View Full Version : Rebel Military Academy

1 September 2004, 07:32 PM
Vanger and I were chatting a few minutes ago about a character of mine and determining rank. Now I always assumed she would be of the non-com variety, but then I got to thinking: In the Rebel military would their actually be officers in the classic sense? What I mean is that in current military society an officer is an indivicual who has gone to an academy to receive special training in leading others. A non-com has not. In the Rebel military, though, it is a rag-tag group of freedom fighters that have formed a military, and aside from those that received academy training by the Imperials, few formally trained officers would exist. As far as I know there was never a formal Rebel Academy, there just was not the time or resources. Sure some officers might be gleaned from planets that have joined up and still have a military like the Bothand and the Mon Cals, but that is really not enough to supply classically trained officers to the Rebel Military.

My thought is that the Rebel military is probably more of a mertiocracy than a strict rank structure. We see that Han and Lando are granted high officer status due to their life skills, wisdom, and charisma, rather than formal officer training. So it seems that their General status is more like a Warent Officer rank, than a classic officer rank.

So what do you think? Do you think there would be a different rank structure for officers, noncoms, and warent officers, as there is in a classic military? Or do you think that there would essentially be one rank structure for each branch, and that advance would be based more on merit than classic training?

2 September 2004, 07:58 AM
Doc, are you familiar with field commissions? If a unit needs officers and isn't expecting any replacements, whoever is in charge will just pick the smartest, most experienced natural leaders and say, "You're officers now." The enlisted folks are then expected to treat them with all the obedience and respect they'd give an academy graduate. In fact, considering that field commissioned officers have already showed their abilities in the field, the enlisted are more likely to respect their abilities. Especially compared to a wet-behind the ears 2Lt or Ens who never did anything but go to school.

I agree that the Rebels don't have the luxury of the Empire's training facilities, so advancement would be based on merit. But I don't think that would change the fundamental rank structure of the Alliance. They don't have a formal training program to achieve their rank, but once they hold the rank, their duties and responsibilities will be just the same as academy trained officers.

2 September 2004, 09:24 AM
No, I was not aware of such a thing, but I guess I do not see the point. If a noncom can be made an officer in a time of need (and the Rebels would always be in a time of need), then why bother having a seperate officer class? Why not have one rank ladder that both clasically trained and feild trained rise on?

As you can probably guess I have never been in the military. I just started wondering how a rebel military would differ from a classic military.

2 September 2004, 09:50 AM
Part of it has to do with the idea that officers are trained in the "art of war" and things like logistics and command style. This is the kind of thing the Rebels get out of officer defections and older officers, like Madine, Dodonna, et. al.
Noncoms are the evolutions of the common soldier, and in many ways are more effective in leadership positions, because they are supposed to think in smaller terms, like "the team", as opposed to 'the company".
If the character is an experianced operative, who hasn't held formal rank, it could be argued that they are a sergent equivilent if they are a 'team leader', but like Audie Murphy, they could be frocked as a Lietenant should the need arise. For the rebels, it matters less the rank than the actions, although an officer may be theoretically the head of the team, it is usually the sarge that runs the show.
Just my 2 cents.

2 September 2004, 11:29 AM
I understand that, and in a classic military one can argue for two seperate rank structures based on education. Where the Rebels differ is that people like Madine and Ackbar are few and far between, where as people like Calrisian and Skywalker are more the norm. If a majority of your officer pool is the result of field commision then where is sense in having a officer/noncom seperation?

One more question: If a person can be field commisioned in to officer rank, then where does that place the Warren Officer?

