The Trade Federation had its own military. With Galaxy class deadly battleships, it was capable of creating space blockades (Yes, Naboo is in my mind).

Why would The Galactic Republic even allow that military to exist? When it comes to protection (probably from pirates or rogue governments), the responsibility of security could be under The Galactic Republic.

I don't think the Trade Federation developed its military in secret. But, if that's the case (then the Naboo blockade should be the first display of power), why didn't The Galactic Republic launch an all out attack on the Naboo blockade (and cancel its licenses) as it was a sensitive matter of "How dare you..."?

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    My guess is that it's because the Senate couldn't agree on any damn thing. Also, since when did the Republic gain the right to invade sovereign planets just to stop them from having their own armies? – Valorum Jul 27 '14 at 16:08
  • The closest analogy is why America is allowing ... nay supporting Japan's increased militarization despite Article 9 of its (American-written) constitution and being under the U.S. military umbrella. Allies with guns are useful if you think there is another bigger bad guy out there. – RoboKaren Jul 27 '14 at 16:19
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    @Richard - they have friends like some people have lots of Twitter followers... paid for. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 27 '14 at 19:47
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    I assumed it was simply their private security force. They had to protect their trade routes after all. Since the Trade Federation operated on a galactic scale, it would be reasonable for their security force to be larger than the military of some minor back-water planet. – jliv902 Jul 28 '14 at 18:42
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    It's an obvious reference to the old East India Company. This was a private company that not only had its own military, it even invaded countries. – Gaius Jun 18 '15 at 11:41

The system of government the Galactic Republic used was not, in spite of the name, a republic in the sense of a unitary, sovereign state, as we use the term today. It was actually more akin to a confederacy, of which the only modern examples are Switzerland and the European Union. In essence, that means that each member-state of the Galactic Republic was a sovereign state in its own right, and had the right to rule its own people, issue its own laws, and even construct and organise its own military, with no interference from the Galactic Republic. The comparison to the United Nations is an apt one, though a comparison to the EU is better, as the EU has considerably more say over the actions of its members than the UN has over its members, making the former a closer fit for the Galactic Republic than the latter.

Obviously, there were laws governing the use of those militaries, especially against fellow-members of the Republic; it was the violation of those laws, in fact, which formed the background to The Phantom Menace, when the Jedi negotiators Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi travel to Naboo to mediate in the case of the dubious legality of the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo, which later became the obviously illegal invasion of Naboo. But where exactly the line was drawn with regards to those laws is something that has never been effectively described in any Star Wars medium.

Timothy Zahn came the closest in Spectre of the Past , but even there it was acknowledged by several characters, both Republican and Imperial, that there was something of a grey zone in which certain actions may or may not have been considered legal. Major Grodin Tierce, the con-man Flim, and Moff Disra took advantage of one such loophole in convincing members of the New Republic to abandon the Republic and re-join the Empire; while a state of war technically existed between the Empire and the Republic, thus making the planet Kroctar's action treason, the New Republic's own charter allowed member-worlds to leave at any time, and to choose their own governments. As such, Kroctar's action in re-joining the Empire was both legal and illegal at the same time. Such intricacies and obvious contradictions are not exactly unheard of in governments and bureaucracies.

I apologise for the lack of links in this answer; for some reason, the usual toolbar is missing while I'm typing this answer, and I am unsure how to enter links manually. This is probably my computer's fault. I will attempt to add links to supporting materials later tonight.


At the time of Episode I, the Galactic Republic has no significant armed forces of its own. It relies on the Jedi to keep the peace, and they are too few to impose solutions by force. This does not change until Episode II, when Palpatine creates the Grand Army of the Republic and the Clone War begins.

The Republic is more similar to the modern UN than to a national government. It provides a forum for individual systems to discuss matters of common interest, but it cannot compel them to do anything.


Why did the United States of America allow the states and territories to have their own military, the militia, the ancestor of the national guard of today?

Why did Great Britain allow the thirteen colonies to have their own military, the colonial militia, even during the years of tension leading up to the Revolution, the years when the British government might fear that the militias of the colonies might be used to fight against Great Britain?

Why did the United States government allow Indian tribes, with status similar to states and territories, to keep their own military forces, roughly similar to the militia, for years or decades after those tribes signed treaties making them subordinate parts of the United States?

Why did medieval kings allow their nobles to have their own military forces, knights who owed military service to those nobles? Why did nobles allow lesser nobles subordinate to them to have their own military forces, knights who owed them military service?

Why did Mark Antony allow his subordinate, Cleopatra, Queen of Kings, to have her own military and naval forces?

Why did the German Empire of 1871-1918 allow the member kingdoms and states to have their own armed forces which were under joint imperial/state control?

Why did medieval kingdoms allow orders of chivalry such as the Knights Hospitalar, the Teutonic Knights, and the Templars to have their own estates and castles and armed knights in the territories of those kingdoms?

Why did the Chinese emperors allow the kings of Korea to have their own military?

Why did the Tokugawa Shoguns allow the daimyo to have their own samurai military forces?

Why did Great Britain allow trading corporations like the Nigeria Company and the East India Company to have their own armed forces and gain territorial possessions?

Why did the Netherlands allow trading companies like the East India and West India companies to have armed forces and gain territorial possessions?

Why did the Mughal Padishah allow European trading companies like the British and French East India Companies to maintain their own armed forces and gain territorial possessions?

And perhaps most significant, why did the Holy Roman Empire allow the Hanseatic League to have its own military and naval forces and fight wars?

  • I dunno, why???? – Oldcat Jun 18 '15 at 22:46
  • Oldcat - These examples show it it is common for dependent governments under a higher government to have their own armed forces, because the higher government doesn't want to abolish those armed forces or else doesn't have the power to do so. – M. A. Golding Jun 20 '15 at 2:28
  • Oldcat - And these examples also include non government organizations with their own armed forces. IMHO the Hanseatic League was probably a very close analogy to the Trade Federation and may have been the inspiration for it. – M. A. Golding Jun 20 '15 at 2:37

Historically, parent organizations like to have their subjects create some form of police force/army because it gives the parent company a force that can be called upon in times of duress, and also relieves the parent of the burden of policing the subject's territory regularly. In addition, it relieves them of the cost of maintaining such a force.

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    Do you have a source for this? On this site, we prefer answers that can be backed up by something. – Mithical May 18 '17 at 13:27
  • This answer makes sense, but I suspect OP would like to see how this translates to Star Wars, particularly Republic's motivation in canon. – Gallifreyan May 18 '17 at 17:29

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