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starfleet academy

 
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Destructionator XV
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject: starfleet academy Reply with quote

BBC America has been showing some ST:TNG and I've been making a point of watching it.

Today, Menage a Troi was on, a third season episode. I enjoyed it - it was a fun episode. One of the Ferengi guests had a familiar voice too... it was Ethan Phillips!

Anyway, the B plot was about Wesley getting ready to take the oral part of the Starfleet Academy entrance exam - so he'd be leaving the ship. At one point, he's talking to Data and Geordi about if he'd be back to the Enterprise upon graduation.

Data gave an interesting fact: 91% of Starfleet Academy graduates are not assigned to Galaxy class ships on their first assignment. By inverse, we can conclude that 9% are at the time he said it.

Being rather early in TNG, there's probably only a handful of the new Galaxy class ships out there. We saw one get blown up real good by this point I believe, and Roddenberry said there were six to start with, so there's probably five or six at this point.

A Galaxy class ship has a crew of about 500 I figure - they have 1000 on board the Enterprise, but that includes families, so my guess is cutting it in half is probably close enough for Starfleet folks. About the same size as the older Enterprise crew.


That means about 2500 Starfleet people serve on the Galaxy class any given year. Moreover, we know they tend to keep people serving on them for years on end.

If about 1/5 of the crew rotates out a year - a purely speculative number whose only basis in reality is figuring a five year mission averaged out - we're back to about 500 slots available for the graduating class.


Timesing that by ten to get 100% of graduates puts Starfleet Academy at probably graduating less than 5000 students per year.

I expect a lot of those Galaxy class assignments are higher level than a fresh graduate too. Most people new to the Enterprise have served on other ships before, and a fresh graduate certainly isn't qualified for a command position.

Time to pull number two from my ass - I think about 1/3 of those slots is about as high as you can go for graduates. The other 2/3 are probably filled with more experienced people transferring in.


Thus, I'm putting the graduating class at closer to 1,500 or less.



Some facts this is consistent with:

a) Starfleet Academy is always said to be on Earth. There's other places to do tests or preparation (like seen in "Coming of Age"), but the school proper is always talked about on Earth.

With a graduating class this size, it may only have the one campus. I've seen it speculated before that there might be other SF Academy campuses throughout the Federation, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

b) The entrance exam is brutal. Not only do you have to know a lot of shit, you've gotta also compete for the slots each year. I'd imagine there'd be less pressure if there were more slots, but on the other hand, the Federation surely has a lot of people in it too.

c) This is close enough to the size of most real live universities I know about


Nevertheless, be sure to note the assumptions brought in here and remember it came from one quick line.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your estimates for the GCS Starfleet crew size seems really low to me. I never got the impression that families constituted fully half of the stated crew complement. For all fatty nerds everywhere complained about having civilians, especially children onboard, we don't see a great many of them to be perfectly blunt (remember there was a first season episode where the bad guys kidnapped all the kids, and how many were there? Barely a handful including Wesley. Also how many civilians are really aboard? Ten-Forward has Guinan, maybe the waiters as well, and you have Mr Mott the barber, the school teachers and Keiko; not really that many. Almost every extra is seen wearing a starfleet uniform EDIT and just because someone isn't in uniform, doesn't mean he's a civilian - he could be off-duty and we know Starfleet has some loose restrictions for its personnel, like Worf getting to wear the klingon thing and Ro getting her earrings). I'd be inclined to say there wouldn't be more than a few dozen civilians onboard at most, no more than 5-10% of the complement, and that would be pushing it to breaking point for me.

The GCS dwarfs the size of Kirk's Enterprise by a ridiculous margin. Its saucer section alone is really fat and has tons of volume. It also has the capacity to hold a crew of thousands. So I have to question your reasoning insofar as it relates to the assumptions you are making of the GCS's starfleet crew complement.

Of course, if I'm following your line of reasoning properly, if the starfleet crew number is higher, then that would mean the graduating class of the Academy would also be higher. Which suits me just fine, because 5,000 graduates seems low for an organisation that has hundreds if not low-thousands of ships (thank you DS9).