2 September 2004, 12:43 PM
It also is a question of responsibilty and knowlage/experiance and role.
A naval officer has differant responsibilities and expertise than a noncom. The same with a fighter pilot. What Skywalker lacks in education, he makes up for in experience, and the responsibility of that role requires that he be an officer. The Alliance is still bound to traditional military structure inasmuch that the majority of trained personel are used to and comforted by structure. The military structure is designed for a combination of efficiency on the lower levels and redunancy on the higher levels, so as to keep from being crippled easily. A division can lose a regimental CP and replace it with staff officers, who, while not as compentant, are still far superior to a direct command link to each battalion from division.
It isn't very pretty, but it has been proven to work well enough, and the 'don't fix what isn't broken' principle really does apply well enough.
As for the WO. When I had games, we 'rewrote' SW military structure, as well as the tech loadout of the military, and ended up with a pretty good Dale Brown feel to our Starfighter based game (of course, we handle complexity well). The WO replaced the Flight Officer rank, and the WO could be frocked up to officer status if they command a flight or squadron (for example, Hobbie and Janson were CWO3s until they left Rogue Squadron, in the game). In general, the Warrant ranks funtion like the Specialist rank does for enlisted men (to further convolute things, warrant officer is now a misnomer, they are commissioned officers in the US). They handle special equipment that the military doens't trust an NCO with, but an officer, with the millions of dollars invested in training, is a bit overkill (once again, this isn't true anymore, the US military uses WO as officers for special uses, like helicopter piloting and specops).

Vanger Chevane
2 September 2004, 01:58 PM
The tradition of both groups in the US Military dates back to the WWII Technical Sergeant. The term Warrant Officer is derived from the fact that until recently (along with MWO5) WO's were not given a Formal Commission from the President, but a Warrant of Rank from the Branch Secretary (thereby being of a somewhat, yet intangible, lesser status).

At one time Specialist Grades ran from E-4 thru E-7, and Warrant's had grades 1-4. Both allow someone to achieve an equivalent rank to Sergeants & Officers without the Leadership requirement & expectation.

Specialist Grades ran equivalent from Corporal to Platoon Sergeant, WO grades from 2Lt/Ens to Major/LtCmdr. The recent addition of MWO5 to achieve a status on par with a Light Colonel/Commander. Note that the significant Leadership Ranks (1SG, SGM, CSM, Col/Capt, & Gen/Adm) are beyond the reach of the Specialist/Warrant equivalences.

Few ppl expect a Helo Pilot to be able to effectively lead a platoon to company of troops into combat, as one would a regular Lieutenant or Captain. The WO grades allow those pilots to recieve pay, respect, & perqs that make the job reasonably attractive.

If said Rotorhead was stuck with PFC as the highest they could go, turnover would be hideous as ppl would turn in the minimum required to get the "free" training & become a well-paid Civilian Pilot. Performance of those units would also suffer horribly, being staffed mostly with low-morale slackers & underachievers.

For the most part, Specialist & Warrant ranks are a way to allow highly skilled non-leadership personnel to recieve a pay & perq package beyond that normally available that makes it attractive to maintain a high level of performance & stay in the service.

I do agree that for a large part, the Rebellion is a Meritocracy, but there will be exceptions. Han Solo well before ANH had achieved the rank of Lieutenant in the Imperial Navy before being busted out for saving Chewbacca's life. Skywalker held the rank of Commander in RotJ, and later General before resigining to focus on Jedidom.

General Madine & Colonel Crespin both defected from the Imperial Military, Jan Dodonna had a full Military Retirement, including being given the Commenorian moon of Brelor to retire to as a reward from the Emperor for his distiguished service & Imperial Career. It's quite likely that defectors were awarded rank equivalent to, if not slightly greater than, the Imperial Rank they abandoned.

IMHO Skywalker wasn't that great a leader, justifying his rank on merit alone. At some point he had to have recieved promotions at least partly based on politics. The New Republic would likely be embarrassed by certain propaganda mills if The Great Jedi Skywalker were a Captain, like most of his fellow Squadron Leaders.

Keep in mind that for up to a year after RotJ (Truce at Bakura), Wedge Antilles is a Captain despite the fact that he's been in Starfighter Command much longer, in unquestionably an Elite Pilot, and unarguably a very capable leader.

