I've often wondered when ST:ENT showed the founding of the Federation. We also saw the new Vulcan High Command begin to decommission many of its military vessels. Do we know anything about what the other founding members of the Federation did with their military vessels?

Did all the species just dissolve their militaries and share technology to create human-centric Federation vessels? Or does each member still command its own military force of starships?

Do we have any evidence in any of the TV series or films to show what happened to members' military vessels?

Do any of the (non) canon books mention anything about this?

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    we know in DS9 there's a Starfleet vessel crewed entirely by Vulcans
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 8 '21 at 19:27
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    @NKCampbell I think the OP is asking if the Vulcans etc maintain non-Starfleet fleets.
    – Hans Olo
    Oct 8 '21 at 20:02
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    I know @HansOlo - just adding that as color. My hunch is that no, they do not maintain their own military fleet. Nice catch using Lower Decks - haven't seen the latest episode yet!
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 8 '21 at 20:07
  • Don't know what show or episode it was, but there was a criticism in that episode on the fact that most of Starfleet was a human organization and that most worlds held their own defenses while the Humans were left to watch over everybody.
    – A.bakker
    Oct 9 '21 at 8:27
  • They'd probably have a Coast Guard. Oct 9 '21 at 10:04

In the episode "wej Duj", Season 2 Episode 9 of the Star Trek: Lower Decks series that takes place in the late 24th century and which is considered canon (*), we see the Vulcan Cruiser Sh'val, which is non-Starfleet and is crewed entirely by Vulcans.

At the end of the episode, the young Vulcan who is the focus of the episode (T’Lyn) gets a transfer to Starfleet as apparently she was too rebellious for the Vulcan fleet.

Hence, at least one of the species, namely the Vulcans, still have their own fleet independently from Starfleet.

(*) The show's canonicity was confirmed by its creator Mike McMahan in a recent interview:

So the trick with ‘Lower Decks’ is that our characters are, our stories and our characters are definitely in canon.

As this info has not been contradicted by CBS thus far, it's safe to assume it still stands.

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  • 7
    I have literally just watched this episode today on UK Amazon Prime Vids and it was a huge and fun insight into Vulcan ships. I loved it. I wondered if there were any more instances of this though. Thanks for your answer though. I really apprciate and kudos for being a Lower Decks fan! :)
    – RustyFluff
    Oct 8 '21 at 21:32
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    @Hans Olo Species do not maintain military, governments do. The Vulcan government could be a planetary government, a star system government, a multi star sysem government, or a species government ruling all members of the Vulcan species. I note that a species wide government would be consistent with also being any of the other three types. But species membership does not not automatically make one a taxpayer and citizen of a government that other members of your species support, as the present situation on Earth shows. Continued. Oct 9 '21 at 18:45
  • @Hans Olo Continued. There could be Vulcan starships which accidentially traveled too far away from Vulcan to ever return, whose crews colonized distant planets. There could be populations of Vulcans abducted by aliens and settled on distant worlds,. There could be lost Vulcan colonies from the first era of Vulcan star travel - the origin speculated for the Romulans in "Balance of Terror". Vulcan emotion embracing dissidents could have formed their own society & government on some planet. And of course The Romulan Empire is populated by members of the Vulcan species. Oct 9 '21 at 18:51
  • Is this show canonical? It seemed to have some pretty noncanonical stuff in it
    – Andrey
    Oct 13 '21 at 20:44
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    @Andrey According to the show's creator (Mike McMahan) it's definitely canon, see blog.trekcore.com/2019/08/… I'll update the answer with this info to make it clear.
    – Hans Olo
    Oct 14 '21 at 9:02

It is around time of ST:ENT S4 where one of its plotlines suggests an explanation for that era:

The rather militaristic Vulcan Navy was being manipulated by Romulan agents. After our heroes recover the teachings of Surak, and uncover some of the corruption (but not the Romulan connection), the Vulcans have a radical change of heart and move toward their TOS attitudes.

