The United Forces is an interplanetary peacekeeping force mandated as a replacement of individually maintained national or planetary military forces. The United Forces are divided into two branches; the United Fleet and the United Marines.
Service in the United Forces is not mandatory, but each colony is required to provide a number of recruits to each branch, determined by the population of the specific colony. Volunteers are taken first, and are encouraged and preferred. Then, if a colony is short its quota of new recruits, it is up to the individual colonial government to decide how people are drafted, though lottery is the most common method. Service is sometimes used as a sentence for nonviolent crimes as well. The extra-solar colony of Freyr does have to meet the population-based quota for military service, though unlike other colonies, they are not responsible for transportation of new recruits, their hardship waiver process is more lenient due to the rugged and undeveloped environment of Freyr, and approved hardship waivers count towards their service quota.
Under the Unity Accords, individual colonies are not allowed to maintain any trained military personnel of their own beyond an unarmed police force which must request assistance from the ICID if they have need of armed force. United military veterans are allowed to maintain registered personal firearms and may be reactivated, if willing, to assist the local constabulary in the event of an emergency for which ICID assistance not immediately available. Veterans who have completed a term of service and then take a position on a Colonial police force may not carry their personal firearm on the job except in emergencies and specific instances as defined and authorized by the ICID. While other veterans benefits are extended to all who served in any military during the Jovian conflict, the right to maintain a personal firearm is extended only to those who have served in either the United Marines or United Fleet, and does not extend to those who served in the in Earth, Mars or any colonial service or militia branch prior to the ratification of the Unity Accords. Freyr is exempt from the restriction on personal firearms, as they are used both for the hunting of and protection from that world’s indigenous fauna.
The United Fleet operates and maintains interplanetary spacecraft, polices trade routes, enforces shipping and travel regulations, and defends the United Worlds from piracy and other space-based criminal activity. The United Fleet merges the functions of naval and air combat and uses a rank structure drawn from Earth navies and air forces of old.
The United Marines is an offensive combat force trained in ground-based combat and supports the United Fleet in all spacecraft boarding operations. The United Marines merges the functions of army and naval infantry forces and uses a rank structure adapted from Earth armies of old.
Law Enforcement (ICID)
The Inter-colonial Criminal Investigations Division, or ICID, is a special division within the United Marines responsible for many of the law enforcement duties historically handled by government agencies and local police forces. Selection for the ICID requires two years of active service in the United Marines, or four years of service in the United Fleet and an approved transfer of commission from United Fleet Command. In addition to their prior military experience, ICID personnel undergo 18 months of specialized law enforcement and tactical training before. The ICID assigns personnel, based on talent and performance, to one of several sub-divisions that meet special law enforcement needs, such as violent crime investigation, trade enforcement and general peacekeeping.
MechWorks is the research and development division of the United Forces. MechWorks is answerable directly to United Forces Command, and is made up of active duty and retired Fleet and Marine personnel with the requisite specialties and degrees, as well as contracted civilian scientists. MechWorks’ research, while funded within the military budget and aimed primarily at development of new military technology, has also brought about advances and improvements in many other areas, most notably, communications, propulsion and terraforming. As new technology is strictly regulated within the United Worlds, especially following the Owaan uprising, MechWorks is also frequently involved in the approval process of civilian technology that requires government approval.
Another area of major focus for MechWorks’ in the past few decades is the protection of the human psyche from the rigors of life away from the relative safe and familiar environments of Earth. Many stress and isolation related conditions are more common among colonial populations and military personnel who spend prolonged periods in space. MechWorks, in cooperation with several private corporations, have devoted resources to studying this effect and alleviating its impact. Some solutions implemented have been technological, like holographic environment generators and special lighting. Others are more psychologically focused and consist of increased social interaction through various mental exercises, games and structured social activities.