An Open Letter to the Officers of the First Order Re: Death Star Doctrine

il_340x270.767751302_ps14Note: The following contains spoilers.

An Open Letter To My Fellow Officers of the First Order; Gen Hux et. all.;

I wish to open this letter by acknowledging the difficult month we have shared, collectively, as leaders of the First Order. Most if not all of us reading this memo had close friends and trusted colleagues on Starkiller Base, their loss is a palpable wound.

However, even with the destruction of the Hosnian System and the hated Senate, it is up to us as officers to admit we have, yet again, suffered a defeat at the hands of the Resistance. Morale is at an all-time low. This is why we must be particularly careful not make hasty or foolish decisions without careful consideration of the polices that have led us to this low point in the otherwise glorious history of the First Order.

Which is why when entering a conference room on the leadership deck I was shocked and dismayed to discover a group of high-ranking officers, engineers and financial controllers in the middle of a meeting running over preliminary plans to create something they were calling “Ultimate Super StarKiller Murderbase IV.”


Just stop it. Do you hear me? Stop. It’s time we admit that he First Order, a supposed edification of the Galactic Empire, has problems we can’t Death Star our way out of.

This one is going to be powered by black holes or something and will have a oh dear lord please stop....

This one is going to be powered by black holes or something and dark lord above, enough already….

Do you have any idea the sheer scale of our war-fighting resources directed toward increasing size and complexity high-visibility, concentrated-power destructive bases over the past decades? It’s in the quadrillions. Think of all the ships, troops, manufacturing capability, planning and doctrine we’ve slavishly dedicated to these single-use weapons, and what we have to show for it in return. The Rebellion/Resistance, continues to vaporize them with the banal ease of dispatching mynocks from a garage. Worse, because we have placed so much unearned confidence in these weapons as a panacea to achieving our military goals, we have compromised our ability to fight more traditional conflicts.

I ask you to consider how many Star Destroyers, divisions of At-At mobile assault forces, TIE fighters and Stormtrooper weapon training programs (blaster proficiency is at an all time low, even by Stormtrooper standards) do these bases represent? With the effort and treasure we have dedicated to these failed programs we could by now have blockaded every significant system in the galaxy with capable vessels. We could have bombarded and invaded their capitals at will, or simply bribed them into fealty to Supreme Leader Snoke, All Hail Him, without discharging a blaster. Yet still we continue to build toward this scarcely-utilized capability, throwing our entire organization behind one new giant laser after another while the rest of the force survives on bits and scraps.

To be frank, even if one of these behemoths ever wound up surviving its initial contact with Resistance forces (which one never has) as I have noted elsewhere, their military usefulness is negligible. When one destroys a planet you are denied the entire resource capability of that world forever. Space is big, the number of habitable planets is finite. We just can’t go blowing up the ones with a population we find disagreeable at a particular moment. Despite the political and PR fallout, just from a practical standpoint we would find ourselves running short on the very thing we want to control in the first place, the very building block of a galactic empire: planets. Alderan, for instance, was a pretty nice place. My grandparents kept a villa there and had raised prized dewbacks for generations. Now it’s space rubble. Good luck planting the First Order flag there.

The whole Death Star/Planet Killer concept is vapid. They are ineffective against fleets and smaller on-planet targets such as population centers or military installations. Due to the engineering necessity of large, open spaces at their cores for sufficient venting or to have (as in the case of Starkiller Base), undefended oscillators on their surfaces, they are astonishingly vulnerable to swarms of small, fast, lightly-armed attack vessels. These so-called “super weapons” are instead single-use set pieces, good only for visually displaying just the kind of raw power the First Order stands for, but in practical use they are about as reliable as as fourth-hand droid at a Jawa market.

After a few Antakarian Fire Dancers at any rank-and-file Imperial officers club, when the topic of “Why does the Rebellion keep kicking our asses?” comes up, the first and typically loudest response is some version of the old saw, “Darth Vader’s Son used The Force on us! How are we supposed to defend against that?” The reality, however, comes from the softer, often unspoken voices at the periphery who know that only the first of the successful attacks on our “indestructible” bases were assisted by mystical intervention. At the Battle of Yavin, arguably  the best constructed of the battle stations, The Force was indeed an appreciable factor in its destruction. The others were lost to our own shortsightedness by failing to predict well-established Rebel attack strategy.

