United Federation of Planets
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|United Federation of Planets|
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The United Federation of Planets (often abbreviated as UFP and commonly referred to as the Federation) is an interstellar federal republic, composed of planetary governments that have agreed to exist semi-autonomously under a single central government based on the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality. Unlike many other powers in the region, the members of the Federation each share their knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation and space exploration.
The Federation is one of the most powerful interstellar states in known space and encompasses the largest region of space when compared with its rivals, with over 150 member worlds. Unlike its imperial rivals, who derive power from a single species subjugating other races, the Federation's various member worlds join willingly and are equals in the Federation's democratic society. Starfleet was incorporated at the very birth of the Federation as a peace-keeping and humanitarian armada, in addition to maintaining exploratory, scientific, diplomatic, and defense functions.
The Coalition of Planets
The seeds of the Federation were planted during a temporary alliance in 2154. The Romulan Star Empire had become aware of the threat that a closer partnership between Vulcan, Earth, and their neighbors posed. The Star Empire's attempts to destabilize the region led to the Babel Crisis, during which a secret mission by the Romulans involved the use of two Romulan drone-ships that were able to camouflage themselves as various other vessels. With these ships, the Star Empire tried to spread distrust and hostility among local power around Earth and Vulcan. It was the act of tracking down and defeating the Romulan drone-ships that first brought together the four species that would found the Federation: Humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites.
After the crisis, these four species remained together, founding the precursor to the Federation known as the Coalition of Planets a year later. The Denobulans, Rigelians, the Coridanites, and several other species soon joined. Over the next several years, the ties between the members of the Coalition strengthened and became more structured until the Coalition became the Federation in 2161.
Although the Federation's intentions were peaceful, it existed amidst other, more belligerent powers such as the Klingon and Romulan Empires. As it expanded through the admittance of more and more worlds, it came into conflict with these other powers. Conflict with the Klingon Empire came to a head when war erupted briefly between the two in 2267 before being halted by the Organians. Tensions had eased considerably toward the end of the twenty-third century with the Khitomer Conference of 2293 being a substantial turning point in the signing of the Khitomer Accords, which effectively ended hostile relations.
The Federation began an unprecedented period of peaceful exploration of the galaxy free of major conflicts at the start of the twenty-fourth century as its main advesary of the previous century, the Klingon Empire, was now at peace with it. Relations with the Romulans remained hostile, however, albeit at what most would have considered to be a low-level 'cold war'. A series of local conflicts in the late 2340s brough the Federation into contact with other militant races such as the Cardassians, the Talarians, the Tholians, and the Tzenkethi.
The period of peaceful exploration came to an abrupt end in 2365 when the Federation encountered its single worst threat in the cybernetic pseudo-race known as the Borg. One of the most powerful and destructive forces in the entire galaxy, the Borg attempted to invade the Federation on two separate ocassions within less than a decade. They were unlike anything the Federation had previously encountered and led the Federation to become more aware of the fact there were other unknown threats in the vast, unexplored reaches of the galaxy beyond what they knew.
Contact was made with the Dominion, the predominant ruling power over much of the Gamma Quadrant, in 2370. The ensuing war pitted the Cardassian-Dominion-Breen alliance against that of the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, and the Federation. Although the Federation Alliance eventually emerged victorious, many of the Federation's important member worlds including Betazed, Coridan, and Benzar had been temporarily occupied before the Dominion's offensive could be turned back. Thousands of Federation Starfleet vessels and millions of lives were lost in what turned out to be the bloodiest conflict in Federation history to date. The most devastating and demoralizing offensive occurred in 2375 when the Breen hit the Federation at its heart with a surprise attack on Starfleet Headquarters on Earth.
The war and its aftermath allowed the Federation to establish new relations with many of its former advesaries including the Romulan Star Empire. In 2379, cooperation between the crew of the Federation Starfleet USS Enterprise-E and Romulan forces successfully defeated the Romulan Praetor Shinzon, whose actions would have destroyed both Earth and the Romulan Star Empire. It was hoped this would mark the beginning of an end to hostility between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, marking the beginnings of detente with a traditional enemy of the Federation.
The Federation's government is considered to be a consitutional representative republic consisting of three primary branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Federation government operates from its primary headquarters located on Earth.
The Executive Branch
The executive branch is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Federation with the democratically-elected Federation President as its head. The Federation President serves as both the head of state and head of government. As chief executive officer of the government, the President determines most of the Federation's foreign policy, manages budgetary concerns, and serves as supreme command of the Federation's military forces. The President's office is located in the Earth city of Paris on the European continent.
The Federation Cabinet is a special executive committee to the President of the United Federation of Planets.
The Federation also maintains a number of executive agencies that assist in the administration of its affairs:
- Archaeological Council
- Astronomical Committee
- Bureau of Agricultural Affairs
- Bureau of Industrialization
- Bureau of Planetary Treaties
- Central Bureau of Penology
- Department of Cartography
- Department of Temporal Investigations
- Earth Broadcasting Company
- Federation Naval Patrol
- Federation News Network
- Federation News Service
- Federation Science Council
- Federation Science Bureau
- Starfleet - see below.
