The Hegemony rules over the inner planets with a firm, but benevolent grip. To keep the far flung colonies defended and to keep the outer planets in check the Hegemony needs , and has, developed a massive navy (the ground forces are really just deployed marines in the Hegemony military)

The Hegemony recruits from any population they control and beyond. Now I'm wondering what makes it worth recruiting from Earth? I've wracked my brain for a while, but all of my answers have been hand waving and honestly I'm stumped.

Fuel is the main issue I see with this. Is it worth the price to get Terrans (in any scenario) into space? What are some logical reasons other then things like diversity hires or hand waving for Earth to still be a major recruiting ground for the military and colonies?


  • The hegemony can recruit from mars and colonies from the belt which would provide better space born troops.

  • Hegemony is officially based on Earth with its capital changing with every Hegemon.

  • Haven't got out of the solar system just yet.
  • Haven't met aliens yet (save some ghost stories in the kuiper belt)
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Where is the Hegemony based? How far away is Earth from the Hegemony? How easy is interstellar travel? What would make humans different from other available aliens, philosophy, aggression, strength, endurance? $\endgroup$
    – Dan Clarke
    Jul 4, 2018 at 4:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hegemony is officially based on Earth with its capital changing with every Hegemon. Haven't got out of the solar system just yet. Haven't met aliens yet (save some ghost stories in the kuiper belt) $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 4:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Celestial Dragon Emperor somehow that makes it harder to understand, so they haven’t met any aliens but they invest so much into their navy... is this to crush rebels or are they waiting for something (like they know the aliens are coming and they are hostile) just seems odd to me $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 4:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Earth is where most of the people are, unless the solar system has been heavily colonized. You recruit where most of the live bodies can be found. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 4, 2018 at 6:47
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Scalzi does this in the "Old Man's War" series - earth is kept in the dark and they recruit from its overpopulation. Retired citizens from first-world countries are drafted to the army and citizens from poorer countries as colonists. Doing this allows them to control the colonies more easily since they are not in the army and govern non-democratically more easily. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 10:49

11 Answers 11


Marine Recruitment Advantages

Terrans are going to be inherently stronger. Everywhere else in the solar system, the gravity is either way too low for normal humans or way too high for any humans. On Earth we are heavier, and therefore have to be stronger. Think John Carter of Mars, but somewhat less ridiculous. Plus great bone density compared to everyone else, making Terrans much harder to break compared to some others, especially anyone who wasn't born and raised on a planet at all. The Hegemony absolutely recruits on Earth for the Marines in this scenario because it's the place with the absolute strongest humans in existence and oodles of them, no contest.

Additionally, the urban infrastructure on Earth would make the logistical machine run more smoothly and easily; there's already transit centers and buildings and old training facilities on Earth, so the Hegemony may not have to build nearly as much on Earth to train marines as they would have to build in other places. Not to mention that the fact of a naturally available breathable atmosphere makes the cost of those buildings and of running those buildings much, much lower.

Naval Recruitment Advantages

Urban infrastructure strikes again. Also strength and greater bone density again, which actually matter a lot in a space navy setting.

Terrans are absolutely essential for the navy because it takes much more in g-forces to kill or knock out a Terran than anyone else. They would be able to fly faster and make harder turns than anyone else alive, giving them a leg up in any confrontation. In fact, I'd wager that the Hegemon's navy would keep ships manned solely by Terrans for the very purpose of outmaneuvering the competition in every which way.

Advantages For Both Branches

I can assume that Terrans, as they live on the planet the hegemony is based on, are pretty loyal to the hegemony. At least, some of them are. Probably enough, since there are so damn many of us. Additionally, the cost of getting them off planet is presumably high given your description. So most of them probably haven't been off-world. So you have a people loyal to a cause with no real experience of the universe outside of where they've lived their whole life. They're going to be great for putting down rebellions, dehumanizing everyone else, and generally sticking to the whole Hegemony thing. Amazing pro-hegemony low-key or high-key racists, basically.

The PRC pulled a somewhat similar trick with Tienanmen square; soldiers from provinces near the square were confronted by dissident citizens who looked just like them and had a culture exactly like theirs, and so they humanized the protesters instead of firing on them. Then the PRC sent in troops from much farther west in their country, and those troops had no basis for immediately humanizing the protesters. Unfortunately, they thus had fewer reservations about firing into the crowds.

Logistical Argument

Earth is over-populated even today. That's a logistical problem. The Hegemony needs a massive military. That's also a logistical problem. So you put two and two together, and you kill two birds with one stone.

