Continuing the series on Building a Navy, the Fleet Missions are the first concrete steps towards building a fleet. With the basic environment and goals laid down, a realistic (or at least plausible) series of operational requirements and operational postures begins to take shape.
The conjunction of Assumptions and Goals thusly details what missions the missions the Navy will work to support.
deWulf Fleet Missions
With the strategic goals developed, the next step is the examination of Fleet Missions. This draws primarily from the previous two discussed categories; the before-mentioned Strategic Goals, as well as the Fiscal Environment. Here we begin to look at what tools the Navy needs to specifically do in order to accomplish those Strategic Goals, while also keeping a mind as to how it can be financially supported (as the desired budget is almost always larger than what can be actually provided). Ideally assets are used to cover multiple similar tasks, but care must also be taken to ensure that this does not mean that meeting one need requires another to be completely neglected.
Service Roles and Missions
No single monolithic organization can hope to accomplish all the strategic goals listed previously; tasks should (and indeed must) be broken up into more focused, manageable pieces that enable groups to efficiently service these goals. While this creates the risk of inter-service rivalries and friction, the inherent efficiencies of smaller, more focused organizations more than make up for this. A critical part of this is the administrative part of the service: Fleets require not just fuel and munitions, but proper allocation of trained personnel issued equipment that is suited for the task that is at a minimum on-par with what their enemies may be equipped with.
- Department of Operations: The tip and blade of the sword
- Fleet Command – Tasked to conduct defensive and offensive operations as per command directives. Also conducts patrols and forward pickets as needed. Responsible for all mobile warships, carriers and associated parasite craft. The Navy maintains a small collection of armed transports and command ships to manage invasions and provide orbital command. They are also responsible for securing orbital control and providing orbital fire support.
- Communications Bureau – Maintains and manages fixed communication installations (but not mobile communications units, including semi-mobile communications “bases”). They are responsible for timely communication and general communications security. Leases excess data capacity to help self-fund.
- Customs Patrol – Responsible for smaller non-battle line units tasked with handling customs inspection and safety maintenance. Customs ships are occasionally seconded for Fleet usage. Customs units are generally supported by local funds instead of main naval budget. They make use of specialized unique ship designs, as well as occasional hand-me-downs from Naval ships that have been decommissioned.
- Strategic Planning – Involved in long-term forecasting and planning; they are the source of long term operations, contingency plans, and laying down the concepts for new equipment.
- Logistical Department: A multi-headed hydra
- Bureau of Logistics – Handles all heavy logistics for Navy units, and is responsible for cargo and life-support units. Handles all ships built for the deWulf navy’s cargo lift needs. Also manages day-to-day operation and use of naval munition colliers. Some ships are occasionally loaned to the Navy proper for ground assault and orbital fire support (the latter is a theoretical use).
- Yards & Docks Bureau – Responsible for the administration, management, and maintenance of orbital shipyards. An additional responsibility is providing in-depth safety inspections and maintenance for civilian ships.
- Base Command – Responsible for all fixed defenses at warp points and covering planets. Also includes on-planet defensive installations, and the care and maintenance of other planetary Navy infrastructure (such as office complexes, research centers and the like).
- Survey/Exploration Command – Responsible for the maintenance and deployment of survey ships, the exploration of new systems, and maintenance of accurate navigational data. One subset responsibility is the maintenance of navigational infrastructure in inhabited star systems.
- Administration Department: Supporting the Fleet
- Ship Design Bureau – Tasked with taking requirements from Strategic Planning and available technology from Research Co-Ordination, they take overarching concepts and individual components and create a coherent design. They often struggle with Yards & Docks (who have to explain why some concepts are not entirely possible).
- Research Co-Ordination – The Navy does not do much research on their own, instead working with 3rd party research and design teams. Research Co-Ord manages proposals, contract tenders, and ensures that R&D is turned into deliverable products. Generally.
- Bureau of Personnel – Everyone has to be useful somewhere, and this bureau is who makes sure they are where they need to be. They also handle payroll, promotions, dismissals, disputes, and the thousands of other tasks needed to keep an organization humming.
- The Army: In the end it always come down to a soldier and their weapon
- deWulf Army– Responsible for all ground combat and atmospheric-only aircraft (though some craft are orbit-capable and theoretically interplanetary). Also provides attached security troops to warships similar to marines (there is no separate “Marine” corps, though there are units trained in that task).
The deWulf Navy Concept of Operations (CONOPS) is primarily a defensive posture by having major fleet concentrations in nodal systems, ideally in locations of intrinsic value beyond location. Major capital units are located towards the core of State space, with lighter units operating as pickets and conducting patrols of shipping lanes.
When forced to the offensive (when a politically motivated peace treaty in the deWulf’s favor is unlikely) the deWulf Navy works to isolate core systems and planets before sieging and reducing them. This necessitates both a core of heavy units for the final assault, as well as lighter vessels needed to maintain a secure blockade around a planet while remaining outside of any planet-based weapons.
Given the limitations of warp point FTL, light raiding operations are considered infeasible unless hostile space has been well-mapped enough to allow for either a porous enough border or exposed systems that are vulnerable to raids. Wherever possible the deWulf Navy favors having a light border picket with heavy units just behind, positioned to counterattack while hostile elements are busy working to secure a system.
deWulf units are primarily homeported at fleet bases in strategic nodal positions. Capital units are not sent on multi-system patrols, but can be expected to patrol in their homeported system. Lighter units can and will be sent on patrol routes on high-traffic freight lanes, and will be deployed as forward picket units.
A substantial balance of the fleet’s TO&E is kept “in ordinary” at the reserve station in Sif orbit (in the deWulf capital star system). These ships are not combat ready, but in the case of an extended conflict can be brought back into service either at the reserve station shipyards or the nearby Mittelspannung Shipyards. The majority of units at Reserve Station Sif are heavy capital units, as their expense and long-lead construction times makes them an effective cost control target.
The nature of warp points creates both forward areas, border zones, and rear “secure areas.” Primary nodal positions are selected based on the size of local population/infrastructure and on their warp point geography. Neither point is superior, but a balance is best struck to offer the fleet a position that can support long-term operations and maintenance, and still be close enough to potential combat zones to arrive promptly.
While the threat of hidden warp points means that no “rear area” can be considered truly safe, thorough warp point surveys reduce the possibility of possible threats, and given the size of the deWulf state, even “rear areas” are not that far away from forward fleet bases.