3

When Finn describes the Starkiller to Leia in the novelization of The Force Awakens, he mentions that the weapon is also the First Order's headquarters:

“It’s located on the world that serves as the First Order’s main base,” Finn told her. “I’m sure that’s where they’ve taken my friend. I need to get there, fast.”

This strikes me as an incredibly stupid move on the part of the First Order - they must have known that, once they deployed the weapon, it would become the most important target for the Resistance fighters. Even if the Order thought the chances of the Resistance succeeding were small, it still seems like an obviously terrible idea to give the Resistance such an opportunity - instead of having to destroy the Order's headquarters and its weapon in two separate operations, they can do both at once.

Why would the First Order choose to live on the thing that their enemies would be desperately trying to destroy?

8

TL;DR:

Because it was totally invulnerable, if not for a 100% freaky set of coincidences:

  1. A stormtrooper with knowledge of the system defects
  2. He ends up with Resistance
  3. Han Solo ends up with Resistance
  4. They manage to come up with a plan to destroy the weapon (requiring Statura's brilliant brainstorm that really is unrealistic)
  5. They manage to come up with a way to get a crew INSIDE the shields (only Solo could have thought up a plan to do that, so #3 is critical).
  6. That insane plan succeeds
  7. They manage to elude capture AND capture a senior officer (Phasma) who folds and turns off the shields, instead of telling them to go to nine seven Corellian hells.
  8. They have spare detonators, because Rey busted out herself, which they can use to blow the oscillattor bunker from inside (critical, see details below)
  9. They succeed in that "blow from inside" plan
  10. Enough X-Wings survive planetary defenses to take advantage of 1 small hole.

Details

There's no direct canon answer, but the strong option is because they didn't hold the opinion that it COULD or WOULD be destroyed.

Why? Because even Resistance agreed with them:

  • They had no idea it existed, OR where it was:

    “No reason to keep that a secret from the people guarding it,” Poe pointed out with quiet glee, “since stormtroopers never defect.”
    “We’re desperate,” Leia told Finn, “for anything you can tell us. Until the Hosnian system was annihilated, we didn’t even know such a weapon existed.”

  • The moment they can't rely on security through obscurity, they have assets to protect it:

    “We’d likely get only one shot at it,” Poe put in. “What Admiral Ackbar said about keeping it secret would only work as long as its location remains unknown. Once the First Order realizes that we know where it is, they’d throw everything they’ve got into defending it with ships, mobile stations, and long-range detectors. We might never get close to it again.”

    and, the galaxy's resident strategic and tactical genius concurs:

    “None of this is possible,” a downcast Ackbar postulated. “While the planet in question may at present be deliberately underdefended, the instant we move forces out of hiding and in its direction, the First Order will realize that we know the location of the weapon. They will mobilize everything in the vicinity to protect it. Their fleet is too large for us to fight our way through. Additionally, despite what Poe theorizes, I would wager they must already have at least a minimal planetary shield in place. Plainly, they can access the energy to support such a defense.” He looked at Finn, whose reply was not encouraging.

  • The base itself is heavily defended: they have the infamous flickering planetary shield (and no idea Han would be insane enough to crash through it) and very effective missile batteries.

    Ackbar remained pessimistic. “Any plan is pointless as long as their shields are in place. A proper planetary defense system, as this one is sure to have, will not allow for ‘a way past them.’ ”

    and

    Seekers. Hundreds of seekers, rising from launch batteries concealed beneath the soil and snow. Rising toward him and his fellow pilots, giving them little room to maneuver—or escape.

  • AND most of the weapon is underground, or in fortified bunkers.

    Remember that nuclear proton torpedoes from X-Wings didn't destroy Oscillator control, till Han and company opened up a structural hole by blowing things up from INSIDE.

  • 1
    Blowing things up from inside? Why do I suddenly have Phantom Menace flashbacks? – DaaaahWhoosh Jan 8 '16 at 14:24
  • @DaaaahWhoosh - for obvious reasons that need not be stated :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 8 '16 at 14:27

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