I put forth the following argument, at risk of my First Order career and, I realize, my very life at the hands of an enraged Sith, but the values for which we stand transcend my personal concerns. Thus I find myself in the uncomfortable position of speaking aloud what has been whispered in dark corners for too long, and I dearly hope others will openly join me in this realization:

Death Stars are far more useful to the Resistance than they could ever be to us.

When the Rebellion/Resistance finds themselves facing a Death Star-type system they inevitably win both the battle and, on the greater stage, the war. The reason is the same in both cases: Death Star Doctrine warfare plays exclusively to their strengths. Over and over we build massive, slow-moving, highly visible, yet fundamentally indefensible bases. The Rebels/Resistance deploy motley collections of whatever ships and crews they have at hand, making desperate, heroic squadron-based raids one of which inevitably punches through. It’s the same as throwing pebbles at a Wookie skull. Toss enough and one will inevitably land in an eye socket, it’s just simple statistics.

Also they keep getting their hands on the plans. We need to do something about that too.

Also they keep getting their hands on the plans. We need to do something about that too.

Following their victory all credit is given to adherence to “The Light Side” of The Force stoking the superstitions of the Galactic populace from whom they receive financing, support, morale, recruiting and perceived initiative. All they need to do is repeat this cycle every few years or so to keep up the appearances of a viable fighting force.

But stepping back to an orbital view we see the Rebellion and their forebears in the Resistance have only ever had one base with a handful of leaders. Even when Hoth proved conventional, well-led attacks of specialized troops easily sweep their forces aside, we ignore this victory and inexplicably continue to pursue the untenable solution of Death Stars.  Are the vendor relationships within our organization so powerful we will allow them to lead us to defeat after defeat for a few plumbing and thermal-shielding contracts?

The First Order is about removing disorder and restoring stability to ensure progress. I understand why, in the light of our core principles, something like a Death Star/Starkiller seems like a seductive solution. Simply excise the disorder from the galaxy with a single, quite frankly thrilling, giant beam and no more messy impediments to our decretion. But the practical execution of this concept has led us down the path of fatal single-mindedness. Disorder is our enemy, yes, but disorder is the engine of novelty which can be turned against us if we continue to pursue a single course rather than a diverse, calculated military strategy to defeat the Resistance once and for all.

I beg you to consider my plea to divert from this course and shutter the Death Star/Starkiller programs for good.

Yours, Obediently,

Lt. Commander M. Wenchel Gendar


Moff Tarkin School for Strategic Studies

First Order Academy of the Outer Rim


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  1. Magrid Snelvelt, Administrative Assistant to the Supreme Leader.

    I see a very cold and undesirable assignment in your future, Lt. Gendar.

  2. A Reply From The Old Men aid the Empire:
    Get the planet blown up right you hacks.
    This is the sort of bias we expect from your librul media.

  3. Never gonna happen as long as Goldman Sachs keeps investing in Dumb Star bonds.

    Am I the only one to notice that the bigger the death star, the fewer rebel ships needed to actually blow it up? Next time they’ll send in Timmy in a pizza delivery truck with a BB pistol.

  4. They destroyed Hosnian Prime, not Coruscant

  5. Excellent article. However, I recall that it wasn’t Coruscant Starkiller blew up… I forget the exact name but it started with an “H”.

  6. Starkiller destroyed the Hosnian system, which is where the New Republic’s Senate was being hosted as part of a rotating schedule. Fix that and you’re good.

  7. Hosnian System? Got it, post corrected. This is the worst news yet, honestly. The only good news for me aroundthe return of the Death Star plot point was the thought of Dexter Jettster, the multi-armed diner owner from Attack of the Clones, died a grisly death at the hands of the Starkiller weapon.

  8. I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  9. Once we a have a device that can, as one might say, suck a star dry we don’t need to destroy its planets at all. When their primary has gone we can leave them to their fate and pick off any escapees without too much fuss.

