Starfleet's Vanguard Command is the largest field-based division of Starfleet. It oversees the overall operations of a good portion of all Starfleet starship and space station complements. Vanguard Command's area of responsibility included Federation space along the borders that covered the surroundings of the Bajoran wormhole and the Gamma Quadrant colonies beyond, the area of space facing the Galactic Core, and the area of space facing the Beta Quadrant and Delta Quadrant.
It is the year 2385. Six years have passed since the Battle of Bassen Rift, where Captain Jean-Luc Picard had barely thwarted the plans of his clone the Reman Praetor Shinzon, from destroying the Federation.
Meanwhile, ties between the Federation and the Klingon Empire have strengthened thanks largely to the efforts of former Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire and now Starfleet Captain Worf and later his son Ambassador Alexander Roshenko. The Romulan Star Empire, on the other hand, because of the impact made by the Reman uprising and the Romulan Imperium, has relied steadily on the aid of the Federation. Both Beta Quadrant Empires are likewise on the rebuilding stage.
With the Gamma Quadrant once more safe for exploration, the Federation once more sent starships through the Bajoran wormhole. This time, with the secondary objective of finding viable class-M planets in unclaimed systems for colonization. As of this date, seven worlds in three systems had already been colonized by the Federation near the Bajoran Wormhole. Through Starfleet and the Valkorian Merchant Fleet, each colony now boasts of from two hundred thousand to two million colonists. And through the periodically used quantum slipstream drive technology incorporated into Starfleet into the biggest ships in operation, two class-M planets in the Delta Quadrant have also been successfully colonized. All of these new colonies are heavily guarded by Starfleet, with some assistance from the Valkorian Merchant Fleet.
Since the end of the Dominion War, the Federation and Starfleet have undergone a massive rebuilding effort. Both sides had suffered heavy loses in the war. Following the conflict, the Federation's resources were spread thin not just in reconstruction of member worlds but also in aiding independent worlds affected by the war (seeking new allies and members in the process) and even aiding enemy worlds from the war, providing substantial assistance to help Cardassia recover from the final attacks from the Dominion.
But with the help of some powerful extragalactic entities like Qs Amanda Rogers and Q, the Douwd, the Calamarain, and some of the beings, among others, a good number of the damaged but repairable starships and space stations had been fixed and made serviceable in a comparatively short period of time. In the course of this rebuilding process, these powerful beings had painstakingly made it sure that the present timeline would not be altered in any way.
Through knowledge gained from captured Jem'Hadar ships, a Borg sphere, a few technological items acquired from visitors of the future, the advanced technological knowledge of the Heran Modality through Dr. Astrid Kemal, and the technical expertise of Seven of Nine, the overall technology of Starfleet was improved. Such features as transphasic torpedoes and quantum torpedoes, pulse phaser cannons, regenerative multiphasic shields, regenerative ablative hull armor, bio-neural circuitry, interlocking tritanium/duranium truss frames, redundant warp and impulse drives, and - for some of the largest starships – quantum slipstream drives, were incorporated into all Starfleet ships to effectively counter and defeat all known threats to the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant.
In terms of deployment, Starfleet likewise instituted the Task Force Formation on a good portion of its fleet complement.
The Task Force FormationEdit
A Starfleet Task Force is a group of ships centered around either a Fleet carrier-type starship, a Heavy battleship-type class starship, or at the very least, a Sovereign-class Battleship, and is usually commanded by a Rear Admiral (lower grade). About 25% of the total number of Starfleet vessels belongs to a task force. The rest retain the solitary mission profiles that Starfleet was known for prior to the Dominion War and the Borg incursions. Starfleet maintains forty (40) permanently operational task forces, divided between ten mobile fleets, the largest of which are the seven (7) task forces attached to the Tenth Fleet, which is more known as the Vanguard Fleet, under Fleet Admiral Maximus Hunter. Six of which, divided equally between to the First Fleet and the Second Fleet are based in Sector 001, the rest are forward deployed in the different border territories of the Federation.
