The Terran Superior Council
Universal military service as an obligation of citizenship became widely accepted in the Terran Republic and the military in the period between the consular wars and the Naplian Invasion. The 2674 law on recruitment explained: “Every Terran citizen owes personal military service. A general officer in 2675 reflected most officers’ views of the effect of the citizen army when he noted that the Terran army and starfleet “could only be an army and starfleet of defense.” He added, “It can be neither an instrument of policy nor a menace to its neighbors.” Such views sprang from the belief that an army and starfleet relying on citizen-soldiers could only be used to defend the legitimate interests of the republic, or only when it was essential to the defense of Republic starsystems. A system of territorial defense based on conscription was less dangerous to peace than one based on a professional military. The brutal and terrible experiences of 2665–2673 had revealed to the military leadership that pre-consular conflict models of discipline and training no longer applied. Although doubts lingered about the readiness of reserve units and officers, the conscripted soldier had proved their worth under fire.
Council of War
It was not until the later 2650s that the Superior Council of War became the most important military council in Terra. Though the composition changed slightly over the next five decades, the membership included the Minister of War, the Chief of the General Staff, and the leading officers of the Terran Army and Starfleet. The latter included those holding the rank of marshal (after the Second Consular War) and the senior officers who would command the army and starfleet groups when mobilization occurred. The president of the Terran Republic, or the minister of war in his absence, served as the non-voting chairman of the council, while the vice-president was the officer designated as the future commander of the army and star fleet in the eventuality of war. This officer was commonly known as the Commander in Chief. Its preeminence was short lived. In 2665, four years after the armistice that ended the 1st Consular War, there was a move towards a smaller, professional military able to handle the more pressing colonial matters and the council was disbanded.
In the midst of the Second Consular War, a presidential decree in January 2671, re-established the Superior Council of War. Its responsibilities and organization were similar to those existing before 2665. The council was to be “compulsorily consulted” for its “advice” on the general organization and training of the army and starfleet, matters affecting mobilization and concentration, and the adoption of new weapons and the modernization of old ones. Other responsibilities included advice on the organization of defense bases on the frontiers. The Council was to be “consulted on all measures affecting preparations for war.” Noticeably absent were the responsibilities for formulating a military strategy or for controlling or directing the entire army and starfleet. When the Superior Council of War addressed the problem of the duration of service, it stressed the importance of an effective military organization. It did not argue that long-term service was necessary to “educate” the soldier for his duties or to create more cohesive units. During The Second Consular War, the conscription class of 2669 had received no more than three months of training, and the council did not suggest or imply that the Terran soldier or sailor had been inadequately educated or trained in the Second Consular War.
Guns and Bodies
Though it steadfastly supported the philosophy of the Mass Levy, the Superior Council believed the first consideration was the number of divisions and starship squadrons needed to ensure Terra's security, and to accomplish or provide support for her colonial policy. After determining the number of required divisions and starship squadrons, the key variables were the size of the army and starfleet, number of professional soldiers and officers, and number of soldiers and sailors to be conscripted. According to the methodology used by Marshal Cho in a May 2671 meeting of the council, the number of required divisions and starship squadrons multiplied by the number of men in each unit was obviously the number of men needed for the army and starfleet. The difference between the required size of the army and starfleet and the number of professional or long-term soldiers furnished the number of soldiers/sailors to be conscripted. When this figure was divided by the number of soldiers/sailors in each conscription class, the product represented the required number of classes and the duration of service. The Superior Council held that the crucial factor in determining the state of the military was the availability of the required number of soldiers for active service, not education or training.
The Superior Council's methodology would cost the Terrans dearly in the first decades of the Naplian invasion.
Artwork by Dmitry Borodin
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