IDA Command Structure, Duties & Methods
The IDA is a robust, purely voluntary private military organization. While it’s name, Imperial Duckian Army suggests they have a ground based role, they are by no means limited to infantry operations. They have there Naval fleet, ship yards, arms factories, research and development shops all in support of whatever their missions may be. The labor for these factories comes from mostly from the civilian sector of the factions they protect but in some instances, such as secret projects the labor comes from entirely IDA members.
As a voluntary private force, appropriate incentives must be made available to it’s members in order to retain numbers. There is no enforceable contract which can require anyone to stay in for any length of time. The IDA is sworn to uphold the Duckian One Law, and to impose such contracts would be a clear violation of those principles. So one may leave the IDA at any time for any reason with no consequences other than potential loss of compensation, or property equipment loaned to the member from the IDA. Getting back loaned equipment is a problem, since force cannot be used to regain property which was not taken by force, so loaned equipment should be hard to take or inexpensive. Ideally, the member should own his own equipment.
Acquisition of capital is essential to keeping a well maintained force equipped with up to date gear. Possible income resources could be from the following:
Contract agreements with factions for help with enforcement of the One Law.
Profitable peacetime projects.
Use of IDA fleet in trade routes.
Sale of surplus capital.
Individual member’s investment.
Spoils of war, or looting those not under the One Law.
Contract of enforcement of the One Law is simple, IDA members disperse themselves into the populace, walk around and act if they see a violation of the One Law. After-the-fact violations are not investigated nor acted upon. It is an expensive proposition, and morally shaky ground. Collection of evidence, and a process in which to accuse the offender and force a solution has little to do with enforcement of the One Law.
The law was not created to punish the wicked, but to allow the innocent to defend themselves or intervene on someone’s behalf as such in the moment of the violation. An IDA member is trained to know how to intervene without becoming a violator himself. In an incident it is entirely at their judgment as to how much force is necessary, including death to stop the violator as he commits the act.
An IDA could shoot someone stealing an item from a market cart in order to recover the item to its owner. An extreme example, the application of justice of the One Law is far from perfect, but at least it is not controlled by a small few and almost never punishes the innocent so long as enforcement is not after the fact. For these services, Factions will give the IDA resources in exchange for the protection. Factional areas are all intermixed into geographic areas like overlapping bubbles of ‘influence’. (except for collectivist factions) It is possible that non-paying faction members benefit from the IDA’s presence, so the IDA cannot rely on this alone for maintaining itself, as most likely only the largest Factions will sign an agreement. Even so, IDA’s are to maintain the One Law weather the factional area they are in has a contract or not. Reputation is important.
Profitable peacetime projects is what the IDA should be doing when not at war and only maintaining the One Law. It can be big projects intending to create infrastructure for client Factions, bridges, roads, etc. The success of client factions is also the IDA’s success.
Selling surplus capital, the IDA could trade weapons and other equipment in the free market or use the Imperial Syndicate’s faction’s centralized bartering system. Care must be taken not to break the rules of any client faction. In the IS for instance, the IDA may not sell on the free market the weapons and gear it produces in factories operated by IS members in bulk. Instead it must trade the items through the IS system in order to maintain the contract. Contracts with other Factions may be subject to other restrictions. Any contract may be broken at any time, the One Law ensures this can happen without violence or other disadvantages other than what benefits there was maintaining that client.
Individual investment means an IDA member himself donates something to the IDA to use or trade, in exchange he gets to barter for a higher rank, with it comes more prestige in the outfit and a better chance to get in on future profitable projects the IDA does. As such, if individual investment is to become a major factor for acquisition of capital for the organization then it should be the only way to gain rank outside a war-time situation. Thus it should be encouraged that individual members, use what IDA resources they have, owned or loaned out to them to embark on profitable enterprises on their own. It is not seen as a ‘conflict of interests’ by Duckians. The meaning of the term would actually be absurd to them! The idea being that if the IDA allows loaned equipment to be used to gain more capital will benefit the IDA since the member may purchase a rank with it or use it to buy the loaned equipment. (providing the member does not run off with the equipment). The ranking system also becomes a means of measuring integrity within it’s members, the higher the rank the more that member has ‘invested’ in the IDA cause and less likely to rip the organization off which would spoil any benefits he received.
Spoils of war. Fairly simple really. The IDA goes to war when the ‘Empire’ is threatened, meaning all Factions in compliance with the One Law, bound by a loose alliance to come to each other’s aid when one exile faction uses force to take over, or there is a threat from another species. Since the IDA is contracted to many Factions with in the Empire, they are best suited to meet the threat, and duty bound to act according to their contracts. In the case of purely Duckian factions who threaten the One Law, the 'war' is quite bloodless as Duckians can't kill one another. The leader of the faction is plucked of his feathers and all operating capitol of that faction's syndicates are looted by the enforcing agents. With other species, it can get a lot more messy.
