The Alliance Military

The Alliance military was formed by combining the original military forces of the member worlds. Most of these worlds had small space forces with very little in the way of ground troops. Basically, most worlds had a "space coast guard" for customs patrol, search and rescue and anti-piracy patrols. Larger worlds like Londinium began building up fleets and armies in case they needed to fight other worlds as part of Unification. Officers and troops in the individual militaries were discharged from their original service and told to report to an Alliance military base for reasignment.

The Londinium military began its buildup with the intention of defending their world in case Unification became a matter of conquest, rather than agreement. Then the Londinium government signed on willingly and pulled the rug right out from under their military leaders. The Londinium military responded by wording its orders of discharge so that joining the Alliance became a matter of personal CHOICE, not a neccessity. The Londinium Armed Forces had the highest number of defectors to the Independents, including the captain and crew of the battlecruiser Glory, who defected together and took the newly launched ship with them.

There have been a lot of discussions on the Cortex boards about the Alliance military and how big it is. And why it is so big. My view is that the Alliance military is in small part a legitimate space patrol (there are pirates, etc. to pursue), mostly a tool of oppression (so the Rim worlds don't think about rebellion again) and a pork barrel project.

The Alliance IS corrupt. There are many special interests, mainly corporations, who have too much influence over the Alliance government. One of those is a good old-fashioned "military-industrial complex". The massive fleet we saw at the end of Serenity might be 25% or less of the major ships. Why does the Alliance need such massive ships? To keep the Rim worlds under control and to funnel money to the corporations who overcharge on their work and then pay a kickback to corrupt politicians so the practice can continue. It's hard to say because the designs in Six-Shooters & Spaceships are so flawed, but most of the capital ships of the Alliance have large troop and shuttle carrying capacities which would go along with the idea of landing troops to maintain control.

The Alliance has no external enemies because as far as we know, humanity in the 'Verse is alone. Therefore, the Alliance fleet is aimed at the people of the Alliance themselves. Maybe someday, there will be enough peaceful political progress that things will change. More likely, there will be another war. And this time, maybe the revolution will be led by the people of the Core Worlds…

One option I did consider is that the reason the Alliance fleet is so large is because humanity is not alone. Maybe the Alliance is fighting a secret war against aliens, for example. I decided to stick as close to the canon as I could in this campaign, so the Alliance fleet is big for the reasons I listed above.