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Star Trek and the Failure of Common-Sense Tactics

I enjoy watching Star Trek from time to time. I fell in love with Voyager and Captain Janeway, and I've lately been going through Episode I of Star Trek Enterprise with Captain Archer.

One thing always amazes me, though. The crew of the Enterprise is so blatantly naive. They never hesitate to send a tiny away team to board an alien vessel. When they go down on an alien planet, they never recon their surroundings or maintain proper security. And invariably, they run into problems, which always is solved one way or other by the ingenuity of the captain or some of his staff.

By properly adhering to common-sense tactics and employing fundamental security measures, I feel that it would be possible to minimize the dangers that away teams are constantly put into. For instance, these initial measures might provide a basic situational improvement:

  • Always thoroughly recon the environment before advancing. Failure to observe this rule could endanger the team and place them at severe risk to unknown toxins or other biological hazards, which is a recurring theme on the show.

  • Never send out a team without proper rules of engagement, and with a clear mission. "See if you can do anything" is hardly a specific order under which to operate when communications are down and difficulties emerge.

  • Plan ahead, and plan for contingencies. Backup procedures should be available once problems arise. Always keeping a second away team on standby should be standard procedure.

  • Never move alone. It is not infrequent for a Star Trek away team to split up into single individuals, a practice which should be frowned upon and taught against in Star Fleet Academy basic training. All experience has repeatedly shown that two-man teams are safer and more efficient.

  • An away team needs to practice tactical procedures in hostile situations. A firefight on the Star Trek show looks more like an old Wild West shootout than a disciplined team under fire. Proper defense techniques need to be employed, such as fire-and-maneuver, providing suppressive fire, and using speed to surprise and shock the opponent; and better weapons are needed, such as rapid-fire automatic weapons and stun grenades.
It seems strange to me that Star Fleet should send a crew of such seemingly "untrained cowboys" on their first, high-profile exploration mission throughout space. Personally, I feel that a few weeks of proper combat training should cure many of the problems the away teams are facing.

It would also help to instill a sense of proper chain of command in the ensigns and, more specifically, the officers on board the Enterprise... even if the commanding officer is a Vulcan.


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