How many people graduate from real life Naval academies? Maybe we can do a real-world comparison. Although this is limited- in the real world, we have enlisted personnel who go through basic training and then get into the Navy as crewman rather than officers. In Star Trek everyone appears to go to the Academy, even the enlisted men. Smile But it could still serve to give us a baseline. So like we know how many ships the USN has, and if we knew how many officers graduate every year, we can make some estimates and kinda-sorta apply them to Starfleet.


Last edited by Stofsk on Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:21 am; edited 3 times in total
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frigidmagi
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both West Point and the United States Naval Academy graduate about 1000 new offices a year, that's 2000. It should be noted that the Air Force has it's own Academy which also graduates 1000 a year. So I suppose in all you could say the US has about 3000 officers graduating the academies per year, if you count the Air Force. If. Razz (Hi Scott!)

There are also other training centers for people who got their degrees (one must have a college degree to be an officer in the US military today), called OCS, Officer Candidate Schools.

To be honest, having only one Star Fleet Academy seems... Utterly impossible. Could some species have seperate schools? We know Vulcans, Bolians and Humans attend in San Francisco but what about Andorrians and other Fed Species? Could their homeworld have their own academies? Otherwise this just doesn't work, starfleet cannot replace the causalities of even small wars with races like the Talarians or the 1st Cardassian War. And I don't mean with just fresh raw meat, this means that you're barely replacing the people who retire or quit. The Lost of an experience officer is... The lost of someone you can only just replace. Huh... Maybe that explains the peace settlement and the Federation's avoidance of large scale military operations, they can't replace the causalities?
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Destructionator XV
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stofsk wrote:
For all fatty nerds everywhere complained about having civilians, especially children onboard, we don't see a great many of them to be perfectly blunt (remember there was a first season episode where the bad guys kidnapped all the kids, and how many were there?


Ah, that's right.

I was basing it on the assumption that each person gets to bring someone, then children and unmarried people balance out. We just don't see them often because the show follows the command crew rather than the families, and the kids aren't allowed to wander the halls on their own (they made a point of this in "Imaginary Friend").

In the end of Generations, something I haven't seen for a long time, we do I believe see a bunch of civilians fleeing from the stardrive section (wtf).

But indeed, we did the whole group in tng. That was like 12 kids. The weird thing is there's still never a shortage of new people to guest. Maybe they just rotate out frequently?


Regardless, based on that, it's probably fair to say more like 900 crewmen. I really think 5% is too low since that'd barely fill a classroom if you add adult civilian spouses too.

Thus that multiplies out to 2500 or 3000 graduating a year.

Quote:

The GCS dwarfs the size of Kirk's Enterprise by a ridiculous margin. Its saucer section alone is really fat and has tons of volume.


While this is true, the GCS is also more automated than the Constitution. Kirk had things like guys in the phaser and torpedo rooms. It looked like all Picard had was Worf (or whomever was filling in for him) and the computer did the rest.

Of course, it's possible they just never had a reason to show them.


Quote:
Which suits me just fine, because 5,000 graduates seems low for an organisation that has hundreds if not low-thousands of ships (thank you DS9).


Blargh, DS9 really ruined the magic of the Galaxy class. I watched Sacrifice of Angels on Thursday and the Dukat story rocks. Dukat rocks.

But the Galaxy class ships being mixed in with all the others was just kinda sad. This big ship that was tough and special as recently as "The Jem Hadar" now reduced to just yet another model in the melee.


oh yeah and their warp cores exploded when the cardassians sneezed taking out hundreds of nearby federation ships in a cascade explosion.

you thought the best light show was when they detonated the minefield. Wrong. That was a shitload of warp cores.

stupid feds.

Quote:
How many people graduate from real life Naval academies?


In the United States, about 1,000 graduate from the naval academy each year, and we have about 300 ships. Some become Marines though, and I don't know the proportion.

Though, we also get officers from a variety of other sources. With Starfleet, they always mention the academy (including Lieutenant Chief O'Brien saying things like "they never went to the academy; they aren't officers" basically equating the two things).

Actually interesting with O'Brien is I think he did go to the academy, though that might be a retcon along with his rank. Maybe he never completed the full program.


Anyway, I don't know about other countries.

Quote:
In Star Trek everyone appears to go to the Academy, even the enlisted men.

