Starfleet Marine Corps
Starfleet is not primarily a military organization. Despite its military ranks and procedures, its frequent space battles, and its ships which carry enough firepower to bake the crust of a planet, Starfleet is devoted primarily to the peaceful exploration of space and the policing of Federation spacelanes. However, there are times when military intervention on a planet becomes necessary, and when those times come, the Federation maintains an elite force of soldiers - Starfleet Marines. Starfleet Naval personnel serve a wide variety of purposes, diplomatic as well as scientific. Starfleet Marines serve only one purpose - combat - and they are used if diplomacy fails.
Even when forgotten, the Starfleet Marine Corps is always hard at work upholding the ideals of the Federation while guarding it from any adversary that may present itself. In true military fashion, officers of the SFMC place the lives of others before their own, ready to sacrifice anything for their government.
Marines are carried aboard Starfleet ships, but they have their own commanders and are separate from the regular shipboard chain of command. Twenty-fourth century technology, and particularly Holodeck technology, have made it possible to give rank-and-file soldiers the kind of intensive military training that was the sole preserve of special forces units a mere four centuries before. Starfleet Marines are exceptionally well trained and capable, even by Starfleet standards. They are meant to operate primarily on planetary surfaces, both land and water, but are also trained to participate in space-based operations as well. Their skills reflect the fact that they frequently have to operate in a long-range reconnaissance fashion, often with little or no support from Starfleet.
Unlike Naval personnel, Starfleet Marines must meet exacting physical criteria. They are particularly expected to display above-average intelligence and exceptional endurance.
The first difference between the naval and marine branches
of Starfleet that one notices is the rank system.
Carried down from generation to generation, the system resembles quite
closely the ranking method used in 20th century Earth. The next difference
is the militaristic nature of the corps. While the Starfleet navy tends
to maintain order in a loose but firm manner, some have called the Marine
Corps' management technique stringent or even harsh. Quite simply, Marine
commanders do not tolerate anything less than the absolute best in their
men, knowing that to do so would risk the lives of others. There is little
room for error in such a dangerous and important field.