Additionally, the implementation of space elevators and the like can vastly decrease the costs of reaching orbit. Not to mention that an over-populated administrative center of a planet, if it's functioning, will likely also be a trade hub of some sort. So you've already got infrastructure for going up and down. So taking advantage of that probably wouldn't be too hard.

Best of luck with your world. Long live the Hegemon! :)

Edit: I shortened this answer to reflect the new question, reformatted a bit, rewrote small pieces to sound better, added a better explanation for urban infrastructure underneath Marine Recruitment, and added a bit about why Terran toughness matters a lot more than I originally thought out for the Navy.

Grammar too. Always grammar.

  • $\begingroup$ i used a similar tactic in my own book peacekeepers were sent to deal with a rebellion but half become turn coats because they were fighting there own county men, but sending outsiders into the conflict (some even hating the ethic rebels) killed a lot of them without hesitation. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ I just came here to see if the upside of higher gravity making stronger people was mentioned, so +1 for that. Though on the other hand, you mostly need troops attuned to higher gravity in the high-gravity planet itself, so you might be able to work with just using Earth troops locally and (say) Mars troops everywhere else to save on the logistics. But maybe we should leave that to the OP. $\endgroup$
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 4, 2018 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ I like the marines coming from earth due to physical strength as well as the various points brought up. Thank you for the well thought out answer! $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ Adding an example to your Universal Benefits chapter: take a look at The Expanse (TV show). Humans on Mars see themselves as different from Earth, which treats them as an inferio child or colony (similar to how America freed itself from Britain). Those who live in the asteroid belt (Belters) have a similar argument as to why they are different from Earth humans who treats them as laborers. If your hegemony wants to keep humans united, it should use soldiers from Earth so the hegemony does not get represented by people with possible separatist motivations. $\endgroup$
    – Flater
    Jul 5, 2018 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ Note that the Earth soldiers are not necessarily "racist" towards others; they can simply be devoid of separatist ideas and have an innate sense of "we are all Earth's children". Similar to how someone who has always lived in the inner city can forget that country life is different. This is how oligarchies or aristocracies work: they are self-perpetuating only if control is exerted (military pressure) by those who reap the benefits of the oligarchy/aristocracy (Earth humans), thus leading the hegemony to exclusively (or at least predominantly) recruit Earth soldiers. $\endgroup$
    – Flater
    Jul 5, 2018 at 11:36

Humans are quite an adaptable species and quite attracted to violence as well as quite skilled at it.

If you read The Damned Series by Alan Dean Foster, the intelligent species of the galaxy have lost the ability to fight. Some species can fight with the help of drugs to dull the trauma but humans relish fighting and will fight for money alone.

Humans get recruited for money and change the whole tide of war overnight.

Basically if a species is worth the expense, the Hegemony will recruit them.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think the question was only about humans. No aliens. Why recruit humans on earth rather than humans on another planet? $\endgroup$
    – Legisey
    Jul 4, 2018 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ So, you're saying that there are non-humans in the region covering the "inner planets" and "outer planets" (i.e., only our star Sol)? $\endgroup$
    – Soron
    Jul 4, 2018 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ @EthanKaminski: In Thorne's defense, "inner planets" and "core planets" (the latter is not necessarily in the same solar system) are often conflated in scifi. However, you are correct that OP refers to "inner planets" correctly. $\endgroup$
    – Flater
    Jul 5, 2018 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ please either change your answer or remove it as it is no longer relevant to the question. $\endgroup$
    – P.Lord
    Jul 5, 2018 at 18:36

Earth has a huge surplus population.

The colonies are young. Populations are small and manpower is at a premium. To keep the colonies growing (and the money flowing) it is advantageous to leave native colonists home to build and farm and reproduce.

Earth, on the other hand, is overloaded with people. There is nowhere to grow and mechanization leaves little need for human labor. Military service means a steady paycheck to send home and benefits when you are done - an attractive alternative to unemployment.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think I will just have to work out the economics of a mass exodus that would probably start. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 4:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you have ever played the old BBS door game Trade Wars 2002, this was explicitly given as the reason that you could recruit as many Earth residents as you could stuff into your holds. Earth was overpopulated and they were desperate for any opportunity, even farming a dangerous world or assembling starfighters for you. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. The same reason one robs banks. It's where the (not vigorously working to avoid being immediately killed by an unforgiving environment) people are. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 20:02

Earth has a surplus population and a lack of resources.

