I see all the time, important character (i.e: bridge crew), might include the captain and first mate (case of uss shenzhou) are in boarding party. Dead crew result in missing slot at the bridge.

Why don't starfleet have a (few) dedicate boarding team consist of marines to do boarding action. It might take only dozen of marines for boarding action that does not take much crew space.

Marines are better at fighting, because they spend all the time training fighting, not how to man the station. And their dead don't have much impact on functioning of the ship.

  • 1
    Starfleet isn’t a military organisation. They don’t have “marines”. Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 16:23
  • But their captain must have a lot of training invested in him. Replacing a lower-ranked "exploration team" would be less expensive than replacing the five highest officers in the crew.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 19:46
  • @NomadMaker: Seeing how often away teams require lots of expertise in all kinds of topics (scientific, technical, diplomatic, ...), I don't quite buy your assumption that such an "exploration team" would necessarily be "less expensive". Arguably, in the setup you suggest, the "exploration team" might actually be expensive and highly trained crew, while the captain would only be an administrative functionary who supervises the regular operation on board of the ship. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


Real life explanation:

The main cast members are all officers, so they are the ones who are doing pretty much everything in the shows. Except for a few background extras who pretty much are only there to get killed. IF they were using specialized boarding parties they would be A: The new main characters, that would either bloat the cast giving all characters reduced screen time or B: Their actions would be mainly off-screen or short cutaways with some nameless grunts.

In Universe Explanation:

Starfleet is not a military organization but more of a police force. That's why they don't have marines on their ship. At best a ship is only housing a small security force and that's it. The Defiant for example, a war ship was classified as an Escort Vessel because of the ideology that warships don't belong in the Federation.

The last real military branch part of Starfleet were the MACO's, but they were disbanded at the founding of the Federation with the remaining officers taking new positions in the Federation.

I admit it's ridiculous at times, like in an episode of DS9 where three two-person vessels were used in combat by the head of the station, the second in command, the chief science officer, the chief engineer, the chief medical officer and head of security while there were dozens of Bajoran and Starfleet personnel available.

It was rule to always have a senior officer present for negotiating purposes as Federation policy was to avoid conflict. It was advised that captains do not join the Away team (something Janeway and Picard rarely did), but Kirk, for example, loved the excitement of going in head first. The reason why there is often more then one officer in the away team is because of the need for medical/engineering aid, or something technical/scientific that needed to be researched by the chief engineer/science officer. In reality, those are just excuses to solve the real-life issue of keeping the cast size to a minimum.

  • Well, why don't send security force instead of important officer ? Or just 1 or 2 officer doing command and mission with the group of security force doing the shoting instead of sending a group of officers ? I don't say full marine phatoon, just a dozen of marines should do the job of boarding (and anti-boarding).
    – Haha TTpro
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 15:56
  • 1
    @HahaTTpro Edited my answer, but it is mainly in-universe excuses for real life issues.
    – A.bakker
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 16:05
  • 3
    If you send a hammer, it'll act like the problem is a nail
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 16:16
  • Starfleet explicitly isn’t a police force, at least in Roddenberry’s series bible for The Next Generation (see page 11). Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 16:34
  • @HahaTTpro why a dozen? Doesn’t it depend what ship they’re boarding? A thousand “marines” (whatever they are — when have we see marines in Star Trek?) wouldn’t have made any difference when they boarded the Borg cube in Q Who?. How often does Starfleet send boarding parties onto unknown ships anyway? Starfleet’s primary missions are exploration and diplomacy. Away teams are usually designed to explore, defend themselves if necessary (which they’re trained and equipped to do), and beam back to the nice big starship and get the shields up as soon as they encounter anything really hostile. Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 16:37

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