2 September 2004, 02:07 PM
Here's how the Sparks group handles ranks..

1.) The Rank System: Several characters have a military rank in the Rebellion. Some start in military service such as the Rebel Special Forces Operative, but other characters have joined up voluntarily. At this time player characters can only join the Rebel Special Forces. Any other branch of the Rebel military would prevent freelance missions (the character would be retired). The rank system is based on points earned to show advancement through the enlisted and then the officer ranks. The system involves Rank Points. One character point earned equals one rank point. Adventures may award additional points to players as appropriate however only to actual members of the Rebellion. There are two levels of ranks, Enlisted and Officers. The number of Rank Points collected determines the rank of the character.

Enlisted Ranks
0 19 Private/Recruit
20 39 Private
40 69 Private First Class
70 99 Corporal
100 139 Sergeant
140 179 Staff Sergeant
180 219 Sergeant First Class
220 259 Master Sergeant
260 299 First Sergeant
300 349 Sergeant Major

Officer Ranks
350 399 Second Lieutenant
400 499 First Lieutenant
500 599 Captain
600 699 Major
700 849 Lieutenant Colonel
850 999 Colonel
1000 1249 Brigadier General
1500 1999 Major General
2000+ General

2 September 2004, 02:24 PM
Didn't we discuss a lot of this in another thread once, Vanger? I'll be damned if I can find it though.

Anyhoo, the high emphasis on the key players in the Rebellion and the Empire really never allowed us to see the enlisted troops "in action". Sure, we saw plenty of troops get creamed at Hoth, and we saw hundreds of enlisted clones at Geonosis, but the focus of the films and novels has always been on the high-ranking officers and leaders. With that said, there is a large place for the enlisted being in the military forces of the SW galaxy.

Officers need troops to lead. Troops are almost never officers. In the SpecOps community, you can certainly expect officers to be in the thick of things. The same goes for your fighter pilots, but those are different cases. Now certainly the Rebellion wasn't going to waste men by massing large ground formations and throwing them at the enemy. But not every position in the Rebel military was a leadership position. You had your techs, commo guys, flight crews, supply and admin personnel. All those folks were almost certainly enlisted troops.

In simpler terms, enlisted troops do the work, while officers supervise the work. But even with enlisted troops doing the work, they still need a leadership element that is 'hands-on", therefore you have the Noncommissioned Officer. His job is to supervise his troops, provide guidance and assistance to his officers, and to ensure that the work gets done, and gets done to standard. Historically, NCOs (or the equivalent), have been the primary trainers of troops. Officers are certainly skilled in training, but many of their duties require them to engage in battle planning and strategy, leaving them little time to train their men in battle tasks and drills. So they leave the bulk of their task training to their NCOs, who are usually more than capable of handling any mission assigned to them. This leaves the officers more time to focus on officer duties, without having to worry about whether or not Private Twi'Lek or Corporal Bothan have cleaned their blaster rifles adequately. The officer knows that Sergeant Rodian can handle those details.

I see no reason to not have NCOs in the Rebellion. But since the Rebel military appears much more streamlined than a typical military force, they can probably get away with having only a few enlisted ranks. Private (or Trooper), Corporal, Sergeant, Technical Sergeant, and maybe Master Sergeant are about all they would really need.

Vanger Chevane
2 September 2004, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by wolverine
Here's how the Sparks group handles ranks..

1.) The Rank System: Several characters have a military rank in the Rebellion. Some start in military service such as the Rebel Special Forces Operative, but other characters have joined up voluntarily. At this time player characters can only join the Rebel Special Forces. Any other branch of the Rebel military would prevent freelance missions (the character would be retired). The rank system is based on points earned to show advancement through the enlisted and then the officer ranks. The system involves Rank Points. One character point earned equals one rank point. Adventures may award additional points to players as appropriate however only to actual members of the Rebellion. There are two levels of ranks, Enlisted and Officers. The number of Rank Points collected determines the rank of the character.

I tend to disagree with this system as it reflects a US, not SW, military rank structure and implies that Enlisted Leadership is significantly inferior to all Officers.