Everyone on Earth has a healthy life and entertainment, but cities are jam packed, it requires a steady stream of supply ships to keep water, minerals, hydrocarbons, etc at the necessary level for humans and what's left of the environment. There is also a large minority who want something different from the safe and boring life of Earth, millions of people disappear into VR every year wasting away. Millions more form gangs and groups that riot, perform dangerous stunts and cause trouble.

On the other end the outer planets and habitats need people. The inner planets need resources for terraforming, building new habitats and expanding their colonies. However the population, even with semi-autonomous machines, don't have the manpower to keep up with demand.

Sending soldiers to the outer planets isn't so much for protection, but to free up labour, create families and make kids, as well as relieving some of the pressure on Earth.


Earth is desperate for Hegemony Credits

To paraphrase a famous novel, Earth is so amazingly primitive that they still think smartphones are a pretty nifty invention. The Hegemony has starships. So what can Earth sell to get second-hand, third-rate ships for themselves?

  • Sell raw or processed materials. Um. Asteroid mining is so much cheaper, but for some materials it might still apply. Oil? Orchids? Coffee?
  • Sell real estate. That will happen, to the extent that richer Hegemony citizens want to live on Earth or Hegemony corporations need to invest their Earth currency holdings.
  • Sell labor. That might have different forms:

Possibly all of the bullet points apply, and the last one might be the smallest one. Individual humans have a choice beyond living and dying on a backwater planet -- sign up as a housemaid for rich Hegemons, or sign up as expendable cannon fodder under Hegemony officers.


Considering the wide range of climates they got themselves used to live in on their home planet, I would dare to say that those humans are very flexible and versatile. Give them water, food and some $CH_3-CH_2-OH$ solution and they are happy.

They can even think on their own, without the need of a central brain to address their group actions, making them valuable in situation where stealth operation is important.

Yes, there is some fee to pay to get out of that gravity well, but, heck, it's worth any single penny!


I will make some asumption before I answer this question:

  1. You do not have access to FTL.
    You may have reduced the flight time to your colonies to mere days or weeks instead of month and years, but the time it takes to get from A to B is still to be considered.

  2. Your colonies exist for quite some time, but outside from Earth there is no planet that has a suitable environment for human beings. Every colony has to rely on some sort of buildings to house its colonists

  3. Your Hegemony has the ressources to have this massive standing navy/ army, and therefor fuel is not really a problem (A navy, even today, cannot operate without a steady supply of fuel. Think of the Japanese navy late in WWII, they couldn't do anything since they were short on fuel, among other things). Also, if you are traversing planetary distances, the fuel consumed reaching space from Earth is only a small part of the needed fuel to get to Venus or Mars.

Conclusion: Why are you still recruiting from Earth?

There are four main reasons why this is more or less the best place to recruit your soldiers, marines and shipmen:

  1. Population:
    As others already mentioned, Earth has even today a really large population fromwhich you can recruit. Add a cumpolsory service for every male in a specific age, and you got quite a recruitment pool.
    Another point, which will be quite important on the long run: Humanity is reproducing pretty fast. So you just lost a battle, a few hundret thousand dead, but hey! wait five years, and that is replaced with new, young recruits.

  2. Loyality:
    Home, Sweet Home! Plus propaganda. Earth is your capital. So do everything to make your population happy! Show them, what glorious things the mighty Hegemony is doing! Show them how good life is on Terra! Rebels? You mean Terrorists! Uprising on Merkur? That was just a bar brawl, started by some grumpy old Miner!
    Do everything to make your Hegemony look good. Take a good look at how Nazi Germany influenced its youth during its reign. Within ten years, the youth was indoctrinated efficiently. Most of them will join your navy honored to serve the Hegemony.

  3. Organisation:
    Your government is based on Terra, so organising the recruitment will be pretty easy. Send in a recruitment division into one of the cities, and come out of it with a few ten thousand fresh recruits. Easy as pie.

  4. Strategical Placement of Earth:
    Space is no Ocean. Planets move. But Earth has a decent position to every planet further in, and even Mars isn't to far of, as long as it isn't on the exact opposite of the solar system.

So, everything considered, a recruitment campaign on Earth is still one of the most promising methods to enlarge your military might.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE DarthDonut! Interesting answer. A little tip about markdown: to get a soft linebreak, like with <br/>, you need to have two spaces at the end of a line before hitting Enter once. Also, if you do your lists with a dot and a space after the number it will be recognised as a list. To get headings you can also use "#" at the start of a line for a level 1 heading or for example "##" for a level 2 heading. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Jul 4, 2018 at 11:45

Disease control

Things like the common cold prosper on Earth because of the large, concentrated population. A viral infection typically only lasts a few weeks, and by that time the virus should be passed on to others to continue. A virus can only infect the same host again if it sufficiently mutates into another variant, which takes longer than the time the virus spends in a single host. In other words, the survival strategy of viruses is to keep infecting new people and then circling back around when it has changed sufficiently.

