hands-on Fleet Admiral, serving aboard Ulysses class superdreadnoughts, Komsomolsk class dreadnoughts or Lexington class command ships. From this on-scene approach, he feels he has a better idea of the 'big picture' of the strategic situation of the Federation than a desk-riding Admiral in San Francisco would.

    Buckingham is all for diplomacy and peaceful co-existence, but from the position of a mailed fist within a velvet glove. The violent modern history of the nineties and open years of the 24th Century all showed there are nations out there who would do harm to the Federation and her interests. Buckingham respects the reformers, using his own prestige to influence the winds of change. In order to know which way the evolution should go, Buckingham urged his son Maxwell to green light the recent Sheffield mission to study the Beta Quadrant. Once more, Buckingham uses the resources at his disposal to get the results he needs.

    Starfleet Security Operations

    Starfleet Security Operations, formerly Military Assault Command Operations: TacFleet has incorporated the Federation Starfleet Marine Corp (FSMC) and former MACO units into their umbrella Security Operations designation. These are both Starfleet and FSMC-trained individuals whose purpose is to be able to fight to defend the Federation and its interests in space, on a starship or space station or on any planetary condition there is. The FSMC are identifiable by their rank structure with colonels and generals rather than captains and admirals. Several starship classes in the TacFleet spacialise in the delivery of Security Operations units. Athabasca, Jenshahn and Youngblood LPD classes have specialised barrack facilities for delivering Security Operations units whilst the Ark Royal class in its assault ship configuration is a LHA with enhanced shuttle facilities to land more Security Operations in environments where transporters are degraded or do not work. FSMC personnel operate with Starfleet-equivalent ranks when operating aboard starships.

    Starfleet ships assigned as MEU transports such as the Athabasca will carry an entire Marine unit; in the Athabasca's specific case, 2 Marine companies (400 troops). This is not a Security Operations detachment, it's a Marine unit. Security Operations are for a starship's own organic "marine" detachment, which stays with the ship for its duty/patrol station. When it comes to planetary liberations and ground conflicts, Starfleet Marine units are transported there in our Athabasca, Youngblood and Ptolemy with troop transport pods. It is the Earth MACOs who were incorporated/folded into into the Federation SMC in 2161.

    The MACOs came to prominence following the Xindi attack on Earth. Enterprise NX-01 was sent to investigate the threat and the MACOs were there to protect the NX-01 crew and aid in the defeat of the Xindi. In the event the Xindi attack was never followed up on. The Federation Starfleet Marine Corp continued to serve with Starfleet through the Romulan War and later into the Klingon Cold War. A company of FSMC accompanied the Enterprise-A to Nimbus III to rescue the hostages. A rogue Starfleet Marine officer, Colonel West, attempted to keep the Cold War with the Klingons alive by trying to disrupt the negotiations at Camp Khitomer in 2293.

    By 2312, starships of Starfleet still have Starfleet Marines present on certain missions, their indigo undershirts giving them away despite being merged more than ever into Starfleet under the title Security Operations. Nathaniel Hawkins' grandfather was in the FSMC and taught him all about the need to protect those people and values that you stand for; fighting was something you had to do, not something you wanted to do. The TacFleet and FSMC grew to prime levels by the 2280s with two Cold Wars raging at once. After Khitomer there were those politicians who argued that the FSMC should be cut or even disbanded following West's treachery. Calm heads prevailed as people remembered the sacrifices made by so many FSMC in the Tabula Rasa campaign; a sizeable number were trapped keeping the Metar at bay to allow for the evacuation of Federation forces. Every year the holders-of-the-Line are remembered with honour.

    HMS Starling

    MACO Unit Number of MACO Typical commanding officer rank
    Fire Team 4 NCO
    Squad/Section 8 - 13 Squad Leader
    Platoon 26 - 64 Platoon Leader
    Company 80 - 225 Captain/Major
    Battalion 300 - 1300 Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel
    Regiment/Brigade 3000 - 5000 Lt Colonel/Colonel/Brigadier/Brigadier General
    Division 10 000 - 15 000 Major General
    Corps 20 000 - 45 000 Lieutenant General
    Field Army 80 000 - 200 000 General
    Army Group 400 000 - 1 000 000 Field Marshal
    Army Region 1 000 000 - 3 000 000 Field Marshal
    Theatre 30 00 000 - 10 000 000 Field Marshal

    Author’s notes:

    In light of Enterprise these guys seems to be the mysterious indigo-shirted Starfleet personnel in Star Trek V and Colonel West. West was supposed to be Oliver North and a Marine; those guys in Trek V were definitely supposed to be marines and their costumes showed they were referred to as 'commandos'. I have called them Security Operations up until now but in hindsight they ought to be Federation Starfleet Marine Corp. Of course these Starfleet Commandos have army ranks, not naval. And those indigo shirts in Trek V had ensign insignia. Although Star Trek Beyond clarified that MACOs were disbanded after the formation of the Federation, they became the Federation Starfleet Marine Corp (FSMC) and have started to be incorporated into Starfleet at this point.

    Star Trek VI and Star Trek (2009) were the movies that explicitly referred to there being more to Starfleet than just exploration, diplomacy and scientific studies. Star Trek: The Motion Picture explicitly mentioned “Dreadnought Entente, NCC 2120” amongst the comm.-chatter at Epsilon Nine. Captain Pike referred to Starfleet as “a Peace-keeping and humanitarian armada”. These are the ships that keep the peace; the so-called “Big Stick”.

    Current capital ship compliment of 2322:

  • 49 x Belknap class
  • 10 x Ascension class
  • 5 x Komsomolsk class
  • 2 x Ulysses class
  • 11 x Ark Royal class
  • 27 x Athabasca class
  • 6 x Lexington class
  • 10 x Jenshahn class
  • 10 x Youngblood class
  • 4 x Menahga class

    All shared between the 9 fleets comprising the Starfleet. Massive Dynamic (yeah the same one) has lobbied hard to Starfleet top brass to accept the Belknap Family ™ as the gold standard of tactical starships. As with the Constitution class variants beforehand (such as Federation class), Massive Dynamic has marketed that the Belknap Family are purpose designed for the defensive role and the commonality of parts and designs allow for easier maintenance and faster refit times. Transferrable skills between ship classes is also one of the strong points made by the corporate execs, citing Menahga as a classic example of where things went wrong. A corporate working alliance with Tagruato Corporation has allowed for shipyards to be freed up to refurbish the Belknap fleet in a realistic 24 month timeframe.

    HMS Iron Duke battleship bell. Winchester Cathedral 2006.

    U.S.S. Jupp. Click here for U.S.S. Ark Royal and the tactical elements of Starfleet. Click here for U.S.S. Akula.
    Click here for U.S.S. Scimitar. Click here for U.S.S. Phobos. Click here for Hornet class.
    Click here for U.S.S. Athabasca. Click here for U.S.S. Youngblood. Menahga class.
    Click here for U.S.S. Ingram. Click here for U.S.S. Ulysses. Lexington class.
    Click here for U.S.S. Belknap. Click here for U.S.S. Ascension. Komsomolsk class dreadnought.

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