Well, the rather long-running debate of law-enforcement vs. intelligence gathering is something I very much had in mind when I originally suggested that the Celpo be split. Way back in undergrad, I wrote a whole paper about why the FBI and CIA hated each other’s guts and had clashing cultures, and I have a very tough time imagining the Celpo -who, in addition to being a gold standard intelligence service, also were the gold standard for sketchy behavior – all of a sudden turning into interdimensional cops who cared about things like law enforcement and due process. (…and of course this whole concept of international law-enforcement relies on the cooperation of member countries, as none of them would presumably surrender their sovereign rights.)
Perhaps part of the push to add some law-enforcement aspects to GACA (and, generally, to emphasize GACA’s non-military functions) was that for decades GACA centered around a military mindset – indeed, Celiose refused to countenance anything else. White Cell is the bloody culmination of this as they sought to establish a military solution for peace in the Web. Implicit in the GA (and Celiose’s) mindset is that the political leaders of the Web are a bunch of idiots who should just pay the bills and get out of the way. With White Cell taking that thinking to its logical conclusion, one might understand why the Alliance wants to exert a little more political control, and perhaps even taking away some of the GA’s scary stuff like the Celpo.
I’m trying to think where you get this seven number for the Soldierly Council, Matt – off the top of my head, the notable named members are Torstensson, Rimmel, Model, Praxer, Gage, Howe, Velasco, and, of course, Celiose himself. (Maybe you forgot the Big C?) Rimmel and Model had some special posts to give them the extra jam to be on the Council, but I always had the feeling that it included some additional theater commanders (…none of whom were worth naming or mentioning, because the already existing GA commanders had very little to do and I had no reason to add more.) Like, for example, Hannibal should logically have been on the Council, given that he had the rank of Rear General and commanded an elite force of Seraphim, even though I don’t know if that was ever established. In my mind, it was just “important named high-level GA commanders.”
And it’s true that the Soldierly Council has historically been resistant to playing politics – I mean, I’m sure when the GA was originally formed, people were not really thrilled when Celiose picked Burzmale, ANOTHER Tasnican, to be his number two. (I suspect that part of Velasco’s motivation for joining White Cell was that he was never part of the Great War Old Boys’ club.)
…all that said, I fundamentally agree with you that it doesn’t make sense for each nation to be represented. Each nation in GACA is represented on the political side, in the Alliance Congress and the House of Lords. The Soldierly Council is supposed to represent the GA’s body of military expertise. THAT SAID, one assumes that the political leadership of GACA has some say who gets promoted to the top ranks, especially without Celiose around. To break down the above list of commanders by nationality, we have:
Celiose: Albrooker, though a technical Tasnican, who rose through the Tasnican military
Torstensson: Ironically, another Esperian who served in the Tasnican military
Burzmale: A Tasnican, though by way of Ticonderan parentage
Howe: Figaro. Fun fact: He was loosely based on Chester Nimitz. I kind of want to revisit him in Leviathan, where he teams up with Mic to do a Doolittle-style raid by launching spitfires from his submarine.
Gage: Baron. Fun fact: Loosely based on Bomber Harris. Also, this is his theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOkGYTM6PwU
Model: Model’s is actually kind of a man from nowhere; he’s the son of a prostitute and an unknown soldier, and bounced around various army camps before he was old enough to fight.
Velasco: The latecomer is Guardian.
…so, looking at the above list, it’s reasonable that the Alliance Congress might want some more equal representation. There was perhaps even pressure before, but it’s hard to argue against the team that repeatedly defended the Web on several occasions
I was chatting earlier, and I do regret kind of stalling on White Cell, because this MASSIVE INTERDIMENSIONAL WAR would’ve been a perfect place to develop a number of new characters who could’ve stepped up. (…although my intent for it to be a cast-of-thousands epic also made me feel quite exhausted just thinking about it…but I guess it’s still around, on the boards…) I mean, just checking my notes, I had sketches for three new Tasnican commanders, two or three new Scandian commanders, and an Eblanese commander, a smattering of white cell commanders, and a lot of mecha aces. (…BEE TEE DUBS, I’m started a mechawarrior mercenary group in reborn at some point!)
…case in point for the above, part of my plan for the Quadfront was that the supercomputer Angel would build another robot body for herself, and take on the role of Republic Intelligence. She would go by the name of Eva, because that’s a Command and Conquer reference, and she would serve to coordinate the disparate factions defending Tasnica by providing information and briefing people on their missions. (She would, naturally, also serve as quartermaster for those grinding reputation for the Defenders of Tasnica faction). At some point, she was going to realize she was in over her head because her program was designed to handle stock market trades rather than fight a war, and then Praxer provides her with the data core of the Tactician. The Tactician is the GA’s supercomputer, and it’s programmed with the knowledge and experience of all of the GA’s battles and best leaders. Angel merges with it, becomes Republic Command, and helps lead the Tasnicans to victory. After the war she convinces Kenny to “liberate” although those robot soldiers Tasnica built to win the war, rather than deactivate them. Now, it had occurred to me that Eva/Republic Command would be a neat choice for Celpo Director, but I had also heard a couple other pitches for other characters to take over the role so I wasn’t sold on it.
(…boy, it’s going to be tough to fill Air Operations, huh? Maybe Gage is still around and back in that job, as a link to the GA’s Great War past?)
ALL THAT SAID – because the GA was a central story asset, I really, really wanted to open up the Reborn incarnation up to more writers. Ditto for GACA. Even though it’s been a focal point of the story forever, it and it’s workings are still largely my creation and I wanted to give everyone in Reborn the chance to affect it.
…and I get the impulse to feel like it should mostly be stocked with well-established characters, but I also feel like it’s been ten years and people have different interests and character types they want to write about.
(…does anyone have any objections to Halder? I kind of want to do a post about him now, as his decision to join the Council rather than form a military government to overthrow the Party following Travin’s death reflects a bit of a Moral Choice…)