The novel I am writing takes place in a world where the United Nations became the Global Association of Nations, a union of the entire planet under a collective defensive and political federation. This happens after an alien incursion on earth devastates many of the wealthy nations and essentially sets even the most powerful countries ( United States, Russia, UK, China, etc.) back about a hundred years.

During the alien attack, which was a ground invasion of drones led by a small army of alien soldiers (think the aliens from the movie Battle: Los Angeles), many of the largest and most populated cities on the planet were devastated but not wiped out. Since wiping out cities with WMDs did not benefit the attackers purpose of colonizing the planet for resource extraction, the aliens resorted to extermination using neutron style bombs that would kill humans but leave the cities, and resources, intact.

After several millions are killed by the initial neutron bomb strikes and the subsequent drone invasion, the military forces of the world launch successful counter-attacks and succeed in disabling the drones, thanks to large EMP weapons and destroying the strongholds established by the invaders using tactical nuclear weapons.

In the aftermath of the war, many nations are left devastated. The worst hit are the United States, Canada, the European Union, Russia, China, and other powers in South America and Africa. However, governments and their military wings aren't wiped out and do recover. Nations begin rebuilding.

However, in the immediate decades following the incursion, the nations of the world are concerned that another invasion may follow in the future. With the world's economy also devastated, political unrest follows and many are concerned that opportunists (be it terrorists or rouge nation states) will hinder if not endanger recovery. As a result, first proposed by surviving world leaders of the EU, and later supported by Brazil, China and other powers, the nations form the G.A.N. at a historic United Nations emergency assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, uniting their portions of their military services into a collective armed forces, a peacekeeping organization, tasked with restoring order and defending their planet from another attack while safeguarding the nations recovering from enemies both foreign and domestic. However, even after the decade since the G.A.N.'s formation and nearly 20 years after the incursion and independent national reconstruction began, problems are still present.

While some would say the shear devastation and the fact much of the infrastructure remains non-functional, the biggest is the ethnic and political divides that still exist and threaten the collective armed forces initiative. As stated before, native peoples would have a hard time dealing with the idea of a political organization outside their own domestic government trying to tell their government how to run itself. Nor would they like a foreign soldier acting under global law trying to enforce said global law in their land.

With that being said, my question is, given the situation, how would that armed forces be organized overcoming the political and ethnic divides?


closed as too broad by Renan, Ash, JBH, rek, Mołot Oct 29 '18 at 8:30

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    $\begingroup$ We know too little about the state of your world to be able to give any meaningful response. They could be anything you want, depending on the available technology and knowledge, the decisions of the world government, what nations are left standing, etc... $\endgroup$ – Sava Oct 28 '18 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't exactly sure how to ask the question or what details were needed. What do you recommend I add to the question? $\endgroup$ – Noah Oct 28 '18 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ Who survived? Who were the first to come up with the idea of a world government then included everyone else? What kind of technology survived the devastation and is available? What tech was lost? Did any military units survived with tech from today? Why do they need it (policing a world at peace isn't the same as defending against a rebellion or a possible return of the aliens)? I might have more questions later. $\endgroup$ – Sava Oct 28 '18 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ Okay thank you for the suggestions I will edit my question accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Noah Oct 28 '18 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me based on the information in the question, military forces have been reorganized. After twenty years there should have been major reorganization of the economy and military recruitment especially if there's a threat of a repeat invasion. That's more than enough time to rebuild bases & the rest of military equipment & infrastructure. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 28 '18 at 5:04

Armed forces "look" like whatever they need to execute the chosen strategy against the highest-priority threat(s) with the resources available. All competent militaries in history are based on this concept.

Most of what you have learned (or perhaps mis-learned) about military culture and structure is about how to quickly analyze and adapt when strategies, priorities, and/or resources rapidly change. After all, the enemy gets a vote, too.

Since a unified Earth will be fighting aliens instead of humans, the weapons and techniques to deter or defeat that threat will determine strategy, equipment, support, manning, and organizational structure.

For example, if humans have had great success destroying alien landers in space or in the air using missiles, then look for lots of missile-oriented forces spread widely and a strategy of layered orbital, air-based, and ground based missile-launching defense units. Look for very few classic tank/infantry or naval ships or close air support aircraft.

Alternately, if landers proved invunerable but human tanks and artillery were successful at destroying alien landing troops, then look for very few missiles, but lots of ground forces and close air support. The strategy here is for fast-arriving forces to contain landing zones until enough combat power arrives to eradicate the landed enemy force.

Alternately, if alien troops were invulnerable to all terrestrial weapons but succumbed readily to earthly microorganisms, then you will see very few classic combat forces at all. The strategy here is trick enemy formations to waste their time in cleared areas until they succumb, and most units will specialize in monitoring, deception, and evacuation.

