Last revised: 2002-06-03
Thanks to reconaissance scouts and covert operatives who have successfully contacted Ferengi information merchants in the target territory, we have obtained crucial intelligence information on the layout and political structure of this newly discovered galaxy. We have learned that their galaxy, rather than being dominated by a central government, is fragmented into hundreds of tiny states, most of which are centred around a single star system, and many of which are in a perpetual state of war or cold war with one another. This will potentially be very useful, as we can take advantage of pre-existing inter-species tensions to pit one state against another. We project that the best way to conquer their territory will be through a piecemeal campaign in which we capture small states one at a time, moving outward from our entry point.
As a necessary precursor to this campaign, we must secure a beach head in enemy territory. Once the Emperor grants his assent, we will go forward with the operation.
Phase 1: Secure beach head: Assemble a small fleet dedicated to this operation. Given the fact that private corporations can build fleets of thousands of warships (see the Trade Federation's globe-encircling blockade fleet in TPM), and the fact that we were able to build 60% of DS2 in just six months, it seems self-evident that we could easily construct a fleet of several thousand star destroyers in a few months. However, such a large force is probably not warranted in this case, and an insignificant diversion of 100 Star Destroyers from existing sector fleets would be more than adequate. We could deploy these ships (along with necessary support and fighter craft) as well as several Golan Arms battle stations to the beach head without significant effects on our domestic battle readiness. Such forces could easily be deployed in as little as 48 hours.
This 100-ship fleet, as insigificant as it may be to a galactic Empire (by volume, it is smaller than a single Executor-class vessel), would nonetheless represent the largest single battle force to ever appear in the Federation's territory by a significant margin. Remember that the Federation includes vessels such as fighters, shuttles, and runabouts in its ship counts, and that each Star Destroyer carries 72 fighters and/or shuttles and gunships, so a fleet of 100 Star Destroyers would carry 7200 light vessels. In other words, using Federation assessment methods, this would be a 7300-ship fleet.
Once the beach head is secured, we will have a task force in enemy space with a supply line passing through the wormhole into our space. Strategically placed battle stations or mines could be used to prevent unauthorized incursions into our territory, although it should be noted that given their slow propulsion technology and our highly dispersed civilization, an enemy vessel could enter our space and spend years or decades in transit before encountering an inhabited system, never mind one that is strategically valuable.
Phase 2: Disperse enemy forces: Keep half the fleet stationed at the wormhole, and use the other half to besiege small, remote Federation outposts, colonies, and bases, while permitting them to broadcast distress calls. This will force the enemy to choose between the following:
Maintain strong core defense fleets and ignore the distress calls. This will politically destabilize the Federation, as outlying member systems will lose their faith in the protection of the Federation. We can expect multiple planetary secessions and surrenders in this event.
Send ships to besieged outposts. This will have the effect of dispersing their forces over their entire territory. We can easily redeploy ships from any point in their territory to any other point in their territory in mere hours because of the speed of hyperdrive, but trips to outlying sectors will take their warp-driven starships weeks or months. Such dispersal would leave their core defense fleets severely weakened.
We expect that the "soft targets", small scale, and low casualty count of this operation will be misinterpreted by Federation policitians as an Imperial reluctance to engage in a full-scale war. It is our hope that they will foolishly attempt to pursue diplomatic negotiations as a result. The timetable for this phase is 1 week. If they choose to disperse their forces, this will provide time for their ships to travel beyond direct transmission range of their home bases. If they choose to maintain their core fleets, this will provide time for negative political repercussions to develop.
A secondary benefit of this operation will be to enhance our intelligence gathering, since the lightly defended colonies may potentially be a rich source of strategic data, technology samples, captives for questioning, etc.
Phase 3: Cut their communications: Deploy a small group of 500 hyperdrive-equipped fighters, shuttles, or gunships to destroy critical sections of their subspace relay network. This network is extremely vulnerable to attack for two reasons:
The relay stations are mostly undefended, thus making them vulnerable to any vessel which carries weapons.
The small number of defended stations are found in territories which border with local antagonist parties such as the Romulans and Cardassians. They have never anticipated an attack upon the relay stations deep in their own territory, since none of their enemies ever had the speed or numbers to mount thousands of simultaneous, crippling strikes on the relay stations deep in their territory. Until now.
