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Mass Effect/AEC: Salarian Military Doctrine (2)



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Excerpt from Modern Galactic War by Paul Malthus, 3rd Edition , Made available for Extranet Scholastic Use by  The Institute of War and Diplomacy, Vancouver Metroplex, North American Union, Earth, 2190 (1st Edition published by Banabar Books in 2184).

Salarian Strategic Weaknesses

Extensive study of the history of salarian military operations reveals four major strategic weaknesses in their doctrine. These are:

  • God’s Eye Illusion/Delusion
  • Lack of Endurance
  • Proxy Paradox
  • Political Paralysis

The God’s Eye/Illusion/Delusion phenomenon was first identified by Thayer Morris in his A History of the First Global Insurgency: 2001-2033 (1st Edition, New South Wales Military Press, 2054). Morris observed that in (and post) Information Age societies, a combination of  reliance on electronic sensors, information overload, information bias, and false pattern recognition can lead to the God’s Eye Illusion, the illusion of been able to see everything with exact clarity. Morris describes the second part thus:

This in turn leads to the delusion that one is a god upon a mountain top. Thus it creates a sense of omnipotence on the part of the observer. Their actions are always considered to be clear, concise and perfectly tailored to the situation when in fact the delusion clouds the mind by denying the possibility that there are things the observer can not see, quantify, and/or predict.

In the case of the salarians their eidetic memory and the ability to work longer with shorter rest periods reinforces this paradigm. The salarian mind processes information at much faster rate than other Citadel member species. Thus it leads them to fall into this trap far more often than others. Imprinting closes the information loop. Any pattern the dalatrasses fail to recognize as a threat simply falls off the radar, regardless of any countervailing information.

The salarians penchant for the latest technology leads their forces to lack the endurance necessary for long engagements on the battlefield. For example, all salarians capital ships are equipped with ultraviolet point defense laser networks. While these system are more powerful than their infrared systems used by other species (save the geth), the also generate far more heat and therefore break down more readily. Thus the entire network will shut down much faster and leave the ship vulnerable to missile attack. The krogan exploited this vulnerability during the rebellions and developed capital ships classified as, “destroyer-rocket,” (or missile destroyer) which packed hundreds if not thousands of anti-ship missiles in a light hull. Under the cover of cruiser and dreadnought fire these destroyers could close in and fire enormous missile volleys at salarian fleets. Few destroyers would make it back to the krogan’s lines, but the volume of fire was so intense as to force a shut down of the point defense network across an entire fleet, making them vulnerable to follow on missile and fighter attacks. Under such pressure, salarian commanders chose to retreat rather than slug it out with the krogan.

This phenomenon extends through out the salarian military. New weapon systems are either rushed into service or continually delayed. The fleet halted dreadnaught production until they managed to produce a stealth dreadnaught.  Although reports from the salarian front during the Reaper Invasion show that this ship saw wide service, no new construction has occurred since. At ground level, the myriad of modifications made to standard equipment makes logistic support a nightmare. While micro-manufacturing eases the strain on supply lines when it comes to simple weapon or armor mods, the sheer variety and extent of the constant alterations on the field plus the quick obsolescence of standardized kit unduly complicates matters. Again, in a prolonged engagement with an enemy, the lack of spare parts will grind down the salarian troops efficiency faster than enemy action, specially if they are forced on the defensive.

The last two areas are of a political nature, but have a marked influence of military operations. The first is the Proxy Paradox. Professor Antonio Medina of the Escuela Superior de Guerra (Argentine War Academy) in his 2099 study called, Estudio de Relaciones Interiores e Internacionales durante la Guerra Fría (A Study of Internal and International Relations During the Cold War, Editorial the La Cruz del Sur, 1st Edition 2102) described the paradox at the center of use of proxies during the U.S./Soviet Cold War in the latter half of the 20th century:

 The (proxy) paradox lies at the heart of international relationships during this period (Cold War, 1945-1989).  The leaders of the hegemonic empires avoided direct confrontation by using political proxies throughout the (third) world. The proxies in turn governed with the backing of one of these empires. Through them the empires gained access to resources at low costs both economic and ideological. But in order to keep their imperial masters happy, the proxy leaders had to sacrifice the well being of the people they governed: low or no taxes on foreign corporations, no environmental or labor laws, and near complete control of their resources given to foreign monopolies/cartels. This shifted the costs of empire to the already impoverished citizens of these nations which fostered unrest. If the proxy leadership moved to mollify their subjects through nationalization of local industries or enforcement of local laws, they risked ouster by rival political groups backed by the imperial powers or the military. Furthermore, most of these proxies were inherently corrupt or naive, sometimes both, and therefore unreliable in the long term, thus forcing violent turn overs. The proxy found itself in a paradox: how best to serve the interest of foreign powers while maintaining a semblance of order within their countries. Like all paradoxes in the political sphere, it proved, time and time again, to be unsustainable.


A similar situation arose with the krogan. Everything went well as long as the krogan focused on fighting the rachni to extinction. But the moment krogan leadership turned to fulfill the needs of its own population the proxy relationship broke down. This in turn led to the krogan rebellions.

Finally we have problems arising from the byzantine organization of the Salarian Union in which thousands of dalatrasses compete for political advancement and dominance. Add to this the imbalance of power between males and females and you end up with a government often paralyzed to the point of inaction. This inaction nullifies the strengths of preemptive action and leaves the salarian forces vulnerable to attack. The dalatrasses have kept the military relatively small due to the fear that a larger military would increase the political power of salarian males.  Observers believe that political infighting as well as pressure from the asari government prevented a unilateral strike by the salarians on the batarians. Such a strike could have prevented the attack on Mannovai in 1913 (C.E.) and eliminated the threat. Instead the batarians were expelled from the Council but continued their aggression along the Verge.

Experts believe that a combination of these factors hindered the Union’s reaction to the Reaper presence after the Battle of the Citadel and led to a push to deny the threat even in the face of overwhelming evidence. The political situation seems to have stabilized post-Reaper Invasion after the Quite Coup (see Radimus Primas, The Quite Coup, Cipritine Military Studies Program, 2187) but in turn the Salarian Union has taken a isolationist approach to intergalactic affairs.



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