I've found that often the better leaders are Senior Enlisted, and for a leader to be Officer or Enlisted is mostly a matter of choice, not ability or skill.

7 September 2004, 10:23 AM
well... i dont know much about modern american military, so i cant give you any parallels there, but i have spent a lot of time in south america and have seen more of a guerilla style hierchy, which i believe is very similar to the Rebellion as it is almost entirely merit based. for example, though many of the guerilleras have already been in other military or paramilitary they generally all start on the same level, though those with special abilities or leadership skills will obviously advance faster in rank. promotions are always in field, generally following exceptional performance in combat and fullfilling any specified role in the organization. in this way people like ernesto "che" guevarra advanced from simple recruits (with no combat experience) to the second in command of the guerilla group, passing people that had much more education in tactics and even more field experience.
i would imagine the rebellion works something like that, although as it is a political entity as well, public image would possibly play a fairly big role (hence Luke Skywalker as commander... for gamers, the Sypathy/Fame rating could translate well into ranks). so there she is...

Vanger Chevane
7 September 2004, 01:55 PM
I would also propose that the Rebellion would have some sort of Officer's Training Course/Academy, much as the have Flight Schools for starfighter & ship pilots.

Prior Experience could make taking the course unnecessary, but IMHO it would have to exist (albeit on a small or few-location basis for much of the Imperial Era) to train recruits with appropriate skill/ability how to be an officer.

Otherwise you really don't have a clear path for someone to become an Officer other than Imperial Service, obvious existing skill, or succession by attrition. There really seems no way to earn those Officer's Pips if you aren't handed them from the start or someone up your chain of command dies.

Lucas Carr
8 September 2004, 04:20 PM
In the Swedish military, everyone with a higher rank than private, is an officer. So both corporals and sergeants are officers.

This might have something to do with the fact that the Swedish military have few full time officers while the larger part is normal people who have gone through some sort of military service, which was compulsory for all men when I graduated from high school. Fewer do it now since less money is assigned to the military.

After military service, most are privates. But there are group and platoon leaders as well, though these have low rank. There is a military academy for those that want to become full time officers, but there is no corresponding job opportunity equivalent to enlisting in the US military.

Or that's how I remember it anyway.

28 September 2004, 03:32 PM
I think the advancement of NCOs/Officers would depend on the campaign you are running.

In a small rebel cell that doesn't have very much support from the Alliance, (and therefore possibly limited military knowledge), the rank would be merit-based, but may also be based on who is in good with the boss.

A larger, better organized cell or sector force would have a more defined career progression for the average trooper.

16 December 2004, 12:53 PM
<i>(I know this thread's a bit out of date, but I thought I'd resurrect it because it's something I've been thinking about, due to the fact that I'm currently GMing a campaign involving the formation of the Rebellion.)</i>

I've always thought of the early Rebellion military history being somewhat similar to the early stages of the American Revolution: a volunteer "citizen-soldier" miltia that starts locally, moves to a loosely organised regional army, and eventually becomes a professional continental fighting force.

The standard soldier in the beginning of the AR would have been a well-intentioned patriot with a bit of hunting/shooting experience, perhaps a bit of low-level militia training, and a passion for freedom. Those who stayed on would have become a battle-hardened, adaptable soldier with varied combat experience. That formulae would eventually make them more effective than their better trained, better equipped, less adaptable, less personally motivated counterparts.

The early officers in the AR were drawn from three areas: lower-grade former British officers, political activists with an affinity for organising people, and skilled militiamen who proved their ability in guerrilla-type operations during the French and Indian War. America had no proper officer's training school (West Point) until some 20 years after the AR was completed. Most of the commissioning (below the rank of colonel) was done on the field by Washington or his generals--the Continental Congress only involved itself in the most senior appointments.

One of the beauties of the American military structure during the AR was that the Continental commanders had an advantage in their more flexible approach to the art of war. Aware that they had much to learn, they tended to approach problems with a less rigid attitude. In effect, they "grew into their jobs." Also, they were able to make decisions without a large chain-of-command and restricting military protocol.


