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Design of the Navy Academy


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Has anyone put thought into their governments' academies? Do you have specific theories is
teaches? Is it near a starport, capital, or
in orbit? Do they have a selection of training
I have been a fan of Heinlein for a long time. He has the feel for what an academy would be like when he details the Terran Navy in Space Cadet; and when he details basic training and OCS for Starship Troopers.
In both cases there is usually some sort of ground installation where you can have games, parades and other big outdoorsy type of activities. To look for a common example just look to the USMA, USNA or the USAFA
For an international feel I also include
Sandhurst, the British academy
The French Equivalent is St. Cyr but a good site in english is tough to find. As well the Russians and Chinese have similar academies, but sites are hard to find.
A good general rule of thumb is that most academies are founded near to the center of government. This allows oversight as well as easy access to a supposedly loyal group of men and women in the event of a catastrophe, revolution or other bothersome event. (Unless it is a Cadet's coup you are dealing with!)
The central halls of military academies contain most of the book learnin' one would need, but ever since their inception (in the late 1700's-early 1800's with the invention of the national army on the French model and the creation of the general staff on the Prussian model) there have been some form of studies abroad. Whether it was as a midshipman aboard a frigate in Chesapeake Bay, with a home regiment in the Devonshire moors, or at the jungle training facilities (co-located with the ESA launch facilities, protected by the Legion Etranger) in French Guinea, the young cadets would always serve some time with active units doing the job of very-junior officers. Often this would mean something like sub-platoon leader, military secretary, general dogsbody or what have you. This was supposed to rub some of the spit and polish off of the young gentlebeings and show them what a modern military was like in action.
To go back to the Heinlein example (USNA '29) he had both of his protagonists go through an induction process, initial training dirt-side, then posting to an advanced facility for further study. While at the advanced facility they were posted to junior officer positions with serving units. In both cases they were sort of "third-lieutenants," no real command authority, but lots of responsibility.
In both cases something big came down during the assignment, and the heroes were able to learn what it truly meant to be "an officer and an gentleman."
I think that in the 56th century the model will likely be the same. So long as the academy in question truly wants to train effective officers instead of prettily dressed hangers on about court, then it will have an academic core curriculum, often heavily geared to practical or engineering type degrees, supplemented by specialist training and junior officer on-the-job-training at distant locales.
When all is done they will graduate in 3-4 years and have some sort of march, toss hats in air and get first assignments.
Then their long career will begin.
There is another aspect of the military academy tradition not often looked at, alumni associations. These tend to be very influential in both civilian and military life for academy graduates. They will look out for grads, help their careers along, and honor them for distinguished activities. As well they will hit them up for help and donations when the grads hit the big time. This is certainly a hook for characters that are academy grads. The "ring-knocker" tradition is real.
For those of you in the know…
"Will no one help the son of a widow?"
Or for the 3I…
"Will no one help a child of Arbellatra?"
Father Fletch, M.Ed., Ph.D., DD
Great input. I recently designed my space academy based on the US Naval Academy and the brits but you've mentioned some other good sites. Starship Trooper is a great point. Others include Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Stripes (adventure with humor), etc.

Here are another set of questions;
Has anyone had academy/training missions in their worlds? If so, what was the plotline? Any twists? Any successes at training NPCs crews/ troops?

Given the raw size of the Imperium, I must admiot that I see "many" academies. Each Naval academy centered arround a major fleet presence. This improves access to transport training etc.

IMTU I tended to blur the distinction between cadets in an academy and those placed out in a fleet. I felt this would hold up much better given the possible varitions accross the bredth of the Imperium - remember it's more than two years for messages to cross - you can;t send cadets to a centeral loc for training - they would be qualified by the time they get there.

Mmm - Thought - If each major fleet presence has an academy (I tend to have roughly one major fleet per sector) then it makes sense to have the academy fairly mobile so it can follow the fleet if they do a long term redeploy.

The imediate picture that springs to everyone's mind is the naval academy ship - strict divides between crew, staff, teaching staff and cadets. Given the huge range of training officers can receive, the ship should have a pair of fighter squadrons, a large range of various small craft as well as a couple of "attached" ships.

Once you've localised that much training talent, it would be foolish not to also host training courses for enlisted men and senior officers. This gives another couple of strata in the ship - enlisted men barracks being seperate from cadets etc.

It's a fun place to write stories about, but difficult to place adventures in - Mmm - Any ship can misjump - particularly if the computer has student access Academy arrives at an isolated star which is a long jump from the nearest neighbour - the vast bulk of the students/crew are poped into lowberths to reduce lifesupport overheads.

It has to be far enough back in time that nobody is currently looking for it - A Fleet withdrawal - just before a sector changed hands. Admiral assumed the enemy killed it - players find an enemy captains diary which records the mis-jump. Rather than take this info to the local fleet presence for a small reward, they decide to find the thing itself for a huge salvage claim. Gives them a locus for scout style adventures (explore everything within 36 parsecs of point X).