  10. General Oda Vacar

    These are all excellent questions from a promising young officer. We, as war fighters and leaders have to admit that times have changed. We can no longer field massive armies nor rely on grossly expensive super weapons for victory. We must adopt a new doctrine that recognizes our limitation while also;

    1) Addresses the Rebel’s advantages in air superiority and single combat when their clerics are leading combat formations.

    2) We must also address the radicalization process and interrupt their recruitment pipeline. Why are young people continuing to flock to the rebel cause.

    3) Finally, we must improve training and retention of our own warfighters. We must remember that we are all war fighters from the highest Moff down to the troop non-commissioned officers. The success of our mission begins and end with you!

  11. The problem is that we’re still not going big enough. I propose the construction of the Death Solar System, capable of destroying an entire galaxy! Yeah, that’ll show those reb- er- resistance scum!

  12. I think you fail to see the strategic ramifications of the success of Starkiller Base. This differs dramatically in both purpose and result from the Death Star program, which I agree was flawed.

    The Death Stars were meant to intimidate subject populations, which indeed they did not.

    Starkiller base was meant to destroy the government and military of the Republic – which will leave the galaxy with no other power capable of challenging expansion and control by the First Order. This mission was accomplished spectacularly well.

  13. I would like to point out that Starkiller Base was massively over-budget and our finances simply can’t handle creating another giant super-weapon because of ill-placed nostalgia for a time that many of our soldiers were not even alive to experience.

    We are having enough trouble as it is, given the Supreme Leader’s insistence on keeping a separate budget for the Knights of Ren to repair any damage that has been caused by what must be some sort of powerful laser weapon that we are not allowed to further speculate upon (be it the make-up of said weapon or the individual responsible), judging from the melted marks on the floor and the walls.

    • I don’t know why this mad me think about just HOW BIG the rear view mirror fuzzy dice must be on a star destroyer. I mean wow…look how big those windshields are.

  14. We also need to work on the loyalty thingy. We finally had one stormtrooper who can hit what he is shooting at, and the first thing he does is switch sides!

    • I do note that his accuracy improved remarkably when he removed his helmet…. maybe a redesign is in order?

      • Cmdr, late of Starfighter Cmnd, INS Executor

        Have we checked that there isn’t a mass manufacturing defect in the blasters themselves? It seems as if even with the varying types of helmets our stormtroopers wear (regular, Scout, Cold-Weather) simple vision impairment is an inadequate explanation. Perhaps reconsider what contractor is manufacturing them?

        • TK-42NE Telling, Audit Division

          There was a slight case of the cheapest contractor allegedly using Rebel captives as slave labor. It appears that these “slaves” may have actually been employees of the Rebel Alliance, cross funding the sabotage of our glorious empire from our own coffers

      • LOL, that’s it, poor imperial optics design in helmet visors!

  15. But how big is the Ultimate Super StarKiller Murderbase IV? Just really, really big, or is it really, really, REALLY big? Because if the latter, how can we say no? Especially if it only has a teeny tiny weakness, that I’m sure the rebels would never hit in a million years. Remember, this isn’t any Starkiller we’re talking about here – this one is really, really REALLY big. Too big to fail!

  16. Look, I’ve said it once and I’m going to keep saying it until it finally sinks in: Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

  17. General Oda Vacar brings up a valid point about young people continuing to flock to the rebel cause.
    Which leads me to the thought of how can a trained Storm Trooper for the First Order with only a number for identification, have a miraculous transformation of heart and turn from the First Order and now fight for the rebel cause? Who trained this trooper? What methods were used and are they still valid? Are more Storm Troopers on the verge of this transformation? These are questions that need to be asked and answered immediately.

  18. Dear Lt. Commander,

    I got my hands on your open letter wich was acquired by the resistance as you might guess.

    In hope that my gesture will help us having to work a bit harder to beat you (kind of bored by now), let me give you a little advice that might save you from certain death and also raise the currently very low mood within your organisation.

    Ask your engineers to search for possible critical flaws in their Death Star based weapons designs.
    This is how we got you everytime guys…

    Looking forward to our next big fight.

