The Admirals of the Fleet is a body composed of five admirals, each representing one of the five divisions of the Republican Fleet. They were created as a body by the First Constitutional Amendment following the retirement of Admirals Hugh Sims and Alexander MacGregor.
The the time, Sims and MacGregor were co-equals with the initial task of forming first the Independent Fleet and later the creation of the Republican Fleet. Initially, after the forming of the five fleets, Sims and MacGregor acted as the superiors to the five fleet admirals, though all seven people at the time shared the same rank. This arrangement was kept in place after MacGregor retired and congress appointed the Admiral of the First Fleet to take his place.
The arrangement appeared to be working fine until after the retirement of Sims. Then, it was left to the President of the Republic to appoint his replacement. But who? While both Sims and MacGregor had been instrumental in the creation of the NOVA Program, none except the Admiral of the Second Fleet had any experience in dealing with it. And, while he seemed the logical choice to replace MacGregor given his control of approximately 50% of the Republican Fleet's anual budget, it also seemed impolitic to have no representation by the other services reporting to the president. Of course they would favor Ship based warfare over fighter craft, marines, or intelligence, the thinking went. Both the First and Second Fleets used ship warfare as their primary means of battle.
The Admiral of the Second Fleet was well aware of this conflict and proposed a solution to Congress. Rather than just appoint a second "superior" admiral and upset the balance between the fleets, amend the Constitution so that all five fleets would be equal and the president would be advised by a council rather than two voices. Naturally, the other fleet admirals supported the measure.
Congress, on the other hand, was not so sure. By early 2180 when this was proposed, the Republican Constitution was barely seven years old and many were wary of altering it so soon in fear that doing so would encourage others to do so as well and not be restrained to adjusting it in such small ways. In this, they were not entirely wrong. The next fifty years would see the constitution amended another four times. But with the support of the navy fully behind it, Congress decided to go ahead.
By late 2181 the amendment had passed congress and been ratified by the required number of world bringing the Admirals of the Fleet to their current status, officially eliminating the system of "superior" and "lesser" admirals.
The Admirals of the Fleet at times have conflicted with the political leadership a number of times. The first, and most defining conflict was the episode over the appointment of a Minister of the Navy. In 2224, President Junichiro Niwa, because of an attitude of general distrust that seemed to pervade through the political leadership at the time, proposed the creation of a new cabinet level post called the Minister of the Navy that would provide the Republican Fleet with an extra layer of civilian control. All naval administrative functions would be placed under the minister's control and the Fleet would then keep only its war duties.
The Admirals, with their usual deference toward civilian authority said nothing. However, when security clearances for civilians were to be issued, the Fifth Fleet began a policy of denying those who were supposed to provide oversight on Fleet installations. Without these clearances, these administrators could not gain access to the bases and skyplexes guarded by the Maritime Police division of the Fourth Fleet, now more strict about such things than they ever were in the past.
Additionally, all five of the Admirals refused to meet with the Minister of the Navy and chose instead to arrive on the President's doorstep and report to him personally. In effect, the Admiralty had cut the person and his administrators completely out of the loop. When Congress protested, they pointed to the First Amendment that specifically dictated that the president would be advised by the Admirals "in charge of each Fleet of the Navy in all maters of War and Defense." Thus, they claimed, Congress couldn't appoint someone above them.
Congress, of course, was not pleased. In 2226, the House of Representatives impeached all five Admirals of the Fleet for failing to uphold the law. The Admirals fired back with a request for clarification from the Constitutional Court as to whether a statute could override the Constitution. Congress blinked.
Deciding that a ruling against them was not only possible but probably and establish a precedent of the Fleet turning to the Court each time Congress did something they didn't like, Congress repealed the law to make the point moot and the Admirals withdrew their request. However, this pullback on the part of Congress established the Republican Fleet as a defacto fourth branch of government, leaving the navy much more free to pursue their goals independent from the interference of the civilian government. The only real check that Congress maintained was the power to appropriate funds and thus keep the Fleet relatively small.
- See Also: More about The Fleet's conflict with Congress.
The Admiralty again conflicted with its civilian leadership during the Invasion of 2338. With the invasion in progress and government in hiding, then Commodore Meixiu Larsson was essentially acting alone in her campaign against the invading UUHA forces. By the time contact was reestablished, she had assembled a ragtag fleet of captured vessels and the remaining NOVA ships and was beginning to formulate her final battle strategy in the hope of finally pushing the UUHA out of the Republican Star Cluster. President In Gyu Lee, however, wished for her to listen to the people that had become his military advisors.
Having been promoted to the rank of Admiral, Second Fleet by the Congress-in-Hiding, Larsson had no intention of following the plans of a few militia leaders. But she listened as they spoke. When they were finished and looked to her for her response, Larsson, who was described as looking at the president "as if he were mad" stood and excused herself from the room without permission to leave.
It was a rare show of disrespect any Admiral had ever shown a president, but because Larrson later went on to defeat the UUHA and bring the invasion to a close, she was never reprimanded for it and the president that replaced Lee found little political motive for prosecuting her for actions during a war she won.
- See Also: More about the Invasion of 2338.
- ↑ Concerns about overlapping areas of responsibility were waved away by showing the organization of the Republican Fleet. Few, if any, duties overlapped between the Fleets and surely the Admirals could work out any strategies between themselves.
- ↑ While the practice went away officially, the Admiral of the Second Fleet is still considered to be the first among equals because of the force strength and budget consumed by this one division alone.
- ↑ By the time of her promotion, she was the sole Admiral of the Fleet, the other four having been killed during the initial invasion. Thus, she was the sole military leader of the entire Republican Fleet.