How many troops would I need to garrison all of Earth?

Perhaps this better belongs in GQ or Great Debates. I’m not sure. Time will tell, I suppose. Anyway…

It’s a Science Fiction inspired question, today. That is; how many troops would I need to garrison all of Earth?

Now, I imagine that the technology level of the conquerers would be somewhat “key.” But I also recognize that by using sci-fi standbys to make the invading hordes TOO powerful would just render the whole question pointless, so I’m going to somewhat arbitrarily set the technology of this conquering army to a rough equivalent of the present-day U.S. Armed forces.

Now, tactics and strategy would be the other vital element of this argument. Since this isn’t a question of “how to INVADE the world,” but just how to “secure” the world after it’s been conquered, I’m declaring that for the purposes of this argument, the conquest of the world has been accomplished via the threat of a Superweapon/Doomsday Device (Something like the SOL Orbital Laser Platform at should do the trick, I think) The governments of the world have officially capitulated, and it’s time for the occupation troops to ship in. That’s not to say that there can’t or won’t be attempted rebellions or uprisings later, of course.

But, even with Colossal Anime Death Satellites, “You can’t hold territory without ground troops.” And I’d need people to enforce my tyrannical yet curiously stylish edicts. So, I ask you, how many troops would I need to secure the world?

Just one if he or she commands an army of sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads.

None - none of your own, at least. If you have an orbital superweapon which can’t be attacked and which can rain death at any time, you can use that threat to compel the governments of Earth to enforce your edicts for you, using their own militaries. If you wanted to declare martial law in the United States, for example, you’d simply order the President to do so, with your standard threat of terrible reprisals with the superweapon if he didn’t comply. The President of the United States would then work out the details and give the orders to “his” troops. The nice thing about this is that most countries already have a military which is large and well-equipped enough to impose martial law on their own citizens - you really wouldn’t need your own. If one country refused to cooperate with you, or a part of their military mutinied against a government subservient to you, you could simply order neighboring countries to send in troops to deal with the problem if you felt it too minor to use your superweapon. Thus, you’re capable of a response short of mass destruction. And if everyone is rebelling, you just fire the superlaser a few times until they calm down. :slight_smile:

So, you don’t need troops of “your own” to control Earth. You might want to have commissars, though - political officers assigned to military units of your subject countries, whose job would be to ensure that these units acted in accordance with your whims and act as a liason between your government officials and individual military units. These wouldn’t be combat troops, so the number you’d need depends on how close to the “bottom” of the subject nation’s military structure you feel active political oversight (yours) is needed. Look at the soviet military and their commissars for an example of how commissars could be used and distributed.

The other thing you’d probably want to take care of yourself is your own secret police - people to investigate people, disappear them, and make your subjects suitably cowed, like the Gestapo. How many of these - at the higher level of the organization, not a huge number, I think. The important thing would be to just have as many average subjects on your payroll as informants as possible - that creates a sort of paranoia that’s very useful in strangling any hope of resistance. Again, the Soviets were pretty good at this, until Gorbachev.

Oh, and of course you want to get your own indoctrination program in the schools - brainwash 'em while they’re young, I say.

Isn’t this a question for the Evil Super Villian?

The problem, of course, is how willing humans would be to accept their new alien overlords. A particularly oppressive regime is going to be met with more resistance, which is going to necessitate more oppression, which is going to inspire more resistance…

Here in the US there is about 1 police officer for every 400 people to police things. At that rate you’d need 15 million soldiers for the world.

It also depends on resistance and the nature of capture. If you have extensive espionage methods and effective resistance quashing methods then maybe you’d need less.

“A particularly oppressive regime is going to be met with more resistance, which is going to necessitate more oppression, which is going to inspire more resistance…”

Not so. This cycle gets started when you have only a partially repressive regime. For example, for most of the USSR’s history, repression was brutal and absolute, and so with the notable exception of the Hungarian uprising in the 60’s, we really didn’t see mass revolt or popular protests. But after Gorbachev came to power, he reduced the degree of repression without entirely getting rid of it - so the people were still miserable, but now felt safe enough to express how miserable they were through protest and even, in the non-russia republics, breaking away from the USSR.

The lesson here is that if you want to be an evil, repressive dictator (which gorbachev didn’t, but his example is still useful), you need to go all the way and be evil and repressive all the time. It’s the suffering by half-measures that sparks rebellion, no full repression.

Oh, er, Ranchoth - you’re not actually going to, er, need this information, will you?

Well, instead of a giant space platform that will rain unstoppable death on any who would resist how about a simpler method.

Cover the earth atmosphere with a highly addictive psychotropic nerve gas like drug. This drug is specifically engineered to affect only humans (and a few primates) Withdrawal from the drug is an agonizing 45 days physical and mental pain which ultimately results in insanity if not re-addicted. Of course, only you can manufacture the drug in space using alien technology and with elements unknown to earth.

All youll need is an orbiting space station as a warehouse for the drug, a garrison in every major country to guard its shipping ports and a factory on the far side of the moon. Local govts will take care of distribution. Any country that does not obey will have their supply lessened. You spray the atmosphere periodically to make sure no one has been missed.

Your name isn’t George, is it? :slight_smile: