Tarkin Doctrine

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Tarkin UM

The Death Star epitomized the Tarkin Doctrine.

"Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin[src]

The Tarkin Doctrine, also known as the Doctrine of Fear and officially known as Imperial Communiqué #001044.92v, was a message originally sent directly to Emperor Palpatine from then Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. The transmission detailed methods for maintaining order and increasing security within the Galactic Empire. It became one of the most important documents regarding Imperial policy.


TarkinDoctrine swptp

Tarkin, discussing his doctrine.

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
Princess Leia[src]

The Tarkin Doctrine suggested the creation of Oversectors to more properly handle Rebel threats in a group of systems, the use of the HoloNet to coordinate Sector Groups, and the concept of rule through fear of force, rather than force itself, with a weapon of unimaginable power as the symbol of this fear. However, neither Tarkin nor the Empire were hesitant to use force. Its main purpose was fear, though destroying planets was also well within its capability.

Emperor Palpatine was very impressed with the ideas, so much that all the suggestions were implemented with Tarkin promoted to the new rank of Grand Moff (making him the first of the Grand Moffs) and placed in charge of Oversector Outer, which was most of the Outer Rim Territories. In addition, he was given command of four Sector Groups. However, Palpatine increasingly changed Tarkin's original words to his own meaning, "Rule through fear instead of through idealistic government agencies".

The Empire was unsuccessful in instilling the fear necessary to keep the systems in line. Even the Death Star produced the exact opposite results it was intended for—instead of cowering under the threat of such a weapon, the people viewed its victims (particularly the unarmed planet Alderaan) as martyrs and rallied to the Rebellion's cause.

Full textEdit

Source:  Imperial SourcebookAttribution:  Wilhuff Tarkin

To: His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Palpatine
From: Governor Tarkin, Seswenna sector, Eriadu
Regarding: Increasing the security of the Empire

Your Majesty:
It has recently come to my attention that what had previously been the quiet grumbling of malcontents on backwater worlds has become dissidence in more civilized systems. Your Majesty will forgive me if I am repeating foundless rumors, but I have heard there is even armed defiance in some sectors.

Coupled with increased resistance to your plans from hot-headed young Senators, this situation has given me pause to think about our long term security arrangements. I myself have been frustrated chasing pirate bands in my sector, only to have them leap deep into a neighboring sector where my forces cannot follow without running into conflict with another Moff. If the scattered armed resistance should become organized, it will doubtless follow the example of its criminal brethen. Granting any rebel group the advantage of elusiveness is foolhardy at best. At worst, it could lead to our destruction.

Even the excellent pace with which His Majesty is increasing the size of the Imperial Fleet can scarcely hope to provide all-encompassing security should a significant number of planets decide to defy your New Order. We are years—perhaps decades—away from a force vast enough to secure every system and every world simultaneously.

Therefore, I present the following recommendations for your consideration:

  • To provide a swift, systematic response to rebellion as it appears and before it has time to entrench, I suggest the formation of Oversectors—sectors consisting of systems in which rebellion is newly born, or systems which maintain frequent contact with systems in chronic unrest. These Oversectors would be formed without regard to current sector boundaries. With the freedom to cross outdated political borders, Oversector forces would be able to respond to threats quickly, while they are still small and manageable.
    Liquidating a dozen small threats is easier than rooting out one well-established center of defiance. As an Oversector is created only across problem sectors, they must be given a greater quantity of forces than a normal sector. Three Sector Groups should suffice.
  • Command of an Oversector should be given to a single individual who reports directly to His Majesty. This will bypass any delays caused by political opportunnism in your advisors.
  • Cannibalize existing holonet transceivers, modify them, and put them in the flagship of every Sector Group in an Oversector command. Place similar facilities within His Majesty's command ship and within the Royal Palaces of Imperial City. This will enable forces to respond to threats almost as quickly as they are reported. Imperial forces will be able to coordinate to a degree impossible among an enemy whose fastest means of communication is an ever changing rendezvous point somewhere in the galaxy.
  • Rule through the fear of force rather than through force itself. If we use our strength wisely, we shall cow thousands of worlds with the example of a select few. These examples would need to be highly visible worlds, whose punishment would be further revealed through our control of information via the hyper media.
  • Your Majesty, it has long been my contention that your New Order needs one undeniable and overwhelming symbol to impress and, yes, frighten the masses. The average citizen has no grasp of numbers nor a head for calculation. I maintain that the effectiveness of the Star Destroyer stems from not only its massive firepower, but from its size. When citizens look at a Star Destroyer and then compare it to the craft which might be mustered to attack it, they have a tendency to dismiss such a notion as suicidal rather than approach the problem tactically.
    This natural state can be exploited to a far greater degree, as the average citizen deals in symbols, not rational analysis. If we present the galaxy with a weapon so powerful, so immense as to defy all conceivable opposition against it, a weapon invulnerable and invincible in battle, then that weapon shall become the symbol of the Empire. We need only a handful, perhaps as few as one, of these weapons to subjugate a thousand worlds. It must have force enough to dispatch an entire system, power enough to shatter planets. The fear such a weapon will inspire will be great enough for you to rule the galaxy unchallenged. What do you need with the Senate when you can give direct control of territories to your hand-picked regional governors? Sweep away the last remnants of the Old Republic and let fear keep the local systems in line—fear of our ultimate weapon.

I am ready to begin work to implement these steps at your word.

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