Special Strategic Operations (commonly abbreviated as Spec Strat Ops) is a division of the Allied Fleet Service, a joint armed force established in Federation Standard Year 2410 as the primary military arm of the Khitomer Alliance.
The purpose of Spec Strat Ops is to identify and deal with emerging threats and crises within or near Allied space, with the goal of resolving them before they escalate into major crises that require major commitments of military or other resources from the Alliance or its individual members. Presumably for that reason, officers and crew assigned to Spec Strat Ops are known colloquially as “Peacemakers”.
As of 2411, the commanding officer of Spec Strat Ops is Commodore Jomiah Drayton.
Origins in Starfleet
During the late 24th and early 25th centuries, in the aftermath of the Dominion War, the United Federation of Planets Starfleet found itself stretched thin by a large and growing number of military and humanitarian crises threatening to destabilize the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. Starfleet Command’s solution was to triage their responses, devoting the bulk of Starfleet resources to the most urgent crises while also creating a smaller task force dedicated to handling more localized or less immediate threats to peace and stability, before they grew into more urgent crises. While its size and composition changed frequently to meet specific mission requirements, this task force did have a dedicated flagship: The U.S.S. Pax Federatica, a Sovereign-class assault cruiser which served in that role for 32 years under three different captains: Thomas Hackett, Siyana Drox, and Jomiah Drayton.
The Pax was destroyed in 2409 in orbit of New Romulus, during what the Romulan Republic has termed the Second Battle of Mol’Rihan. Even before then, however, Starfleet Command had begun exploring the idea of upgrading the task force to a formal subdivision of Starfleet, a move they ultimately authorized shortly after the New Romulus incident. Drayton accepted a promotion to Commodore (officially Rear Admiral, Lower Half) in order to head the new Special Strategic Operations division, which was based on Level 39 of Earth Spacedock; his first major act in the role was to select Serida Auslin as captain of the Pax‘s Odyssey-class successor, which, like the original, would serve as the new flagship of Spec Strat Ops.
The division was organized and developed to be, in essence, a microcosm of Starfleet itself, albeit with greater emphasis on diplomatic, humanitarian and limited military operations than on science and exploration. “Our job,” Drayton once explained, “isn’t so much to explore strange new worlds, as it is to keep our fellow Starfleet officers exploring, by resolving local crises so they don’t have to.” Though the division’s operations were suspended during the Iconian War of 2410, when every available ship was needed on the front lines, that very state of affairs served to underscore the need for Spec Strat Ops in the first place, in order to minimize the chance for any local brushfire to escalate into a similar all-consuming crisis.
Transfer to Allied command
Although Spec Strat Ops was based in Starfleet, Commodore Drayton was authorized by Starfleet Command to recruit ships and captains from allied powers into its standing fleet, and began doing so almost immediately upon assuming command of the division. The R.R.W. Verinex, under Commander H’rav, became the first allied vessel (from the Romulan Republic Navy) to join Spec Strat Ops late in 2409; within another year, its standing fleet would also include ships and crew from the Klingon Defense Force and the Dominion Jem’Hadar, as their respective governments entered into the Khitomer Alliance.
Recognizing that Spec Strat Ops had become a de facto Allied agency, Starfleet Command agreed to transfer it to Allied Fleet Service command once the AFS was established late in 2410. Drayton and his staff accepted a transfer to the AFS and oversaw Spec Strat Ops’ integration into the service, as well as its relocation to Alliance headquarters on Khitomer and establishment of other regional bases (see below).
In the same vein as its Starfleet predecessor, Allied Spec Strat Ops is designed to be a slightly more narrowly focused microcosm of the larger Allied Fleet Service, capable of supporting a wide array of missions including peacekeeping, interdiction, disaster relief, and support for Alliance intelligence, diplomatic and humanitarian operations. As such, its assets are invested mainly in the ships, equipment and personnel assigned to it from throughout the Alliance.
Spec Strat Ops does not have its own dedicated intelligence or security apparatus, ground combat force, or roster of specialist officers. For mission intelligence, Spec Strat Ops coordinates with the Allied Intelligence Bureau (which, in turn, coordinates with and pools intelligence information from the various Allied powers). Other support personnel may be recruited from Alliance members as needed, via liaison officers (see “Bases of operation” below); examples include:
- Starfleet Security (for missions requiring military police or planetside peacekeeping support)
- M.A.C.O. and/or Jem’Hadar (for limited-scale combat operations)
- Mission specialists from any Alliance member service
- Civilian consultants and subject matter experts
Although exploration, scientific studies and first contact are not among Spec Strat Ops’ core competencies, they may be required in the course of certain missions, especially along the frontiers of Allied space. In such cases, any follow-up missions beyond the scope of Spec Strat Ops (advanced studies, “second contact” missions and such) are referred to the appropriate Alliance member service (usually the one whose border is closest) for disposition. In accordance with Allied Fleet Service policy, Spec Strat Ops observes the Federation’s Prime Directive with respect to pre-warp civilizations. (Although the Federation is technically the only Alliance member bound by its Prime Directive, this policy is intended to shield such societies from interstellar affairs to the extent possible, in order both to protect those societies and to avoid needlessly complicating those affairs further.)