It is impractical to hold up the entire campaign until the relay network is mostly or completely destroyed, but we can surgically "slice" sections out of it which will cripple its effectiveness and isolate entire sectors from one another. This bulk of this operation can be conducted within 6 hours, after which we expect that their communications will be so severely impacted that their wide-area command and control network will be effectively incapacitated. Phase 4 would commence at that time, although the destruction of Federation subspace relays would remain an ongoing, independent operation.
Phase 4: Pre-emptive first strike: Redeploy the ships from phase 2 into a mobile marauder force, still composed of the same 50 capital ships and their attached fighter group of 3600 ships (remember that with long-range communications cut, the Federation has no way of knowing that these ships are not still besieging their remote colonies, and phase 2 was only a diversion anyway). Use this marauder force to move through enemy territory and attack critical strategic installations in force. The Federation's enemies have historically attacked in piecemeal fashion, with small-scale attacks on outlying installations such as DS9, or harmless "Doolittle" attacks upon important installations (such as the symbolic but ineffective Breen attack on Federation HQ). This is partially due to the weak propulsion technology of their enemies: the Federation can usually detect inbound attackers in time to intercept them en route to a deep target. However, their ships are far too slow to intercept our forces en route, even if they can detect them. Therefore, we will use our superior mobility to conduct hit and run attacks upon the following, in order:
Their military leadership: Destroy Starfleet HQ and its immediate surroundings with orbital bombardment.
Logistical support facilities: Destroy starbases, antimatter supply depots, and starship refueling facilities.
Industrial facilities: Destroy shipyards, manufacturing facilities, material refineries, and critical mining colonies.
It may not be necessary to use hit and run tactics, since preliminary intelligence reports indicate that Federation ship weapons are extremely weak relative to our own1, and that their primary weapons may not even penetrate our unshielded hulls2. However, we should be prudent, and plan the campaign in such a manner that its success is not dependent upon the accuracy of this intelligence data. Naturally, if we determine upon initial contact that the intelligence data is correct, we can employ even more conservative numbers of ships and pull back most of our forces, as a handful of Star Destroyers would be sufficient.
In either case, this operation can be conducted over a two week period, although the timetable for this phase of the operation is flexible and is subject to change. While we would obviously prefer to capture their star systems intact, it is always possible that they will refuse to capitulate even after witnessing our superiority. If this is the case, and this phase of the campaign continues until the point that their military-industrial infrastructure is completely destroyed, we will progress to phase 5.
Phase 5: Land invasion: The Federation has seen fit to concentrate virtually its entire military into its Starfleet. Even its ground troops (as seen in Siege of AR-588) are part of Starfleet rather than a separate branch of its military. Most planets (even Earth, its capital) are completely demilitarized, and any troop deployments would come from orbiting starships (as seen in “Paradise Lost”). Its ground forces are pitifully inadequate to resist full scale invasions, and there seem to be no standing armies or militias of any kind. Given our tactical superiority in infantry armament and equipment, mobile armour (including war droids), and artillery, it should be quite easy to conquer key systems such as Earth and Vulcan (in which the bulk of their government and military/industrial/scientific resources seems to reside) through conventional invasion, without sustaining heavy casualties.
Phase 5 alternate: Terror campaign: If ground troops are unavailable for some reason, or the Emperor wishes to use the Federation as an example to its neighbours, we may elect to use orbital bombardment or superweapons (if available) to destroy or depopulate prominent, heavily populated planets in enemy territory one by one, until enemy capitulation occurs. It seems that the Federation has never suffered the total depopulation of a heavily populated world. They have lost colonies and outposts, but they have never witnessed the total elimination of tens or hundreds of billions of citizens. We expect that the Federation's political leadership will not have the political will to soldier on in the face of such losses, and that they would be subject to enormous political pressure from within.
Phase 6: Consolidation: After securing the Federation's surrender, we can consolidate our gains with the following operations:
Deploy sensor probe networks and long-range communications relay networks (it may be possible to refit remaining portions of their existing networks to Imperial standards, but if not, we may have to construct such networks ourselves).
Construct military bases, supply depots, and industrial facilities (again, it may be possible to refit existing facilities, if they capitulate before they are all destroyed).
