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Guide: Building your military

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The PeoplesFreedom
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Guide: Building your military

Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:03 pm

The purpose of this guide is to give the new roleplayer an idea of how to begin to build a military. Given the complexity of building a military to suit your nation, this guide is as comprehensive as possible but will only give the basics. As has been stated numerous times elsewhere: 95% of what you see in military video games, many war movies, or Tom Clancy novels conform to the 'rule of coo' and are either outright wrong or unrealistic. As a rule of thumb, throw everything you think you know out the window, and start from scratch with an open mind and no preconceived notions. Remember that RP is first and foremost a story, and when reading the following guide, you should be thinking about what kind of characters and story lines you could create out of your military.

Military Goal

The very first step that should be taken when creating a military is to decide what the goal of that military is. A military first and foremost exists to defend a nation, but its goals are usually more complex. The exact goal of a military directly corresponds to your nation's geopolitical situation, its enemies or potential enemies, foreign policy, and national resources. To use a real world example, Israel's military goal, or doctrine, consists of the following points:
[Tab=Israel cannot afford to lose a single war][/Tab]Israel cannot afford to lose a single war
Defensive on the strategic level, no territorial ambitions
Desire to avoid war by political means and a credible deterrent posture
Preventing escalation
Determine the outcome of war quickly and decisively
Combating terrorism
Very low casualty ratio


Israel's military to designed around these points and the achievement of them. So the IDF's job is to defend the nation, but to do with the above goals. Their military doctrine is heavily based around this.

The first step then is identifying the kind of threat your is defending against, or with more imperial nations, the kind of threats your military will face when expanding your nation's influence through force. Once the goal is identified, the next steps can be followed.

National Resources

The next step is to identify what resources your military has to work with. The two resources you need to figure out is your total available manpower and budget. In order to make this easy on new players, you should look up the budget and manpower of comparative real life nations to get an idea of the kind of manpower and budget you're working with, and then adapt it to your nation. The exact amount of manpower in your military does not need to be calculated yet, as it will largely depend on the kind of doctrine your armed forces are designed around. Remember that 5% is the absolute maximum of population allowed to be in the military to be realistic, and that this is only in a total war situation. Likewise most nation spend under 5% of their GDP on defense, with some exceptions on heavily militarized sates like North Korea and Israel.

Terrain and geography

The terrain of your nation as well as the terrain of any conflicts you may fight outside of home will greatly impact how your military is built. It is not enough to only know the general terrain (jungles, desert, steppes, etc) but also the infrastructure of the conflict location such as roads, bridges, airports and etc. All these greatly impact how the military will be built and how it will fight.

Conscript or Professional

Once you've identified the above two steps, the next major question is whether or not your nation will use a conscripted force, a professional force, or some combination of the two. There is no clear cut answer, and this decision has a variety of factors to consider, including non-military factors such as the political stance on conscription in your nation. A highly libertarian nation, for example, is highly unlikely to have conscription, whereas a authoritarian nation is more likely to impose conscription.

If your nation has a modern force with advanced military technology, it is important to note that modern systems require long periods of training, for some systems, more than a year's worth of training is required. Until recently, a conscript could be useful with only a few months of training. Advanced technology lends itself more to a professional force than a conscript force. A volunteer military will always be far smaller, usually 1% of the population or less, than a conscripted force. They will also usually be more motivated, trained, and equipped.

But saying that a volunteer force is automatically superior to conscript force is too simplistic. There are many ways to create a well-trained conscript force that is familiar with advanced military technology. A common approach is to keep a professional cadre at all times, mostly at the NCO and officer levels. When war breaks out, this ensures that there is a motivated, professional nucleus to lead and train conscripts on the field. This is especially lends itself well to keeping conscripts in the reserves after their period of mandatory service. It is important to note the impact a conscripted force will have on a nation's culture and economy as compared to a volunteer force.

The above shows that choosing between a volunteer and conscripted force is not a clear cut decision, and a mixed system is completely possible. Deciding this relies heavily on political and cultural factors, as well as your nations military goals.

A note on Asymmetric warfare


A lot of players on NS and this guide focuses heavily on traditional, conventional means of warfare. Two heavily armored titans clashing with steel and iron while warplanes tangle overhead.