Gah, I'm guilty of over quoting here since we said the same thing!

Oh well.


But if it's like Annapolis in the US, that's thereabouts four graduates per ship per year. (How many officers are on a ship? I think it's like 40 on average. If an officer stays in fifteen years... four times fifteen is sixty. That might actually work.)


If Starfleet has 1000 ships, being 4x the size of the US academy might work out - thereabouts 4,000 graduates a year.
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Destructionator XV
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

frigidmagi wrote:
To be honest, having only one Star Fleet Academy seems... Utterly impossible. Could some species have seperate schools?


Maybe, though I don't think it's ever been referenced. Of course, it's not that often we see the other species too.

One counter to it is we have seen a variety of species at Earth, so if there are other schools, it wouldn't be a total separation.


Quote:
Lost of an experience officer is... The lost of someone you can only just replace. Huh... Maybe that explains the peace settlement and the Federation's avoidance of large scale military operations, they can't replace the causalities?


I hadn't really considered this, but it's a good point. I wonder if they expand other campuses or loosen the requirements when things go bad.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Destructionator XV wrote:
Regardless, based on that, it's probably fair to say more like 900 crewmen. I really think 5% is too low since that'd barely fill a classroom if you add adult civilian spouses too.

Like I said, 10% would be stretching it for me. I just don't see that many people in the corridors would could be considered civilian. Even if you have kids onboard, which don't amount to a lot - just off the top of my head you have 'When the Bough Breaks' which had Wesley and a handful of other kids, said to be the entire ship's complement too IIRC, kidnapped; you have 'Rascals' which had a class room and I can't remember if that was every kid in it, but it probably was and yet there weren't that many of them; and 'Masks' IIRC opens up with Data in a class room art class, and again it was a small class so, I'm just not seeing a large number of civilians onboard.

Remember mummy and daddy can both be officers who are in Starfleet. Most civilian adult characters are in one episode and visiting guests or people who are specialists for a particular mission. I suspect most civilians onboard the Enterprise fall under that category.

Quote:
While this is true, the GCS is also more automated than the Constitution. Kirk had things like guys in the phaser and torpedo rooms. It looked like all Picard had was Worf (or whomever was filling in for him) and the computer did the rest.

Of course, it's possible they just never had a reason to show them.

Worf controls it all from his station, but he's the Chief Tactical officer, and he heads a whole department. Most of the time they're security guys, which is why he's also the Chief Security officer (they both seem to be complementary roles on Starfleet vessels), but who's to say his department doesn't do stuff like make sure the weapons are working properly while in battle? After all we don't know how the weapons are fired and/or reloaded. Worf could simply be designating targets and coordinating the battle computer to make firing solutions, but somebody has to load the torpedo bays - or at least supervise the autobots doing it. Smile

Quote:
Blargh, DS9 really ruined the magic of the Galaxy class. I watched Sacrifice of Angels on Thursday and the Dukat story rocks. Dukat rocks.

But the Galaxy class ships being mixed in with all the others was just kinda sad. This big ship that was tough and special as recently as "The Jem Hadar" now reduced to just yet another model in the melee.

I wouldn't say DS9 ruined the GCS, but I never really liked how they upped the numbers of the fleet and had big huge space battles. I always imagined Star Trek fleet wars to be lots of smallish squadrons fighting numerous small engagements as part of a larger tapestry.

DS9 really started to change things up in 'Way of the Warrior'. 'The Die Is Cast' was still a 'small' fleet of a couple dozen ships getting ambushed by a much larger swarm of small ships. By 'WotW' it had become about dozens to hundreds of capital ships at stand-off distances doing nothing other than blowing up.

I just want to see a sci-fi show where the battles correctly account for scale. Instead of having everything done up close and in your face, you'd have dozens of battles going on in a star system. Some guys would be hitting a planet from multiple angles, others would be making raids on out-system posts, space stations and the like, and the defenders have the unenviable position of trying to defend everything and losing or defending something while sacrificing everything else (how much you sacrifice depending on how many forces you have at your disposal).

but i digress

Quote:
If Starfleet has 1000 ships, being 4x the size of the US academy might work out - thereabouts 4,000 graduates a year.

