The subject of this blog says it all: I’m going to give some thoughts and ideas on how to streamline the military. This includes, but is not limited to, giving reasons WHY I’d do this and how this will be demonstrated in the upcoming space opera that I mentioned in my last blog post. So, let’s get to the skinny of the matter.
I also need to point out this centers around the United States military, as I’m a veteran of that and know that best.
What do the Army do? Air Force? How about the Marines? Navy? How many of these things that each branch does crosses over into the “category” of stuff that another branch does? Why does each branch have to be it’s own entity? There are a lot of answers to these questions and I’d like to delve into the idea behind this post’s subject.
There are currently four major branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. There can be an argument made for the Coast Guard and the National Guard (and Air National Guard), but the main four are what I’d like to discuss for now.
Traditionally speaking, the Army is the first branch of the military. They are what make up the ground forces in a conflict. Over time, they’ve included infantry, artillery, and have also branched out into some air operations. With their own special forces (the Delta Force, Rangers), they’re one of the longest existing branches of military types in existence. They also cover the ground (somewhat) of the Air Force… but more on that in a bit.
The Navy would be arguably as old as the Army, though I’d argue that the Army would exist longer because humanity would have formed armies long before they formed navies. The Navy is responsible for floating things and has branched out into aviation as well as some land operations (because navies need to operate FROM somewhere, right?). This treads on the toes of both the Air Force AND the Army… but again, more on that in a bit.
Spawned FROM the Navy are the Marines. A Marine is literally defined (historically) as “Naval infantry.” When the Navy needed some Army style protection on their ships, they created the Marines. The Marines no longer just supplement the Navy, they’ve got aviation, land operations, and hell, they’re the ones most likely to be doing the bulk of the fighting in wars at this point. I’m getting there…
Finally, the Air Force spawned from the Army, when World War II saw a lot of air operations, the Air Force was sprung into existence sometime in the 1940s to be the fourth branch of the military. Just like the other services, they’ve got things that tread on the purpose of the other three, which makes each branch a competitor, technically, with the others. Right?
Here’s where I want to go with this. Sure, all four branches are working for the USA, but they are also competing with each other. That competition sucks up resources, especially when there are four branches of the military each doing some sort of aviation (of which each branch IS doing). That’s four times the aircraft being created to accomplish the same goals. Why not remove the departments of defense (multiple) and just turn them into ONE Department of Defense?
Let’s wipe the slate clean. No Army. No Navy. No Air Force. No Marines. I’m going to start from scratch and build up what I think the USA (or militaries in general) should do, preparing for the future while serving the present.
There are three basic “ideas” that need to be covered. Fundamental things that can be broken into just three parts: water (as well as space) based operations, air based operations, and individual fighting/ground based operations. I call these three divisions Fleet, Flight, and Force (the three Fs of military organization).
Let’s start with the Fleet Division.
The Fleet is responsible for the operations (and all functions therein for the operation of) larger vessels. On a planetary note, this means that all the seagoing vessels fall under the Fleet. Aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, submarines, and larger troop transports would all be Fleet controlled. Looking slightly to the future, this would include things like spaceships that contain more than one to five passengers, assuming the need for a military in space. The Fleet would make sure to have functions that would be centered around the water aspect of planets and the larger spacefaring operations of an interstellar spacecraft.
This is the division that needs the least “rearranging” of ranks to make them unique and the enlisted ranks (from E1 to E9) are as follows: Crewman Recruit (CR), Crewman Apprentice (CA), Crewman (CN), Petty Officer Third Class (PO3), Petty Officer Second Class (PO2), Petty Officer First Class (PO1), Chief Petty Officer (CPO), Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) and Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO). The officer ranks (from O1 to O10) are as follows: Ensign (ENS), Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG), Lieutenant (LT), Commander (CDR), Captain (CAPT), Commodore (CMDRE), Rear Admiral (RADM), Vice Admiral (VADM), and Admiral (ADM). If you’re familiar with the US Navy, you’ll notice the absence of the “Lieutenant Commander” rank and the return of “Commodore.”
Since I’ve decided to go a little farther with this concept than simply coming up with the basics (because this if for a writing project), the Fleet would wear a blue version of a standard uniform for the new military, with blue “highlighted accessories,” which I’ll probably mention later.