However, Vulcans retain their own intelligence service at least through TNG era.

Vulcans have starships. It’s just since the founding of the Federation that they rely on Federation ships for “military purposes” to extent that post ST:ENT Vulcans have military purposes. Vulcan ships appear in the films: in ST:The Motion Picture, the Enterprise rendezvous with a Vulcan shuttle to collect Spock. Vulcan ships are also seen through TNG series.

But while they have starships, they have not generally maintained an armed navy.

TOS: “The Immunity Syndrome” starts with Spock "Feeling" the all Vulcan crew of the Federation Starship Intrepid die. Vulcans are both assigned to Federation crews, and in some cases, the entire crew of Federation ship is Vulcan. In any case, these are plumb resources for the Vulcans, as it was mentioned that the Intrepid was the only Federation Starship manned by Vulcans; also Kirk has suggested there are only 12 of the class in the fleet.

There were also indications that the status of a “military fleet” may have been changing by end of TNG era as seen in “Unification, Pt. 2.”

In this episode, the Romulans stole Vulcan ships to confront Romulan ships and were full of Romulan shock troops ready to sneak attack in a surprise attack under a false gesture of peace. Why it was not a surprise that Vulcans would send a flotilla of their own ships and not a Federation ship is not explained, nor confirmation of a move by Vulcan further towards or away from maintaining their own “military” fleet.

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    Couple of notes - I think you mean "Reunification, Part II" rather than "Reunion". Also - in "Reunification, Part II" the Vulcans didn't send any ships. The three ships were stolen by Romulans (and Sela) as 'trojan horses' as it were, filled with Romulan troops to occupy Vulcan
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 8 '21 at 20:12
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    what amazes me is 3 ships filled with Romulan shock troops could overcome an entire planet the size of Vulcan. Have they truly gone FULL-Sarak and become pacifist? Don't even have militia or police? Are they like Japan?
    – RustyFluff
    Oct 8 '21 at 21:35
  • "SELA: Ambassador Spock will be telling his people to welcome the peace envoy. And when they do, our forces will seize control before anyone realises what has happened. PICARD: Do you seriously believe that the Federation will not immediately intervene? SELA: Of course it will, and we're fully prepared for it. But we will be there, entrenched, and it will be very difficult to get us out once we are. Reunification will become a fact of life." @RustyFluff - chakoteya.net/NextGen/207.htm
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 8 '21 at 21:39
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    Regarding "it was mentioned that the Intrepid was the only Federation Starship only manned by Vulcans" I think you need to delete the "only" before Federation starship and leave the "only" for manned by Vulcans. It is merely "A" ship.This episode was a clue for how Starfleet works. Intrepid is a human name for a ship. The fact it was manned by Vulcans implies Federation members are technologically unified. But it was not a particularly integrated racially fleet. Spock is serving on a Starfleet ship in the United Earth Space Probe Agency human fleet because he is eligible as half human. Oct 8 '21 at 23:35
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    @RustyFluff Sela's plan seems to need an almost Trumpian level election reversal Hail Mary pass to work. Thinking about it now it seems the expectation is that a secretly occupied Vulcan will formally opt to secede from the Federation immediately and that no one would question it being under duress because all of the i's will be dotted properly. Oct 9 '21 at 0:16

Based on episodes from the Lower Decks series and other offhand remarks or implications over the years in various series, various non-Earth Federation members retain their own military vessels.

And if you think about it, it makes sense. They'd probably want something to at least defend their own system from attack, since there's no guarantee Starfleet would happen to have ships there at any given time. Earth, on the other hand, as the capital of the Federation and headquarters of Starfleet, and the Solar System home to a number of fleet yards and major bases, is pretty much guaranteed to have ships around (Star Trek: The Motion Picture being a counterexample, and one of the very few), so Earth doesn't need its own fleet.

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