    Best wishes,

    Master Luke Skywalker
    Founder of the new Jedi Order and former General within the Rebellion

  19. I like this Star Wars idea. Please tell me more.

    The Ghost of Ronald Reagan

  20. Gunther Skeewalker

    Typical of you liberals trying to take away our Death Stars! It’s our galactic constitutional right to have massive planet destroying weapons if we want them! You don’t like it, move to another galaxy!

  21. You see, this is why we need Trump as galactic emperor! He will make the Empire great again, starting with a wall around the Outer Rim and by taxing trade with the Federation of Planets!

  22. Great Article, except, you made a point that I found particularly offensive. When you stated that Death Stars are “they are about as reliable as as fourth-hand droid at a Jawa market.” have you ever actually come into contact with a Jawa sir? I’ll have you know my A7 unit(A7-M1)which has been in my family for 6 generations was purchased 4th hand from Jawa Scrap merchants right from the Czerka Sandcrawler they came in!!! Yes he was Refurbished and No the Jawas did not use factory parts on him, but, he has never broken down, and his motivator is fine! The rumors that Jawas install bad motivators into the droids that they scavenge is just Rediculous. In summation you do make a valid point, that the Death Star program is a failure, but to insult a kind, Noble, and technically gifted race of aliens is just insulting.

    Anchorhead Outpost

  23. Just a thought that might still let us blow up planets, save money and resources and make the resistance fight against our strengths. My research team is calling them Hyperspace Penetrators (although missile and torpedo are still in consideration).

    You all of course remember the Interdictor Class Star Destroyer, very good at it’s job for just one reason, all hyperdrives have built in safety features that keep them from activating too close to something else and and force them to drop from hyperspace before they hit something with a significant gravitational field. Part of the reason is to prevent the destruction of the ship with the hyperdrive, the other is to prevent damage to other ships or objects with significant gravitational fields such as planets. Even a small object traveling at hyperspace velocities striking and planet could cause massive devastation.

    Now looking at sensor data from just prior to the destruction of Starkiller Base we find an anomaly that was over looked at the time. A ship exited hyperspace inside the atmosphere of Starkiller base, this should be impossible unless all the safety features were removed from the ships hyperdrive and nav computer. We now know this vessel to have been the Millennium Falcon piloted by none other than Han Solo, possibly the only man in the galaxy both stupid and ballsy enough to do such a thing.

    However it gave us some ideas and research indicates these have been proposed in the past but various leaders have refused to use them. We need a ships drive with incredible high acceleration to clear the launch platform, a high speed hyperdrive without any of the standard safety regulators, guidance computer, fuel/reactor and very high density material casing. Range is entirely dependent on energy for the hyperdrive, and yield entirely dependent on how much energy we transfer to the target as always. Such weapons could be made in several sizes, small ones could destroy installations even deeply buried within a planet, larger ones could disrupt a continent or with a large or sustained volley destroy a planet. They could be launched within the same system as their target in support of assault operations or from as far away as the range of the weapon allows.

    Now they do go against the Tarkin doctrine of inspire fear first and then destroy as they will give on warning at all before hitting their target. Also, once they are in hypersapce there is no way to contact them to redirect or abort them, but we think that is a good thing.

    We don’t even have to build a new ship or base to use these. Old Imperial class Star Destroyers have a lot of open internal space for all the ground forces and space craft they carried. Those we still have could be refitted with ammo storage and launch bays for the hyperspace penetrators. We might even be able to keep all the fire power originally mounted on the Imperial class and add point defense turbo lasers, missiles and shielding as have become standard on the Resurgent Class Star Destroyer. The new Penetrator Class Star Destroyer would no longer have a fighter compliments or ground troops, and could not easily use it main weapon against enemy spacecraft, although it might be possible against enemy capital ships. However as a support vessel it could be escorted by one or more Resurgent Class Star Destroyers.

    The Resistance without support from the New Republic Navy and with the exception of the battle for Jakku the Rebellion has never fared well in fleet on fleet engagements. They also would have much more trouble tracking multiple fleet assets as opposed to a single super weapon/base. So although they could destroy Penetrator Class Star Destroyers they would never know if they had got them all.

    Alternative Systems Engineer C’n Wah’Dey
    Sienar-Jaemus Fleet Systems

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