- Terraform Command
- United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA) (existed from the 21st century through at least the 23rd century)
In addition, at least one rogue agency, known as Section 31, was known to have operated in the name of the Federation.
The Federation Council is the unicameral legislative body of the Federation. Composed of representatives from the various member worlds, the Federation Council holds the power to create, amend, and ratify Federation law. The Federation Council also held a great deal of influence over the operations of the Federation's military service, Starfleet. It sometimes served as the judging body of specially-convened courts-martial and, on occasion, issued operational orders to Starfleet. The Council also held influence over the making of Federation foreign policy. The Council's meeting chamber is located on the west coast of the North American continent in the Earth city of San Francisco.
The judiciary is the branch of government responsible for solving legal disputes. It consists of a hierarchy of courts with the Federation Supreme Court at its apex. Federation courts sometimes relied on panels of citizens known as juries. The Federation Grand Jury hears testimony as part of criminal investigations while the Federation Special Jury tries war criminals. Starfleet has its own system of courts martial which operates alongside the civilian courts.
The fundamental political principles and laws of the Federation derive from two important documents:
- The Federation Charter was the document ratified by the original members of the United Federation of Planets at the organization's founding in 2161. Caste-based discrimination was prohibited under the Charter.
- The Federation Constitution incorporated a series of enumerated rights to which all sentient beings were regarded as being entitled, collectively referred to as the Guarantees. The Seventh Guarantee of the Federation Constitution protected individuals from self-incrimination, while the Twelfth Guarantee protected the rights of artists.
Other rights and responsibilities for citizens derive from:
- The Federation Judicial Code, which provided guidelines and regulations related to legal issues in the Federation.
- Starfleet General Orders and Regulations, a series of guidelines used to instruct members of Starfleet on the proper etiquette and policy in a situation that requires consultation for a resolution.
- The Federation Uniform Code of Justice, which formed the legal basis of Starfleet court martial proceedings.
Exploration and Defense
See also Starfleet
Starfleet is the deep-space exploratory and defensive service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Its principle functions are the advancement of Federation knowledge about the galaxy, the advancement of Federation knowledge of science and technology, and the defense of the Federation. In addition, it also plays a significant diplomatic role. Starfleet personnel are frequently brought into contact with cultures and sentient species whose existences were previously unknown to the Federation as part of Starfleet's mandate of deep-space exploration. Federation Starfleet officers therefore act as official representatives of the Federation in these cases and Federation Starfleet vessels are frequently used to ferry ambassadors on diplomatic missions.
Capitalism had been replaced by the New World Economy as the economic system of Earth by the founding of the Federation in the twenty-second century. Under the New World Economy, material needs and money no longer existed. People were no longer obsessed with the accumlation of things which effectively led to the elimination of hunger as well as the want and need for possessions. The challenge and driving force were to improve oneself, to enrich oneself, and to work toward the betterment of all humanity.
Although most items and services were provided by the Federation, some luxury items and services could still be requisitioned as late as the twenty-third century using the Federation credit. The Federation continued to deal with other cultures which had money-based economies. Private businesses from other races such as the Ferengi were sometimes permitted on Federation installations such as Deep Space Nine. The Ferengi in particular were scornful of the Federation's disregard for currency.
Size and Location
The United Federation of Planets is located in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. By the early 2370s, the Federation's territory was spread across eight thousand light years with a membership of over one-hundred fifty worlds and over one thousand semi-autonomous colonies. Its major neighboring sovereignties are the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassian Union, and the Ferengi Alliance. Other neighboring sovereignties include the Tzenkethi, the Tholian Assembly, the Breen Confederacy, the Elyshan Empire, and the Zutal Imperium.
Admittance into the Federation is either by invitation or successful petition of a world or civilization desirous of joining. In the second case, membership is granted only upon satisfaction of certain requirements. Firstly, the government of the prospective member submits an official petition to the Federation Council, outlining its desire to join. A lengthy, thorough investigation of the prospective member's culture follows. This investigation could take several years, and is done to ascertain whether or not the culture genuinely shars the values of the Federation: values of benevolence, peaceful co-existence and co-operation, the rule of law, and equal rights and justice. For example, the discovery on the petitioning planet, Angosia III, of enhanced soldiers being unjustly and indefinitely imprisoned without treatment in times of peace was considered unacceptable in Captain Jean-Luc Picard's official evaluation of the planet for the Federation.
Even before the investigation, the prospective member has to meet certain requirements. These are as follows:
- Prospective members must have an "advanced level of technology." The Federation's baseline definition of this term was the capability for faster-than-light space travel.
- The prospect members' government must have achieved stable planetary political unity, respecting the rights of the individual.
- No form of caste discrimination is to be practiced.
See also: List of Federation members