Vanger Chevane
16 December 2004, 01:44 PM
Very reasonable.

At the inception, the Rebel Alliance is going to be very scratch-force & guerrila-like in it's training. You take what you can get & most, if not all, training is on-the-job. There'd also be a lack of uniform issue, most units would appear to be Mecenaries or Pirates instead of a Standing Military.

As the Rebellion gains momentum, there'll be the establishment of more formal Training Camps & Bases. It's quite likely that at least a part of the Yavin Base was for Training for Raw Recruits and/or more Advanced Courses for veteran personnel. Supply & issue would be more uniform, but not there yet. One could find a well-supplied unit with matching "spec" uniforms & gear in good shape fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with a unit that looks more like a scruffy pack of mercenaries, equipped with whatever they could lay their hands on and units that run the range between.

Toward RotJ & beyond there'd be specific non-combat training bases (such as Folor) for both recruits & those that come in with existing skill, as well as more of a formalized structure and standardized supply, Code of Conduct, Uniforms, Force Structure, etc. Here is the point where much of the Rebel Forces look & act like a regular Army/Navy, but there's still going to be places where it's just Jobath and his Drinking Buddies carrying their trusty Hunting Rifles.

17 December 2004, 07:08 PM
If you look at the artwork from the American Revolution, you see the exact same thing--uniformed, professional looking soldiers mixed in with guys who looked like they just wandered in from a hunting trip!

Even late on in the AR, when the Continental Army was better trained and better equipped, some battles were fought by local militia groups (particularly on the frontier, against the Native American tribes that sided with the British). So, I would say the parallels are pretty strong...

22 December 2004, 07:30 PM
On more thought on the AR and the SW Rebal Allaince. Both durring and after the AR the US sought and aquired the aid foreign officers who had retired or otherwise were no longer attached to their home country's military forces. They wear mainly used as a training tool rather than combat comanders and I would assume that the rebels did much the same. After all, the Imperial Military was VERY large, and their action on behalf of palpatine couldn't have been like by every officer.

Just my two cents ;)

23 December 2004, 01:01 AM
Another parallel I thought of was the whole "citizen-soldier" concept; that most of the people who served in the American Revolution and in the Rebel Alliance would have went back to being whatever they had been before the struggle began. Very few actually became career military people. Most served to win freedom, then enjoyed the benefits of that freedom. They were not kept on board indefinitely as a large standing army.

Night who says ni
24 December 2004, 12:11 PM
They could have taken the people who have left the Empire and have already went through formal training or have been part of a local military (as stated above) this would explain Han (going to a imperial academy), and Lando (who was the leader of cloud city). Another way is that people would have proven themself in battle (luke started out as red 5 which was just a supporting squad for the y-wing main attack squadern but in destroying the death star there has to be some promotion with that, although the idea of a jedi leading there troops would have boosted moral)

Just my opinion I could be wrong.

24 December 2004, 01:20 PM
Have a Jedi in the lead durring these dark times would also be great for PR / recruting. No matter what Luke thought of it, it was probably done anyway by recruters trying to get fresh meat for the grinder.


2 June 2005, 11:56 AM
interesting thread.

But i have to agree. The moment Luke became a jedi, it was like...yep that's right he the great JEDI LUKE SKYWALKER, Hell after every acheivement they added another word onto his title. It must have gotten pretty big by the end of the war

The Great Jedi Luke Skywalker Destroyer of Death Star, Converter of Vader, Killer of the Emperor (or so everybody thought), rebuilder of the accademy, father, husband, uncle, and all around snappy dresser not to mention....he's a nice guy

16 June 2006, 10:57 AM
can't forget green to gold programs, where soldiers can go from non com to officer through college. There was also the training facility the Alliance established to train Special Forces, could it be assumed they also trained some officers there?
You also have to take into consideration the life expectancy of officers on the battlefield. In most battles, it could be as few as 6 seconds, making it now the responsibility of the Non Com to command the platoon instead.