A few problems exist, without the mass delusions of ‘patriotism’ as it applies to ‘nationalism’ an IDA member cannot be expected to take the greatest risk there is – their very lives without substantial compensation. War being an expensive proposition indeed, the IDA is only to fight defensive, necessary conflicts. Because the IDA’s can quit at any time – even just before the start of a major conflict, compensation must outweigh the personal risk involved OR the risk of inaction must be greater than action. I.E. Wolves attack the Duckian city where many IDA families live.. etc.
The actual capital to provide the incentives could be from varying factors, the IDA could promise to give over the loaned equipment for keeps after the conflict, also, they would allow the IDA’s to loot and take capital from defeated enemies. Care must be taken in this allowance as to not let the IDA’s loot innocent civilians not in direct support of whomever the IDA’s enemy was at the time, only the ones doing the actual fighting and those commanding the enemy and whatever political connections they have.
Optional wars or small localized wars may be initiated by the IDA if a Faction or some other entity is deemed a habitual offender of the One Law, and currently in violation by it’s vary nature but isn’t threatening the Empire as a whole. It’s possible small groups of IDA may start something if they feel personal risk is low, and personal gain is high (the loot taken from the foe). The IDA command would tolerate such actions so long as by doing so, they are merely enforcing the One Law and the foe are violators. However, they probably will not support a full-scale effort for such endeavors.
Structure, Rank and missions:
Ranks are as follows, they follow a mix of Army / Navy rank traditions but are differentiated according to the method of service almost as if there were different branches of service. Also rank determines the amount of independence each member has, influence and sway over ‘subordinates’. In a voluntary, quit any time service there is no such thing as a true ‘subordinate’ as we would know it. In the IDA, cooperation is what is required.
This comes willingly in the same manner as would a higher rank to his ‘subordinates’ naturally because the higher ranks have more ‘toys’. Also more influence who gets the sweet jobs and etc. So rank in the IDA is usually about leveraging benefits to costs, and how the higher ranker can increase the benefits to those who would serve under him. While this sort of liberty and negotiation between higher and lower ranks is not preferable in combat, these relationships should be well established before combat arises building trust and rapport between the commanders and the commanded.
Autonomy, decentralized leadership create a force that can’t just be stunted by taking out the ‘leader’. IDA’s pride themselves by being as independent as they can be while at the same time working in conjunction with the rest of the organization. Since the IDA’s general goals of One Law enforcement and acquisition of capital are pretty much open ended, it’s hard to do something which doesn’t benefit the organization, as well as your self. In many ways, the IDA is like a franchise business, they provide the tools and know how to get the job done, you go do it however you want, but if you fail then the loss is on you. While it’s true, the losses of individual ventures are shared by the IDA to some extent, so are the successes so it balances out.
In peacetime, mostly what happens is some IDA’s are used to maintain contracts for client factions. The duty cycle rotates on this – after that duty you are free to do whatever. Usually that ‘whatever’ could be some of the economic activities using IDA equipment and resources, usually the application of large scale resources are determined and controlled by the higher ranks, as they are trusted more. But they also need labor, this is where the masses of the IDA get to work.
They can choose a peacetime mission and select a commanding officer. This would be like picking your unit. Of course there may be competition, and limited slots, etc. It’s up to the officer to decide who gets in. You do work, gain benefits and dispose of them as you see fit, or invest for higher rank which, eventually gains you to be able to determine missions and hire soldiers yourself! But then the rewards multiply since you are the supplier for the starting capital.
In war time, if something happens to which the IDA must mobilize fully. A priority one mission is posted on the IDA mission posting boards, all peacetime units selected must report for duty or quit the IDA. This means that whatever peacetime unit is selected is fixed the way it formed under peacetime. Usually IDA’s will settle into one unit and stay there so they would feel comfortable with their comrades in combat in case this happens.
In combat, each unit acts independently according to whatever general order was issued before the fight. The IDA officers are trusted not to make decisions that do not compromise the mission. At the top, a Supreme General dictates initial strategy, then it’s ‘hands off’ with the exception of his own personal unit’s actions, under his direct command.
A Supreme General’s job in the IDA is to take into account all the disadvantages they might have with whatever the initial strategy is and essentially makes it so they don’t matter. For instance, if he feels a certain number of units will turn tail and run – which he expects them to do if the situation is that hopeless, then he will not even start the fight unless he has superior firepower or numbers.
The advantage is the IDA can be at times, unpredictable in combat, which would make enemy intelligence useless. It can also be a disadvantage as well. But the main advantage is no centralization of leadership, in many wars the death of generals turned the tide in combat. This cannot be the case with the IDA.
Written by Jason Determann (Draken Duck)