But an often overlooked but perfectly legitimate strategy is to defend a nation through guerrilla warfare. This is especially useful when facing superior forces but also because it is extremely effective. The bulk of COIN operation fail. It is possible to set up the framework for a guerrilla in advance during a campaign. Switzerland knew it could not withstand an attack by the Warsaw Pact, so its strategy revolved around resistance. All Swiss males had military training and had a rifle and ammunition in their homes. The conventional military was trained to melt away and lead and create cells of resistance, and to preposition caches of weapons and supplies. The downside of waging a guerrilla war is the damage that will be inevitably wrought on your nation, though it could be considerably less then being invaded by and resisting using conventional means. The support of the populace towards the resistance fighters is a fundamental and unbreakable requirement for success. This is why COIN operations focus so heavily on "hearts and minds".

Funding and manpower

A quick next time is to decide how you're funding your army, navy, air force, as well as any paramilitary units, coast guard, mercenaries and the like. The amount of funding will depend on the emphasis placed on each branch. Likewise, manpower should be distributed based on emphasis.

The Army

One of the primary factors to consider when building a military is the terrain of the conflict where that army will be fighting. This highly impacts the kind of force that you will be trying to build. If you anticipate fighting in triple canopy jungles, your army will have significantly less armored vehicles then a desert nation with vast room to maneuver. Once you identify where you expect conflict to take place, a good place to start would be looking up real world conflicts fought in that terrain and seeing what kind of tactics and equipment were used in that conflict.

The keystone of modern armies is the concept of combined arms, which marries all the combat disciplines into a cohesive forces to bring maximum strength down on the enemy and provide versatility. Regardless of the individual circumstances of your army, it will still be most likely a combined arms force that uses infantry, AFV's, helos and etc. The totality of the tank was destroyed in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, and ever since then the goal of military leaders has been to compensate for every combat arms weakness with the others' strength.

Some common combat formations that are used in modern warfare is the following:
- Infantry
- Mountain
- Airborne
- Air Assault (helicopter-borne)
- Armored
- Mechanized
- Motorized/Calvary
- Special Forces

Air Force

The primary factor to consider when building an air force is its power projection capability as well as how important it is for your air force to provide close air support to ground forces. For example, if your nations enemies would invade via the sea and do not share a land border, it does not make much sense to have strategic bombers or other long-range weapons in the air force. Instead, the focus would be on fighter planes and CAS aircraft. Almost any nation that wishes to have a first rate air force will primarily focus on the concept of air supremacy or superiority, giving the friendly nation complete or near complete control of the skies. An important point to remember is that airplanes need runways to function. Runway denial has become a pivotal part of aerial warfare and they can be destroyed or rendered unusable. Having a air defense network to protect against enemy aircraft and missiles is crucial as is a proper security force to defend against special forces raids. A nation that does not have a first rate air force will probably rely on heavy air defenses to protect its ground troops. A large, well-trained, and super effective air force will probably be most nations' number one defense priority, but it is important to note that winning the air war does not guarantee victory. Air forces also usually have the most extensive logistics and support networks.

Common aircraft types:
- Fighter
- Fighter bomber
- Close Air Support aircraft
- Tactical Bomber
- Strategic Bomber
- AWACS
- Intelligence gathering platforms
- Tankers
- UAV's/UCAV's
- Stealth variants of the above
Navy


In US Navy parlance, navies around the world belong to three categories, blue, the ability to operate on the worlds oceans and high seas, green, the ability to operate in a nations littoral zone, and brown, the often overlooked but important ability to control rivers, canals, and water ways inside a nation. Having a blue water navy is a requirement for any nation wishing to project power whether for imperial or defensive purposes outside of its immediate territorial waters.

In modern warfare, the primary building block of a blue water navy is the aircraft carrier. Most blue water navies will focus on having large numbers of these with the proper support vessels, as well as a submarine force. Brown water navies are perfect for defense and have a variety of tools that can even contend with blue water incursions. Common brown water defenses will include super-quiet submarines, mining, and missile boats among other defenses.

The composition of your navy will again be a result of the mission of your military.

Common shiptypes:
-Aircraft Carrier (various sizes)
-Attack Submarine (nuclear, electric)
-Ballistic Submarine
-Frigates
-Destroyers
-Amphibious assault vessels
-Supply ships and tenders
-Intelligence gathering ships
-Minesweepers


Specifics and Equipment

I'm sure some who read this guide would be hoping for information on how to specifically organize your military with formations and equipment. Unfortunately, not only would it take a whole book to cover, but it is highly dependent on the circumstances of your nation. Due to this, I recommend starting at wikipedia and reading up on military organization, and using RL equipment for your military. Once you begin to understand what your military needs equipment wise, you can replace RL equipment with NS equipment piece by piece or design your own. Another option that I have used in the past is using fictional equipment and designations for flavor and creating just a basic stat block for them that you can provide when requested to. While many who RP in NS are technophiles and armchair generals, having a super detailed and realistic military is not a per-requesiste to RP. If you're building a military to compete with others directly and 'beat' them in a war RP, you are doing it wrong.