Now let’s look at the Flight Division.
The Flight is responsible for any flying that needs to be done through the air, as well as any spacecraft that contains less than six passengers. A rule of thumb with this one is if it flies, it’s Flight. The reason for the six passenger cut off is because that when you get spacecraft that can carry more than five passengers (including the pilot), you’re really talking about a craft (for space, specifically) that would be too large to fall under the “fighter pilot” archetype I’m running with.
There are a lot of changes to ranks in the Flight compared to the US Air Force, but these changes to are to make them uniquely identifiable, rather than having to figure out “which captain kind” you’re referring to. The enlisted Flight ranks are (from E1 to E9) as follows: Airman Basic (AB), Airman (AN), Airman First Class (AFC), Senior Airman (SAN), Technical Wing (TW), Master Wing (MW), Chief Master Wing (CMW), and Command Chief Master Wing (CCMW). The same thing for the officer ranks being wildly different. The idea was to make them unique, so that when you were utilizing the rank of the individual, you’d immediately know to what division they belonged. The Flight officer ranks are (O1 to O10) as follows: Flight Officer (FO), Reeve (RV), Banneret (BAN), Sky Knight (SKNT), Knight (KNT), Ardian (ARD), Strategos (STR), Chief Marshal (CMAR), Air Marshal (AMAR), and Marshal (MAR).
As the Fleet is blue themed with the uniforms, the Flight utilize a golden color for theirs (or the primary color of yellow as the base).
Finally, let’s take a look at the Force Division.
The Force Division is responsible for any operation that requires an individual to be involved in security or combat on an individual level. So, the Force not only would replace the infantry but also be the special forces replacement. That would eliminate the need for the special forces because all Force, or at least the best of the best, would be the ones that fulfill that role. Also falling under the Force banner would be artillery and armor (or tanks).
While the Force ranks are similar to the US Army ranks, there are some differences that allow there to be no reuse of the same rank titles from the other two divisions. The enlisted ranks are (from E1 to E9) as follows: Private (PVT), Private First Class (PFC), Corporal (CPL), Specialist (SPC), Sergeant (SGT), Staff Sergeant (SSGT), Sergeant First Class (SGTFC), Master Sergeant (MSGT), and Sergeant Major (SGTMJR). The officer ranks are (from O1 to O10) as follows: Second Centurion (2CEN), First Centurion (1CEN), Legate (LEG), Major (MJR), Group Colonel (GCOL), Colonel (COL), Brigadier (BRIG), Major General (MGEN), Legate General (LGEN), and General (GEN).
The color associated with the Force Division in the standard military uniform is the basic red, rounding out the three primary colors.
But wait, there’s more!
As I’ve alluded to, the military as a whole will have a uniform. That’s the meaning of the word, actually, and thus it shall be. The uniform will be black pants, black footwear (I’m saying boots), and a charcoal or gray jacket with a high collar. The basic look I’m thinking of is this (for the jacket):
This is a Korean style turndown collar coat but there would be modifications, this is just the closest actual item I’ve seen to fit what I’m envisioning. Each Division would have the colors in accents around the coat and down the sides of the pants. Since this is a futuristic envisioning, I’m also envisioning that the enlisted ranks are no longer actual collar devices but instead they have two LED readouts (small). Each Division has their own color (blue, yellow, red) for the display and the enlisted ranks would be able to be changed without having to completely replace collar devices.
The LED displays on the collar would also probably work for the officers, though my original concept was to have actual collar devices in silver, gold, and copper (not in any particular order). The devices also were specific to a certain branch, so if the silver were for the Flight, they’d have all their officer ranks in silver (no transition from gold to silver like the modern day military). My concept was to have actual devices, too, instead of taking the lazy Star Trek: the Next Generation ”pips” route, which I just said were lazy.
Eliminating the divisions we have between military branches now are arbitrary at this point, because as I’ve pointed out, the US Navy does things from all other branches (SEALs do land combat, Naval aviators fly, and of course the branch is the Navy so they do water things). Also, the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Army technically compete for the same things, so why not just make them all the “Department of the Military”?
I’m sure someone will complain about tradition of this and tradition of that… move FORWARD, don’t look BACK. You’re either living for now and the future or you’re living in the past. I’d rather be looking forward.
Think on it.