The Great Militia Debate was a series of discussions by the Galactic Republic Senate, about the creation and subsequent conscription of a galactic scale military complete with an army and navy. The debate proposed the drafting of all security and police forces into one uniform military force that would defend the Republic. The Jedi Order would be the one organization not required to fold into the military and would allow to remain independent, if not allowed to lead the forces.
The discussion took place near the end of 23 BBY until the middle of 22 BBY when the Barbarians attacked and a bill adopting the formation of a militia was passed. Chancellor Orasco oversaw the debate.
The events that led into the discussion were surrounded in controversy and mystery. The attack of a prison planet and an agricultural-based system was cause for debate. The Jedi Order had deemed it an attack by a dark Jedi, while antagonists of the Jedi had described it as "nothing more than a veiled attempt by the Jedi to force their agenda." When told about the destruction of their farm holdings on Telos IV they replied with "only the Jedi would destroy their own property to further subvert us."
A being known as Zell Coo-Neo had led the attacks on the Republic held systems and had been killed by his subordinate. This disallowed the authorities from questioning him. After the incidents the Senate was much more open to discussing the idea of creating the first military in a millennium; it had been thrown out of a senatorial session less than a year before.
The debate began in 23 BBY with a discussion about the reasoning behind a potential military. The pro-militia senators said it would help with response to crises in the future as well as deter possible terrorists and splinter groups. It would also bring better training and reduce crime rates in the galaxy.
Opposition said it would bring more problems with it and it may bring violent protest with it. Another reason they were against it was that they thought that anyone with an ounce of power and influence in the military could essentially control the galaxy by forcing a coup to control the Republic.
Another session in the Senate discussed how the military would form if it was to be assembled. Supporters selected a controlled conscription. Unlike a general conscription that aimed to draft everyone of a certain day of birth or other barometer--regardless of occupation or status--a controlled draft conscripts specific members of society and from certain professions. This controlled conscription called all security and police forces into service, that way they would still function as a law enforcing entity, but also as a defense force. It also required significantly less training than a regular civilian draft.
The opposition argued that moving police and security forces would compromise day-to-day law enforcement and promote crime. It would also put the police under the control of the Jedi Order to use as it deemed necessary. The private sector would be particularly affected as it took away the ability for privately employed police forces to protect their employers, as well as prevent them from seeing their families regularly. Salaries would drop for the more experienced and overqualified members, resulting in monetary losses and raises for the under-qualified members. Finally, the death of civilians that did not volunteer for service had the chance to induce riots and dramatically reduce the post-war security personnel population. A shortage of police would occur.
Supporters like Magnum Rockwater and Kellen Varundle proposed, during an early-22 BBY session, that the army and navy be restricted to purely a defensive force,that would be used to protect the Republic, and nothing more. It was not meant to precipitate the formation of an unjust Empire.
Opposition like Kinaya Madrid said that was an unworthy prospect that would make the creation of the military pointless, he thought that if the Republic was going to institute armed forces, then they should be made to concur the worlds out of Republic jurisdiction, like many of the Outer Rim and Wild Space worlds.
The Supporters believed that the Jedi Order should lead the military since they had the insight and knowledge of the Force, and had a vast archive where they could acquire knowledge on tactics and formations. They are also said to be the greatest warriors in the galaxy, by many witnesses that have seen them in a fight.
The opposition disagreed, saying, that giving command of the army to the Order would be giving them too much power and too much clout in Republic affairs. They also thought that the hiring of professional strategists and war veterans from specific planets to lead the Republic would be better and a collection of Generals/Admirals would prevent total control of the military in one person or organization's hands.
Outfitting & cost
The final debate occurred mid-22 BBY and involved the discussions about how to finance the army and how to outfit it reasonably.
The pro-army side said that they would offer contracts to shipwrights like Kuat Drive Yards and Rothana Heavy Engineering to build fleets and gunships at a flat, standard rate. They would contract arms dealers to make their ground assault vehicles, armor and weapons. If needed they would raise taxes by a few percentage points during the duration of the war to help with the cost of the arms production and take loans from the Banking clans to help pay off the early debts. The maritime spending would be at a substantially reduced rate compared to wartime spending.
The opposition thought these plans would put the Republic in massive and irreparable debt, that would doom the future of the Republic. They thought this would cause them to spiral into a depression and saw no bit of reasoning to support maritime defense spending on that scale, especially considering the possibility of no future conflict on the doorstep.
Outcome & ramifications
The invasion of the Republic by the Barbarians ended the debate and the once split Senate voted to support the creation of the Army and approved all the proposed measures that the support had presented. The police forces were grouped into one large military and used for the defense of many of the Republic worlds under attack by the Barbarians.
During the course of the war, many of the opposition was forced out of office or defected from the Republic. The creation of the armies marked the first time the Republic had a uniform military in a millennium; this would lead to the creation of a Clone Army to replace the sentient one the Republic first fielded.
Behind the scenes
The Great Militia debate was influenced by the events surrounding the start of the Star Wars film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones which centered on a debate to create an army for the Republic. The article was runner-up in the "Best Event" category of the Seventh Wiki Awards.