I hope this guide proves useful to you. If you need help with the finer aspects of building a military, I'd encourage people to make use of the NS mentors program and to check out NSD.
Last edited by The PeoplesFreedom on Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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The Mizarian Empire
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Postby The Mizarian Empire » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:24 pm

Excellent! That seems to cover just about anything I could put out there.
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Milograd
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Postby Milograd » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:49 pm

Strongly endorsed. Excellent job TPF; good stuff.
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Sarxland
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Postby Sarxland » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:22 pm

Brilliant use of examples! I'll have to remember this for later on.
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Postby Aquitayne » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:24 pm

Looks great! +10 interwebz

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Postby Jagalonia » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:32 pm

Interesting....I may reference this later.
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Postby Zumbaka » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:03 pm

great job i will use this later
Last edited by Zumbaka on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The PeoplesFreedom
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Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:14 pm

Bump
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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Free Missouri
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Postby Free Missouri » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:51 pm

if you would be so kind, add in a section for the people who are more "Shock and Awe" Tacticians
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Postby Tergnitz » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:03 pm

Interesting work, nice TPF.

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Postby Central and Eastern Visayas » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:34 pm

This needs a sticky, IMO. That said, I'll drink to your proposal.
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Postby Metanih » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:40 pm

This is amazing.
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Postby Euroslavia » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:40 pm

Fantastic guide!
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The PeoplesFreedom
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Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:45 pm

Free Missouri wrote:if you would be so kind, add in a section for the people who are more "Shock and Awe" Tacticians


That is a bit beyond the scope of this guide. However, if you were building a military around the concept of shock and awe I would build it the following way. Your land force should be focused heavily around armored units designed to break through front lines and exploit them quickly, causing havoc in the rear and destroying all support functions. Infantry should then follow to "mop up" the disorganized and disorderly remains. A really critical competent is the ability to use reconnaissance and intelligence to identify enemy command and control functions and eliminate them. Having an air force capable of doing this is crucial, as well as effective special operations forces that can infiltrate behind the front lines and attack these targets. If the enemy retains his command and control functions he has a far easier time resisting shock and awe methods. Remember the dangers behind using such a strategy- if the attack fails to completely shatter the opposing forces normally your military finds itself in a very vulnerable position.
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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Thee Sangheili
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Postby Thee Sangheili » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:56 pm

:clap: :bow: Bravo!! Excellent guide, This will help me alot.
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The PeoplesFreedom
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Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:58 pm

Knowledge is power.
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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Tergnitz
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Postby Tergnitz » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:03 pm

The PeoplesFreedom wrote:Knowledge is power.

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Unified Laran Governments
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Postby Unified Laran Governments » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:00 am

Is there some kind of FT version of this?

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Postby Republica Federal de Catalunya » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:58 am

TPF very well explain.

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Postby Earth Sphere Coalition » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:06 am

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The Black Plains
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Postby The Black Plains » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:19 am

This is one of the few guides I actually like. It's written with writing in mind, not technical bullshit. And that appeals greatly to me. I don't believe that nations should center their military around realism; only a purist would say something like that. However I do believe that when nations disregard reality altogether in their posts it is impossible to "get in the mood" of the roleplay." For instance, when an aircraft carrier is traveling at half the speed of sound, I can't focus on the roleplay because I'm too busy being annoyed by that. Your guide was short and to the point. Nicely composed as well. Keep on contributing, NS is a community that relies on player contribution.

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The PeoplesFreedom
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Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:01 pm

Bumping dis
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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Postby Lolzieristan » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:53 pm

I hereby bestow upon this thread the privileges, responsibilities, and power of a member of the Order Of Stickyhood.
Of course, I don't actually have that power, I just think I do.

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Last edited by Lolzieristan on Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Super Bwitain » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:58 pm

Utterly glorious, i can see this helping a lot of new players. Good job.
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Lolzieristan
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Postby Lolzieristan » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:14 pm

Out of curiosity, is anyone familiar with a guide to how naval and air war is conducted? I don't claim to be an expert on it by any means, but...it's just so neglected in RPs. I feel like I'm the only person who does some of this stuff. Not many people seem to understand the use of AWACS aircraft, how anti-submarine warfare works, how fleets are found in the vast and empty ocean...etc etc. It's just like warfare stops at the beach in some RPs.
Last edited by Lolzieristan on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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04/17/13: Got my wish, it seems, in terms of major depressive disorder. I'm sorry to everyone for any inactivity, it's...well, hard.

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