The fleet response plan requires that seven of these task forces be deployed or ready for deployment within seven days at any given time, while five additional task forces must be ready for deployment within three weeks. Their existence is an important part of the power projection capability of Starfleet in that they provide the ability to strike quickly almost anywhere in the Alpha Quadrant and even beyond. Starfleet provides a regular task force rotation of deployments typically lasting one year based on the needs of starbase commands that request presence of a task force in their respective area of responsibility (AOR).
While a Fleet carrier-type or a Heavy battleship-type starship has the ability to project a large amount of power alone, it can be vulnerable to attack from fleet formations. The primary role of the other ships in the task force is to help protect their flagship from enemy threats. The primary role of the flagship and its tactical fighter group is to provide the offensive firepower. These roles are not exclusive. Other ships in the task force sometimes undertake offensive operations, such as the heavy cruisers and other front line ships, and the carrier's tactical fighter group contributes to the task force’s defense.
Task forces are not restricted to a specific composition and can be modified depending on expected threats, roles, or missions expected during a deployment, and one may be different from another. However, they are all composed of similar types of ships, and a Starfleet task force typically includes:
- A Fleet carrier-type or a Heavy battleship-type starship commanded by a Rear Admiral (lower grade). The Fleet Carrier-type provides a wide range of options for Starfleet, ranging from simply showing the flag, to attacks on spaceborne or planetside targets. Because Fleet Carrier-types operate in deep space, their fighters and auxiliary crafts do not need to secure landing rights on alien planets. These ships also engage in sustained operations in support of other forces. Fleet Carrier-types are the flagships of the task force.
- A tactical fighter group commanded by a Captain and is known as the “CAG”, with his/her deputy holding the rank of Commander. The tactical fighter group typically has up to twelve (12) squadrons of various types of tactical combat shuttles, each commanded by a Lieutenant Commander.
- Four (4) or more Heavy cruisers, of the Prometheus-class and Akira-class - multi-mission combatants, equipped with long-range strike capability.
- A Frigate squadron, usually of the Saber-class; in a direct support role seeking out and destroying hostile ships.
- A Light cruiser squadron, of the Steamrunner-class; in a direct support role also seeking out and destroying hostile ships.
- A Supply cruiser, of the Ambassador III-class; usually provides logistic support enabling Starfleet's forward presence: on station, ready to respond.
The task force could be employed in a variety of roles, most of which would involve the gaining and maintenance of spacelane control:
- Protection of economic and/or Starfleet shipping.
- Protection of a Marine Corps Amphibious Ready Group while en route to, and upon arrival in, an amphibious objective area.
- Establishing space superiority or supremacy in an area.
- Establishing a fleet presence in support of Federation interests.
- Power projection.
Background and FormationEdit
Starfleet Commander-in-Chief Fleet Admiral Edward Jellico, with his efficient and demanding style of command, spearheaded the rebuilding effort of Starfleet. But since the demand of rebuilding Starfleet was great, Starfleet decided to institute a power-sharing arrangement by 2385. The legendary Admiral Maximus Hunter, was promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral and was placed in command of the frontlines, with headquarters at Station Frontier. While Jellico and the rest of Starfleet Command on Earth concentrated on the rebuilding effort and oversaw defensive operations around the inner territories of Federation space, it was Hunter’s job to defend the Federation along the borders that included the space around the Bajoran wormhole and the Gamma Quadrant colonies beyond, the space facing the Galactic Core, and the space facing the Beta Quadrant and Delta Quadrant. With this new arrangement, it was hoped that the Alpha Quadrant powers would be more prepared to respond to any future incursions from the Borg or any other major threat.
Vanguard Command Flag and Command OfficersEdit
Vanguard Command is under the overall command of Fleet Admiral Maximus Hunter. He is also the concurrent Flag Officer-in-Command of the Tenth Fleet, which is more known as the Vanguard Fleet. He is ably assisted by Station Frontier Base Commander Vice Admiral Anastassia Folonova who is also Deputy Flag Officer-in-Command of Starfleet's Vanguard Command and by Vice Admiral John Blackbull, who is the Deputy Flag Officer-in-Command of the Vanguard Fleet.