Bases of operation
Special Strategic Operations’ primary headquarters are located within the Alliance compound on Khitomer, located in the Beta Quadrant. However, to facilitate and support its operations in the galaxy’s other quadrants, Spec Strat Ops has also established auxiliary headquarters aboard station Deep Space Nine in the Alpha Quadrant (and close to the Bajoran wormhole linking the Alpha to the Gamma Quadrant), and within the Jenolan Dyson Sphere in the Delta Quadrant.
Each of these facilities has its own staff of operations, support and administrative officers, all under the command of an adjutant who reports to Commodore Drayton. Liaison officers to Starfleet, the Klingon Defense Force and the Romulan Republic Navy are also stationed at Spec Strat Ops’ main Khitomer headquarters, while liaisons to the Jem’Hadar, the Ferengi Alliance and the Cardassian Union are stationed at their auxiliary headquarters aboard DS9.
Chain of command
Though as Special Strategic Operations’ commanding officer Drayton’s official Starfleet rank designation was Rear Admiral, Lower Half, his duties and responsibilities in that role amounted to those of a fleet captain – hence his preferred designation of Commodore, a title typically bestowed upon fleet captains under Earth naval traditions. Drayton maintained his rank and title upon Spec Strat Ops’ transfer to Allied command.
As Spec Strat Ops’ commanding officer, Drayton’s direct subordinates are the captains of the various ships attached to Spec Strat Ops, along with the adjutant commanders of the main and auxiliary Spec Strat Ops headquarters. Drayton himself reports directly to the Allied Fleet Admiralty Board, whose key responsibilities include prioritizing Alliance operations and missions, based upon recommendations from the Allied Intelligence Bureau. Situations deemed credible but not urgent threats to galactic peace or stability are assigned to Spec Strat Ops.
The following is a partial list of Allied vessels assigned to Spec Strat Ops as of 2411:
A.F.S. Peacemaker (CSN-101): One of the first Khitomer-class Alliance Battlecruisers to be constructed and launched, the Peacemaker is the official flagship of Spec Strat Ops. Like other ships of her class, the Peacemaker is designed and built primarily for combat and other military operations, utilizing antiproton beams and torpedoes optimized for enhanced firepower. As head of Spec Strat Ops, Commodore Drayton is also the Peacemaker‘s nominal captain, though for many missions command falls to the first officer, Commander Larai.
U.S.S. Pax Federatica (NCC-89471-A): An Odyssey-class command dreadnought named and registered in honor of Commodore Drayton’s former command, the Pax was Spec Strat Ops’ original flagship while the division was part of Starfleet, Although she officially lost that distinction following the division’s transfer to Allied command, the Pax remains both the most prestigious Starfleet vessel attached to Spec Strat Ops, and the division’s vessel of choice for a wide range of mission profiles. Like many other Starfleet vessels, the Pax‘s weapon complement consists of phaser beam arrays and quantum torpedoes. The Pax is commanded by Capt. Serida Auslin.
I.K.S. Hor’tagh: With the restoration of the Khitomer Accords in early 2410, Starfleet Spec Strat Ops began accepting Klingon Defense Force vessels into its standing fleet, beginning with the Hor’tagh, a Vor’ral-class support battlecruiser commanded by Gen. Lukag, which joined the division after serving with honor and distinction in some of the most critical engagements of the Iconian War. Though the Hor’tagh is capable of supporting a wide array of missions, its main purpose is to provide an additional measure of deterrence – and, if necessary, firepower – in situations with a high risk of escalating to space combat.
R.R.W. Verinex: Cmdr. H’rav’s Republic battlecruiser (whose name translates from one Rihannsu dialect as “Champion of Truth”) had already earned a formidable reputation by the time she became the first vessel from an allied power to join Starfleet Spec Strat Ops, having played a critical role in exposing the Tal Shiar’s Mandukar thalaron weapon during the Nivay IV incident in 2409. The Verinex has continued to patrol the Romulan Star Empire’s former sphere of influence following its collapse, leading efforts to keep the peace in the newly independent Nivay system, to repatriate refugees to New Romulus and nearby Federation worlds, and to monitor the space beyond the old Star Empire for Borg activity. These missions have remained largely unchanged following Spec Strat Ops’ transfer to Allied command. Like most Romulan vessels, the Verinex utilizes plasma energy beams and torpedoes.
D.V. Irla’s Herald: Following the Dominion’s entry into the Khitomer Alliance in late 2410, Spec Strat Ops began accepting Jem’Hadar vessels into its standing fleet, beginning with Irla’s Herald. Like the Hor’tagh and the Verinex (above), this Jem’Hadar strike ship already had seen significant action prior, as part of a Dominion expedition into the Delta Quadrant in 2410 to locate and rescue a Founder – believed to be the last of “The Hundred” – stranded there. (The Founder had adopted the name Irla, hence the ship’s new name.) Honored First Aran’tikar commands Irla’s Herald, which utilizes phased polaron cannons and turrets as her primary weaponry.