Better - make them buy the diary, just to add a chance that it's all made up.

Will I write it up as a proper adventure cycle - Naah still working on the previous one.

Will I foreshadow it with "naval academies" - Yup.

One side effect of the Naval Academy vessel is that each vessel would have it's "unique" ring - And probably a unique syllabus and in jokes etc. in GT counts as an Adv (+1 Reaction from fellow graduates, possibly -1 reaction from graduates of other academies)

Would I have Army academies - No way. the IA has never held my attention the same way the IN does.

Bed time - Night all
Father Fletch, excellent write-up. Few have touched this topic so well in so few words.
Your scholarship is something to look forward to here! Keep up the the good work! Enjoyed it, really
:D ;)
Yep. Father's input is great. Mink I love the lost academy idea, also great input.

I'm not a fan of the Imperium. I prefer the collapsed TNE timeline. Running 20-30 system governments allows more depth. I've kicked around doing an x-imperium universe. My original gaming environment was about 3 subsectors. 1 academy per govt. Cool. I believe that ya really have to have an Army Academy for each world but that's another topic. Here's a thought what about the marines. In the US they attend the navy academy, right?

Any other academy adventures?
Marines are an interesting question. In the U.S., USNA graduates may apply to go into the USMC as officers, but they still have to go through the same initial officer training that all other source (NROTC and OCS) officers do as well, and could, at least theoretically, fail the course.

My impression of the Imperial Marines was that their officers were all "Mustangs", that is selected for OCS from the enlisted ranks. This could just be my interpretation though.

Originally posted by Ranger:
Marines are an interesting question. In the U.S., USNA graduates may apply to go into the USMC as officers, but they still have to go through the same initial officer training that all other source (NROTC and OCS) officers do as well, and could, at least theoretically, fail the course.

My impression of the Imperial Marines was that their officers were all "Mustangs", that is selected for OCS from the enlisted ranks. This could just be my interpretation though.

The Book 4 and MT system allows Naval Academy grads to opt for the Marine Corps. But I agree that there is a sense that Martine officers are more experienced than Army ones.

IMTU, Marine officer candidates would serve at least a year as enlisted, though with the understanding that they would be commissioned once they show some appitude. In Advanced Character Generation, anyone entitled to enter the Marines as an officer would undergo initial training and then one or more terms on the enlisted service tables. Assuming they receive a promotion sometime in that first term, their next assignment would be to OCS. If they don't receive a promotion in their first term, they're out and have to find another career option. (I suppose Naval Acaemy grads could rejoin the Navy at this point.)
How many academies?

Each planet will probably have at least two (naval force/surface force) military academies. If the system is involved in interstellar trade it may have a merchant academy.

Each subsector will have two academies, one naval and one army located at an A class starport with the highest TL in the subsector with a naval base present. These "Imperial accreditated" academies are the ones the PC's graduate from if the serve for the subsector or Imperial Navy. Imperial Navy grads have to catch up on TL differences at the same time as they are getting their shipboard rating.

Imperial command college and staff colleges are located at the Depots within the Imperium.

Scattered across the Imperium are numerous practice ranges used for training purposes for these accreditated academies.

This organization might work.

Just a couple more options to consider.

Several small academies. This is more of an 'eastern' approach. IIRC Yugoslavia had 11 academies, 4 small naval academies on the coast, 6 small army academies, one in the capital of each republic, and 1 airforce academy. This fit with their overall tendancy to disperse valuable targets as much as possable, so a single surprise attack could not wipe out their military infrastructure. This could be an option for border regions.

Shorter academies. This would work best for the Army, where much of what is being taught is not technical, but leadership skills. The Navy and Merchants would still have their 4 year programs, but the Army might have a 2 year academy. There are several of these in the US right now, that have been successful for quite a while.

A two stage program. The first two years would be local, after which the cream of the class would be skimmed off for the imperial forces to be sent to a 2 year "finishing school" while the rest remain locally to finish up and go into the local services.

Just some more thoughts on the subject,

I think Randy has it pretty good, there would be AT LEAST two academies per sub-sector and each planet would also have its own academies, including Air Force types for planetary defence. I'd say any system with a class A starport with any trade at all would also have a Merchant Academy of some kind, even if it was a private corporate academy to train their officers and such to run their company traders.

There would be a Scout Academy in each sub-sector as well at a system with a Scout base.

I don't know if each sector would have a special academy for the best and brightest or not, probably, ala Star Fleet Academy from Star Trek.

I think these academies would all be at major naval bases so that the cadets could all ship out for initial training for real life experience just like we have here, and in emergencies, would be mobilized with the rest of the navy as midshipmen or something. I don't necessarily agree that it would be the planet with the highest tech level though, the tech level of the naval base would be emperial tech level, not planetary tech level.