They are capably complemented by the following flag officers and command officers, among others:
- Rear Admiral (upper grade) Jean-Luc Picard, who is the Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Invincible and concurrent Commanding Officer of Starfleet’s war-time flagship, the Invincible-class Fleet carrier-Heavy battleship USS Invincible;
- Rear Admiral (upper grade) James Kirk, who is Commanding Officer of the Prometheus-class Assault Cruiser USS Rogue, Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Rogue, and concurrent Federation and Starfleet Special Envoy-at-Large;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) William Riker, who is the Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Paladin and concurrent Commanding Officer of the Yamato-class Heavy Battleship USS Paladin;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Benjamin Sisko, who is the Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Dauntless and concurrent Commanding Officer of the Yamato-class Heavy Battleship USS Dauntless;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Vraath ch'Evram, who is the Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Belligerent and concurrent Commanding Officer of the Yamato-class Heavy Battleship USS Belligerent;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Kathryn Janeway, who is Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Viceroy and concurrent Commanding Officer of Suzerain-class Fleet Carrier USS Viceroy;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Mackenzie Calhoun, who is Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Regent and concurrent Commanding Officer of the Suzerain-class Fleet Carrier USS Regent;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Robert DeSoto, who is Flag Officer-in-Command of Task Force Shogun and concurrent Commanding Officer of the Suzerain-class Fleet Carrier USS Shogun;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Neil Gleason, who is Base Commander of Starbase 375;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Shren, who is Base Commander of Starbase 185;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Stovak, who is Base Commander of Starbase 718;
- Rear Admiral (lower grade) Elizabeth Shelby, who is Base Commander of Starbase 514;
- Captain Kira Nerys, who is Station Commander of Station Deep Space 9 in the Denorios Belt;
- Captain Norodin Khan, who is Station Commander of Station Deep Space Delta-01 in the Delta Quadrant;
- Captain Tanor Frenal, who is Station Commander of Station Deep Space Gamma-01 in the Gamma Quadrant;
Vanguard Command CompositionEdit
Vanguard Command boasts of some of Starfleet’s finest starships, commanders and crews among its ranks. It is the largest autonomously operating field division of Starfleet. It includes an Immense-class space station, Space Station Frontier, six (6) Buckingham-class starbase, three (3) modified and refitted-to-Federation specs Nor-class Cardassian space stations, four (4) inhabited star systems, thirty (30) starships assigned for exploration, science and diplomacy, and three hundred twenty five (325) combat-equipped starships called the Vanguard Fleet. Vanguard Command's territory encompasses most of the 'northern' half of Federation territory, and part of the 'western' territory’. As such, Vanguard territory covers that part of Federation space closest to the Gamma Quadrant, the galactic core, and the Delta Quadrant, through the Beta Quadrant. This area of space was coined as ‘The Federation Frontier’, which borders vast expanses of unexplored territory and easily considered as the most critical of all Federation-explored sectors. The "Frontier" is known to have one of the heaviest interstellar traffic in the entire Alpha Quadrant. Its forces are stretched thinly because of these features, especially if tested by the pressures of war, but the Federation is confident that Starfleet will prove itself capable of defending the Federation’s sovereignty in that part of space.
Vanguard Command traditionally embodies the heart and soul of the Federation: peace, diplomacy, and discovery. But with the looming threat of the Dominion and the Borg, it has readily adapted itself to defense and combat. The bulk of the fleet is made up of combat equipped starships, but there are enough exploratory and scientific vessels capable of deep-space missions and first-contact missions under Vanguard Command to continue the Federation’s ideals.
Vanguard Command has under its protectorate four heavily populated star systems, each with at least one class-M planet. For each class M planet, an orbital outpost manned by 150 Starfleet personnel was assigned as protective screen from hostiles and as commercial staging area. Each orbital outpost has been assigned one Defiant-class Armored Escort, one Delta Flyer-class runabout, and one Type 11 personnel shuttlecraft as ship/auxiliary craft complement.