Initiate cultural normalization programs such as settlement and intermingling, economic recovery programs, and propaganda/entertainment broadcasts. The Federation will be far easier to integrate into Imperial society than its non-human neighbours, due to the fact that despite its political and species-inclusive rhetoric, it is already a highly centralized, conformist society in which the military and the civilian government are virtually indistinguishable and in which virtually all power rests in human hands.
Aggressive assimilation programs will reduce the likelihood of sustained guerilla operations and other impediments to the stable acquisition of Federation territory as a base of operations in their galaxy. Once we have consolidated our gains, we can take adjacent territories one at a time using similar methods, systematically "fanning out" from the Federation and its associated territories (unless, of course, those territories are willing to sign treaties, pay tribute to the Empire, and avoid direct conflict).
This type of campaign would normally be prolonged and costly, both in terms of men and material. However, there are three crucial differences between our campaign against the New Republic and our campaign against this "Federation":
The New Republic had hyperdrive technology, and planetary shields capable of withstanding prolonged capital ship bombardments. However, the Federation has neither. Reinforcements will arrive in days, weeks or months instead of minutes, hours or days. Planets can be attacked immediately instead of requiring weeks of bombardment in order to overcome their shields. This environment is ideal for large numbers of simultaneous hit-and-run attacks on strategic targets.
The New Republic had tens of thousands of heavy capital ships, hundreds of thousands of light capital ships, and millions of fighters at its disposal. However, the Federation only has a few thousand ships (including fighters, shuttles, and runabouts), and a few hundred planets under its control. Even the largest force in their experience (such as the Dominion/Breen force which made its last stand at Cardassia Prime) might contain only a dozen of what we would regard as genuine capital ships. The enormously reduced scale of the conflict means that the entire campaign can occur in a much shorter timeframe than would normally be required.
The New Republic always responded immediately and in force to any Imperial encroachments. However, the Federation has a long history of preferring negotiation over open hostilities, and can be expected to cede numerous concessions to a hostile force before committing themselves to a full-scale war. By the time they recognize the severity of the threat, it will be too late.
The New Republic had Imperial weapons, shield, and construction technology. The Federation has none of those technologies, and every indication is that their tactical capabilities are vastly inferior to our own.
Sean Robertson, for scaling data on the "Pegasus" asteroid, as well as a couple of other miscellaneous suggestions.
1The official SW2ICS quantifies the Acclamator's heavy turbolasers at 200 gigatons max per shot, and light turbolasers at 6 megatons per shot (also note that since turbolasers do not arc down in gravity and are therefore massless, the Millenium Falcon angular acceleration incident indicates light turbolaser yield of at least 3.5 megatons, and that BDZ's require high gigaton-range yield for heavy turbolasers). In comparison, the Enterprise-D would need most of its 275 photon torpedoes to destroy a hollow asteroid of 5-10km diameter; an act requiring roughly 30-180 megatons even if we disregard the fact that it's hollow (between 90 and 650 kilotons per torpedo; see the Season 7 "Pegasus" Canon Database entry for more details). However, other incidents (eg. ST6 and "Night Terrors") indicate much lower yields, and they never demonstrated this capability, so its validity rests on Riker's infallibility. In any case, 1 shot from one of an Acclamator's light guns is many times more powerful than a photon torpedo, and 1 shot from a heavy gun is equivalent to hundreds of thousands of photon torpedoes.
2The SWE describes Imperial dura-armour as a composite of neutronium and several other materials, and the SW2ICS explains that fusion bombs (presumably of low megaton yield, given light turbolaser output) can barely score an Acclamator's neutronium-impregnated hull cladding (this implies superconductivity and extremely high reflectivity). Since Federation sensors, transporters, and even phasers seem to be dependent upon exotic subspace-related effects in order to magnify their effectiveness per unit yield and are ineffective against dense materials such as actinides (to say nothing of neutronium-impregnated materials, against which they seem to be totally useless), their only useful weapons would be photon torpedoes, which use relatively brute-force explosive and thermal effects. Given that the Enterprise-D would need its entire photon torpedo payload to accomplish what Jango Fett accomplished with a single seismic charge, it seems possible and perhaps likely that a shielded Star Destroyer, with many orders of magnitude more firepower and shielding than Jango Fett's ship, could inflict massive casualties upon a Federation fleet without sustaining serious damage in return.