Imperial Rules of War
The Imperial Rules of War are an accumulation of mostly unwritten concepts established on a case-by-case basis. They have not been officially codified to prevent formal precedent from preventing Imperial intervention. The main aim of the rules is to maintain the economic and military well-being of the realm.
One prohibition is clear and firm: use or possession of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, if discovered, and regardless of size or type, will almost certainly trigger Imperial intervention. The Imperium alone retains the rights to such weapons, because of their extreme destructive powers and the relatively low tech level at which they can be manufactured. For similar reasons, certain other weapons (chemical and bacteriological agents, and meson accelerators, for example) are strictly controlled, although they are not subject to the sweeping restrictions placed on nuclear weapons.
To mitigate the potentially most disastrous aspects of armed conflict, the "rules of war" have evolved as an accumulation of unwritten concepts on a case-by-case basis. The rules of war have never been officially codified, both to prevent them being seen as an Imperial endorsement of war and to prevent formal precedent from preventing Imperial intervention whenever the Imperium deems it necessary. The main aim of the rules is to maintain the economic and military well-being of the realm, and the Imperium will intervene only when military action threatens this. The primary causes of instability, as viewed by the Imperium, are long-term economic dislocation and excessive extra-planetary influence.
Long-term social or economic dislocation is suffered when a region suffers some permanent or semi-permanent loss in its ability to carry on at its pre-war level of economic activity.
The excessive extra-planetary influence concept is even more vague. The Imperium tolerates the use of force as a necessary outlet for built-up political and social pressures. In such cases, a short war is deemed preferable to continuing tension, sabotage, political agitation, and so on. However, attempts by extra-planetary forces, such as off-world governments or large commercial interests, to seize control of a world's affairs are beyond the scope of the "safety valve" rationale. "Assistance" is tolerated, so long as it is deemed appropriate to the level of legitimate interest in the affairs of the world held by the extra-planetary organisation.
For example, the Imperium tolerates mercenary forces which have been hired by local governments or other on-planet powers. It has even tolerated the provision of training cadre, arms, equipment, and so on (on a limited scale) by megacorporations , and even of fully-equipped striker units to local forces. However, when it has appeared that the primary burden for the conduct of the war has been carried out by an extra-planetary power, the Imperium has intervened, claiming the power is using the misfortune of a local dispute as a pretext for aggression.
History & Background
The Imperium tolerates the use of force as a necessary outlet for built-up political and social pressures beyond the opponents' ability to mediate.
General Principles & Background
A short war is deemed preferable to continuing tension, sabotage, political agitation, etc. However, attempts by extra-planetary forces to seize control of a world's affairs are beyond the scope of the "safety valve" rationale. Recognizing that often some community of interest exists between a faction or state on a planet and some off-planet organization, the Imperium tolerates "assistance" as long as it is deemed appropriate to the level of legitimate interest in the affairs of the world held by the extraplanetary organization. When it has appeared that the primary burden for the conduct of the war has been carried by an extra-planetary power, the Imperium has intervened.
- Imperial Navy (IN)
- Imperial Army (IA)
- Imperial Interstellar Scout Service (IISS)