The Federation At War
The United Federation of Planets is a coalition of worlds joined together in the name of peace and exploration. When these principles are threatened however the organization is quite prepared to go to war.
The United Federation of Planets, as a democratic nation state, 1s built upon certain guarantees and securities. Chief among these cons1derat1ons 1s a pledge to keep the Federation's citizens and territories safe from attack. The Federation. however, also stands for peace and cooperation - thus 1t 1s only 1n extreme circumstances that the organization will allow itself to be forced into war, and usually only then in order to fight for its survival
The Federation w11 1 always try to seek a d1plomat1c solution to combative situations. leading some other races attempts at a non-violent resolution fail, however, the Federation's m11tary forces 1n Starfleet are willing and more than able to go head to head against threats to their territory and c1t1zens. Blood origins Indeed, it can be said that the Federation itself was born out of war. Earth's early and deadly contact with the Romulan Star Empire led to a protracted war circa 2160. After its eventual resolution, Earth was driven to form the United Federation of Planets with the sovereign worlds of Vulcan, Tellar and Andor, most likely out of the need for mutual protection, and to present a united front against any other would be aggressors.
As already noted, the Federation views the concept of open warfare as the final solution to any potentially inflammatory situation. Incursions and actions by outside forces that would meet with swift ar1d brutal reprisals from such nations as the Klingon Empire for example are instead dealt with in a careful, controlled manner by the Federation. The Talarian skirmishes of the 2350's over the Galen system the Tholian attack on the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 in2268, and the Ferengi theft of a T-9 energy converter in 2364, are all met with a strong, but non-aggressive, Federation stance 1n order to resolve the conflicts.
No love of battle
Species such as the Jem'Hadar and the Klingons may delight 1n f1nd1ng new enemies to fight, but the Federation looks first to defuse tensions before any shots are fired. No matter how hard the Federation tries, however, peaceful and non-violent resolutions are not always viable options. As we I as fulfilling its sc1ent1f1c and exploratory functions, Starfleet 1s the Federation's armed force w1th1n its borders; at many points in its history, Starfleet vessels and crews have found themselves on the sharp end of aggressive attack. A situation of undeclared war, but open host1ht1es, exists between the Federation and Tholian Assembly for many years, following an incident 1n 2268. Nearly a century later, in 2353 the Tholians attack Federation outposts, and the state of armed conflict continues well into the 24th-century before an apparent cessation. In their various encounters with the species known as the Borg, the Federation has also learned to its cost that some adversaries cannot be bargained or reasoned with.
Warfare on an open footing has been a sad - part of the history of the Federation Unltke the border conflicts with the Klingon, Tholians. and Talarians the organization has regrettably gone to war with its enemies on equal terms. In battles such as these, including hostilities with the Cardassian Union, the Tzenkethi, and the Dominion, the conflict 1s not merely a defensive action reacting to enemy attack and protecting established assets - 1t 1s also a plan of battle to defeat a foe as quickly as possible. Federation forces will target military and 1ndustnal targets, working to avoid collateral damage and the deaths of civilian non-combatants. Starfleet's rules of engagement are quite clear. in the first instance, starship captains are ordered not to fire until fired upon, but once a state of war is declared, the enemy 1s to be neutralized with all possible speed. As well as steering clear of non-military targets, the Federation also prohibits its forces from using certain classes of weaponry because of their deleterious effects; deadly munitions such as b1ogenic agents and isolytic subspace devices are banned from Starfleet arsenals.
Starfleet ships are primarily constructed to perform patrol, defence, and exploratory missions, but during wartime those functions can be altered to purely military operation, re~1tt1ng vessels with extra offensive and defensive systems Most Starfleet vessels, such as the Galaxy-class and Sovereign-class starsh1ps, are built to follow this multi-tasking mode, but the Federation is not without its purebred warships, such as the Defiant class, ong1nally designed to combat the Borg, and the prototype Prometheus class, with its dynamic multivector assault mode capability that allows attack on three fronts.
For many years, up until 2366, the Federation fights an ongoing and harsh conflict with the Cardassian Union over disputed terntones; like the organization's previous conflicts with the Klingon Empire, this confrontation is only ended by the ratification of a peace treaty, which even after its confirmation 1s considered shaky at best. The rivalries of this conflict rise again in 2373. when Cardassia allies itself with the Gamma Quadrant's Dominion, thus plunging the Federation, and indeed the whole of the Alpha Quadrant. into the most protracted and costly war 1t has ever seen. This brutal conflict severely tests the mettle of the Federation's peaceful ideals, leading some of its c1t1zens to question its democratic principles and, 1n the case of Starfleet's Admiral Leyton, even attempt to forcibly 1nst1gate a rule of martial law 1n order to strengthen it. By the close of hostilities in 2375, the Federation remains unbowed before the Dominion. but at a terrible cost to life and property. In this horrific fight. the entire Alpha Quadrant learns once more the harshest of lessons, one that the people of Earth learned during their savage history of conflict. In war, there are no winners or losers, only innocent victims and casualties.