The moment you put a bunch of people on a spacecraft for a half-year round-trip to Mars, at some point everyone will get the cold, generate antibodies and kill the virus. The virus does not have enough time to mutate into another variant, so by the time you arrive at Mars, your crew will be free of viruses like the common cold. Great news! All human settlements outside Terra are free of pesky viruses.

This also means that the immune systems of extraterrestrial humans are no longer properly trained for most Terra-borne diseases. Before they can return to Terra, they need to get all the flu shots of many, many preceding years if they want to stand any chance of not being violently sick when returning. Not great space-marine-material, if you can't even get to the capital planet of your system!


One Word - Elitism


Terrans are from the capital planet, they are the Colonial Rulers they would be seen as elite individuals and greatly respected.

The colonists could be taught from a young age about the amazing skill and nobility of the Terrans who colonised, and their impressive admirals and officers.


You could set it up so that Terrans occupy the officers and higher positions due to the superior Terran war academies and their richer families.

They could also have more advanced war rooms/battle simulators and general better education.

Snobbery and Elitism

Colonial empires tended to like their high ranking officials/officers to be from the home nations so I see no reason why this Empire would not want their officers to be from their home planet.

Also much like you wouldn't trust people you had never met to protect your house, the admiralty would want men they knew, trained and drunk with leading their Fleets, Squadrons and Fighter Groups.


Leaving colonies to themselves is never good. If you allow them absolute freedom to control their own military this will just be British Empire 2.0.

Large Empires require the capital to be woven into the heart of everything from corporations to governors to military.


Depending on the population spread you could make 3 arguments.

  1. Mostly Terran

    • Not recruiting from the majority dramatically reduces potential numbers.
  2. Equal parts Terran

    • Earth is already developed so is OK with more of its population being removed (the colonies need builders and farmers more)
  3. Fewer Terrans

    • Fewer Terrans allows for easier propoganda spread and better, more centralised schooling. This means Terrans are more loyal and learned officers.
  • $\begingroup$ Asuming Earth is the home planet, there's always going to be a sort basic "This Is Home" feel about it, whether that be nostalgia or not. And things coming from Earth will be seen as special, and better. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2018 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah however that mentality does rely on colonisation being a somewhat recent thing. E.g. America, it only took them 170 years to start thinking "America is home" however they still understood Britain was boss, until French funding. Also because Britain allowed all their colonies too much Freedom so when they started taxing them the colonies felt no loyalty $\endgroup$
    – P.Lord
    Jul 5, 2018 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think so - people still refer to themselves as Italian-America, German American, etc, even if their family came here a century or more ago. So a connection to a home planet would very likely last longer. Earthers who move to other inhabited planets would very likely describe themselves as being "from Earth" for several generations, easy. It might not be a necessary distinction if the alien races don't resemble Earthlings, But people still like talking about Where They're From. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2018 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yes but if America declared war on Italy do you think the Italian-Americans would be morally torn or do you think they would back America 100%. I do think however with enough propaganda in schools you could easily keep loyalty across the empire. (on phone sorry for typos) $\endgroup$
    – P.Lord
    Jul 5, 2018 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Not 100%, but you'd get some repatriates, for sure. There's been any number of sci-fi stories that included a "back to Earth" movement. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2018 at 14:02

To add on to Thorne's answer, humans are extremely resilient at least mentally (a common hfy trope) and can also be vengeful. This makes them one of the most dangerous foes to go up against.

All these traits make humans an ideal component of any military force.

  • $\begingroup$ please either change your answer or remove it as it is no longer relevant to the question. $\endgroup$
    – P.Lord
    Jul 5, 2018 at 18:38

If your Hegemony originates from Earth there is a huge benefit. [If not, read another answer]

And that is Loyalty. As Opposed to other, later-colonized, Planets, the Earth IS the Hegemony; Earthlings commonly are brought up to be loyal to it far more than anyone from other planets or colonies, where dissidents spread their Propaganda somewhat more freely. This is because, while a colony might benefit from seceeding, the Earth (as the hub of the Hegemony)has absolutely no reason to do so.

Also, young Earthlings only hear about Dissidents in a negative way. An Uprising here, a friend's Dad being killed in Action (while obviously fighting for the Hegemony) Also Earth being the most developed, industrialized, and obvously cultured world would help instill this loyalty / identity with the Hegemony


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