The 20-year-destroyed past infrastructure and equipment (which were intended for a different strategy against a different threat) seem largely irrelevant. Militaries have a long history of discarding the irrelevant - few armies use crossbows or pigeons anymore.

  • $\begingroup$ I updated the question just so you know. $\endgroup$ – Noah Oct 28 '18 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Noah big edit to address your changes...though the upshot is the same. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Oct 28 '18 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Yes i just wanted to let you know in case you had anything to say. $\endgroup$ – Noah Oct 29 '18 at 0:45

Honestly, most likely they would be organized precisely the way they are now, with the same chain of command. The organization used today is based on what makes an army of H. sapiens effective.

Military organization remains relatively unchanged for centuries and across countless nations. Our system of ranks is basically the same as it was when George Washington fought. In fact, it is so much the same that we can discuss how Washington was given the rank of "General of the Armies" and discuss what that means using modern terminology. Its what works for humans, and is unlikely to have changed just because some aliens showed up.

Likewise, most armies use this system. It doesn't matter if you are the United States of America with their 1.3 million people, or the Military of Mauritania, they all use basically the same structure and the rough same names. Mauritania simply stops with the equivalent of a 1 star general, while the US needs to work its way all the way up to 4 stars.

The nations will likely form coalitions like they have since the dawn of time. These coalitions may have Lead Nations which may have more authority over others, but they generally operate independently. Nations structure their military to work well with the way their culture operates, so the command structure will generally follow national lines.

If you are interested, it may be worth looking into the General of the Army and General of the Armies. GA, in particular, has been used with the expressed intent of providing an officer with rank parity with the leaders from other nations .


/uniting their military services into a collective armed forces tasked with restoring order and defending their planet from another attack/

These are two very different missions.

/the most powerful military forces have been reduced shells of what they use to be/

Good riddance. Neither of the two missions requires a military which mostly exists to make war on comparable militaries of other nations.

Restore order. A force to restore order should be comprised of people from that region. In essence it is a police force. Calling in armed foreigners to enforce laws and curb unrest is a recipe for disaster and not a long term solution. At most, enforcing order would require something like the national guard. You do not need mortars and military weaponry for this sort of thing. Ultimately, the (re)formation of civil society is a political question to be sorted out by the polity involved, not by distant foreigners.

Defending the planet.

It sounds like it was big weapons that did this last time: nukes and EMPs. Global, unified strategy and funding for the sorts of weapons that repelled the last attack make sense. Manpower / soldiers with bayonets will not be much of an issue with a technologic war like this. It is unlikely that the next attack will be the same sort of thing as the first, and it will probably not entail more ground troops since the first time Earth used EMPS and tactical nukes. It will be bombs from space and lots of them. Nuking yourself is literally a scorched earth defense and should not be repeated. Earth needs orbiting defenses and ideally some sort of offensive capability this would best be developed by a consortium. I could imagine something like the consortium that runs the International Space Station.


The International Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement, often referred to as 'the IGA', is an international treaty signed on 29 January 1998 by the fifteen governments involved in the Space Station project.* This key government-level document establishes 'a long term international co-operative frame-work on the basis of genuine partnership, for the detailed design, development, operation, and utilisation of a permanently inhabited civil Space Station for peaceful purposes, in accordance with international law' (Article 1)

Except not for peaceful purposes.

Nothing unites like a common enemy and hopefully the nations of Earth will be united by the threat from space (see Independence Day 2, with very similar premise as this question). Sometimes nations can appease their discontent people by making war on a neighbor (and blaming the neighbor for economic problems at home); keeping major military expenditures joint affairs oriented on threats from space and conventional military forces low will be insurance against that.


A totally new organization would be created. It would be funded by participating governments, who would still be duly paranoid over the haunting events that took place two decades earlier. No one government would be allowed to provide too high of a percentage of resources or manpower to keep them from taking over the organization.

Since fighting your aliens would likely require special weapons or tactics, a new military force would be created to accommodate the necessary training. Bases would be established in strategic areas for the fastest response time possible.

The organization would not just be military. Evidence would need to be collected and analyzed by the best human minds in the world . Any biological information about the invaders to assess alien vulnerabilities. Any information about the weapons, vehicles or other equipment would be studied. Perhaps we could copy alien technology for our own use, especially against them. Perhaps they would have a group that would study alien communication. Maybe another group would speculate on what the aliens would be likely to do the NEXT time they showed up. Obviously they would adapt their methods as well. Then preemptive countermeasures could be arranged.

Space defense would be a big part of the Earth's defense. Defensive satellites, Anti-mothership missiles, stealth fighters, etc.

The new organization would give advice on rebuilding cities to help make them more defensive against whatever it is that your aliens did to them the last time.

Human would be less likely to be belligerent to each other because of the ever-present fear of aliens opening a "second front" (one would hope).


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