Starfleet has quite a bit more than 1000 ships though. Most of them would be in mothballs, but Starfleet believes in a reactivation clause for its personnel so I wouldn't be surprised if many of the ships that are decommissioned could be reactivated given notice in times of emergency. I suspect that's the favoured explanation for the DS9 Big Huge Fleets issue.

Also if we're going to use the USN as a guide for this, remember the CVNs are going to be utterly huge crew hogs, as are (to a lesser extent) the smaller carriers and amphib ships, and as you go down you have ships that get smaller and smaller. Cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates, SSNs and SSBNs etc, where the crew complement is low-hundreds IIRC. (like over a hundred, less than two hundred for stuff like DDGs and FFGs, but I don't know this stuff for sure I'm only vaguely remembering what crew sizes are like, SSNs don't have a huge crew complement either). Then you'll have the patrol boats and stuff, I don't know if they're part of the Coast Guard properly but anyway. Point is you have small ships too which may have a couple dozen people onboard.

Starfleet vessels tend to vary quite a bit, a thing I quite like about Trek although it does get a bit ridiculous when there are so many different classes that guys like John Eaves only added for the hell of it (First Contact I am looking at you!). Ships like the Defiant only have 50 people onboard. GCSs have at least a 1000, but a much larger capacity for more. This could be something everyone overlooks. The Enterprise-D in 'Yesterday's Enterprise' was said to carry thousands of troops, and the tech manual does note how the GCS in general has a lot of internal space onboard that rarely gets used though I forget the precise reason given (something about how the saucer section was modular and you could expand it in the future; plus there was something about how it could perform in an emergency to evacuate a colony for example). But then you have the Miranda classes and Excelsior classes, where the crew complement would be closer to what Kirk's Enterprise was like (i.e. mid-hundreds, 400-500) and they seem to comprise the majority of the fleet that we see.

As for there being only one academy, I don't know if that is sensible or not. Starfleet doesn't have many retirees or people who quit. It seems to be a service that you're in for the rest of your life. (Dr McCoy had actually left after TOS only to be reactivated in time for V'ger's visit in TMP - I would hazard a guess that Starfleet doesn't necessarily 'retire' people but places them on reserve to let fresh recruits a chance to shine when in peacetime) Upward mobility doesn't seem to matter either. Riker was XO of Enterprise for like over a decade and a half (maybe closer to two decades) before he finally got his own command. On the other hand, he was offered captaincy several times and turned it down, which in a modern military would be the end of his career from what I understand. Starfleet obviously doesn't have the 'up or out' policy for career advancement.

I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing. Federation society is a lot different to contemporary American or Western nations. Getting a promotion often means getting a higher paygrade, which is an attractive prospect for anyone building their careers. In Starfleet, nobody gets paid (no money lol).

In any case, only having one academy might be more a reflection of the earth-centric Federation than anything else. Humans are the heavy-lifters in the Federation it seems, you have vulcans too but Spock was a bit of an outlier and most vulcans tended to stick to their homeworld and have thrilling discussions about logic or whatever it was they got up to. Other species don't seem all that heavily represented. Now, that could mean we simply don't see them, and there are actually huge numbers of alien Starfleet people who crew their own ships or patrol quiet sectors. After all, we follow the adventures of one crew on one ship every episode, so it's not like we can conclude that human beings are the norm. (despite my assertion that they're the heavy lifters) But on the other hand, this doesn't seem to be something the writers really thought through in the various shows. Even Nog went to Earth to attend Starfleet Academy, after all, and DS9 was closer to Earth than large portions of the Federation are.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

364 for cruisers, 276 for destroyers, 215 for frigates, vs 4660 to 5830 for the carriers, (at least if the USN official website is to be believed). Just FYI.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Aircraft Carrier requires almost 5 times the men the Galaxy class does and we have 11 of them. Course alot of those are pilots and air crews. More comparable may be the Iowa Class Battleship which carried about 1800 people.

Doesn't the Sovereign have a smaller crew?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember though that the Enterprise-D was a GCS on peacetime exploration deployment. The GCS when outfitted for war could carry much, much larger ship complements (a large percentage of those would likely be troops for beaming down to invade a planet, as was implied in 'Yesterday's Enterprise' and was presumably seen during the Dominion War).
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