With no other beings in the world other than the humans in the colonies, why was there a colonial army with battleships and vipers who train to fight space wars?

In the original series it would have made a bit more sense because there were other beings in the galaxy, but in the re-imagination I don't understand why.

(One possibility is a national guard type of thing, to quell colony wars and crime, I suppose.)

  • 1
    It was those damned dirty Sagitarrons, that's what. You have to keep an eye on those guys. Even your hitherto unexplained hate for them can sneak up on you halfway through the series with no previous references/foreshadowing. Mar 22, 2013 at 4:07
  • In the RDM Galactica, there was a colonial fleet because they were engaged in a cold war with the Cylons. The peace had lasted for 40 years, however they'd had no contact with the Cylons, and no idea what they were up to. There was a very real possibility of there being a sneak attack, which, in fact, is what happened. (You'll note that they used Caprica 6 to set the groundwork to disable the Colonial fleet in order to sidestep those defenses) I'm sure some in the Colonial military probably nursed the occasional thought of invading Cylon space as well. May 3, 2016 at 17:40

5 Answers 5


Are you asking about the original continuity or the Sci-Fi channel remake? They are two separate universes.

In the original series, the Colonies were not alone in the galaxy. There were other sentient races and they knew about them. The Cylons were originally built to supplement their forces to defend against outside incursions.

In the new continuity, it's only lightly hinted at but as I recall it was more a peacekeeping/police type force. There had been wars between the 12 colonies and it would appear the fleet was meant to prevent future civil wars.

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    In the original series the Cylons weren't man-made, were they? Maybe you meant the alien race who created the Cylons created them for the purpose you mentioned :)
    – Andres F.
    Mar 21, 2013 at 23:14
  • The first episode of the original Galactica (1978) has Apollo explains Cylons. He says that long ago, non-humanoid aliens moved to the galaxy, and realized humanoid bodies were very useful and efficient, so they buildtCylons. . Over time, the organic Cylons died out. Apollo says no one knows why. Their machines kept running, however. In "War of the Gods," Count Iblis says he inspired the Cylons to turn on their creators and destroy them. It's also said in another ep that the Cylons had no interest in humans until we intervened on behalf of another species that the Cylons were at war with. May 3, 2016 at 17:45

I'd like to add that if you consider Caprica series, there were terrorists (STO), Tauron mafia Ha'la'tha and possibly other militant groups, so there was a reason to keep a peacekeeping military force.

And the other reason - governments in general tend to build armies even if they do not really need them, just as a precaution (considering the real world :)

  • There was no Colonial Fleet in the Caprica series. Nor was there a "United Colonies of Kobol" interplanetary government. Both of those things were created because of the Cylon uprising, which took place between "Caprica" and "Galactica." May 3, 2016 at 17:46

The fleet as of the start of the BSG reboot?

It was there to guard against the cylons (and I'm sure was used against pirates and the like).

The fleet design (only just changing as of the start of the series) was built around never networking computers to prevent hacking by their AI enemies (the cylons) having faught a massive war with them in the past.


If I remember the original correctly, the Cylons were the name of the alien race that made the Cylon cyborg toaster grunts, and possessed two brains (or perhaps it was three hemispheres, I think). That was the reason for the Battlestars in the original; defense of the colonies.

Less plausible for the new edition; the Cylons were created by man to make things easier. Some carriers and fighters would have made sense in the first war against the machines, but a Battlestar is an immense ship, and you would think that the money, personnel, material and such would be astounding, thus the reason there was only 'one' per colony. Of course, by the second war, there was a very justifiable reason to have such a large navy; the Cylon machines were still a menace, and the colonies were, more or less, in a cold war. But the fighters and ships before the first war does seem a stretch. One or two would have been more than sufficient in case of a civil war or a colonial insurrection.

  • The multiple-brains thing wasn't canon. It was something the author of the novelizations thought up to flesh out the bad guys a bit. It's never mentioned onscreen, nor in the writer's bible. May 3, 2016 at 17:47

out of world, there'd be very little of a plot if there were no such fleet :)
In universe, the war between the Cylons and mankind had been going on for a long time (generations I think, but it's been years since I've watched the original series). The fleet had been built up during that time.
In universe, the Cylons attacked and destroyed the colonies of Man during festivities hosted to celebrate a peace treaty with the Cylons (which the Cylons had signed, never intending to honour it), which is why there were so many civilian ships in the fleet portrayed in the series, they are the last survivors, evacuees from the ruins of their planets.

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    He asked about the first war, circa ''Blood and Chrome'', not the current events.
    – rsegal
    Mar 21, 2013 at 13:12
  • then he should not have mentioned "original". The abomination that is the remake isn't original in any way.
    – jwenting
    Mar 22, 2013 at 7:10

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