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"It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a heavily armed military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to punish accordingly any who engage in such acts. Look on our new military not as trespassers or interlopers, but as gatekeepers, here to shore up the Emperor's vision of a pacified and prosperous galaxy."
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, in his Tarkin Doctrine[1]

The Imperial Military, also referred to as the Imperial Armed Forces, comprised the various branches of the armed forces of the Galactic Empire, such as the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy and the Stormtrooper Corps, as well as agencies such as Imperial Intelligence aiding the Imperial Military.

As part of the realignment of the Republic Military following the Clone Wars and the transformation from Galactic Republic to the Empire, the nascent Imperial Military went under a massive militarization effort and was tasked with enforcement across the new Empire and was used for suppressing planetary uprisings, continuing the Great Jedi Purge and chasing holdouts of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

However, it would be faced with a growing rebellion which caused concern within the military, ultimately resulting in the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the Galactic Civil War. The Imperial stormtroopers and Star Destroyers were deployed and fought across the galaxy to retain control. Even after the loss of the Death Star over Yavin, the Empire was able to almost defeat the rebels during the Battle of Hoth. However, the Alliance endured and continued it effort. Six months later, the Imperial Military suffered a sudden and crushing defeat at the Battle of Endor.

After successive defeats by New Republic as well as the power vacuum left in the wake of the Emperor's death following Endor, the Imperial Military was disbanded with the collapse of the Empire on Jakku in accordance with the Galactic Concordance.

Following it demise, remnants of the Empire fled into the the Outer Rim Territories, where they awaited the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn and a reemergence of the military for a new Empire. While the First Order, designed from elements that fled into the Unknown Regions, and built an entirely new military force.



"Twenty years ago, the galaxy was at war. People lived in fear that fighting would come to their planet or that a terrorist attack would strike near their home. For Republic citizens, seeing white-armored troopers and warships overhead meant they were safe. Today, people who remember those dark days see the arrival of stormtroopers and Imperial Star Destroyers the same way."
―General Airen Cracken of the Rebel Alliance[17]

Following the end of the destructive three-year[18] galaxy-wide conflict known as the Clone Wars, then Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine ushered in the formation of the Galactic Empire, a dictatorship composed of the entirety of the former Galactic Republic and with himself as its head of state, the first Galactic Emperor.[15] With vast portions of the galaxy still unconquered and outside Imperial dominion,[1] Emperor Palpatine transformed the Grand Army of the Republic into the Imperial Military composed of both the Army and Navy of the prior government.[15]


Formed from the force that fought for the Republic, the early Imperial Military made use of clones and Republic equipment, yet it quickly began to bring in new recruits and equipment.

The new and expanded military force was created to reinforce the clone troopers of the former Republic Military, as the clones had a limited amount of time they could be in service[18] thanks to their accelerated aging, and to ensure Imperial rule. Embarking on a massive militarization effort in order to combat the remaining Separatist holdouts across the galaxy, as well as bring more worlds under Imperial control, the Imperial Military would serve as the primary means of Imperial enforcement and expansion from the Imperial Center.[1] Beginning Project War-Mantle in the first days of the Imperial Era, the Empire moved forward with replacing the clone troopers with an enlisted force due to the cheaper cost[19] and concerns that the clones would ultimately be more loyal to the Republic they were made for instead of the New Order,[20] with Moff Wilhuff Tarkin in specific concerned about the level of individuality the clones had learned from their Jedi officers.[21]

Galactic Civil War[]

"The mining firms are corrupt. They're tied up—ownership, boards of directors—with the shipwrights that have sold the Empire on one construction project after another. Oh, it's all being done in secret, but you can't keep everything secret. A billion Star Destroyers isn't enough. They're building Super Star Destroyers, and Super-Super Star Destroyers, and who knows what else!"
―Clone Wars veteran Skelly, referring to the thorilide triangle theory[22]

Conscripted and willingly recruited civilians filled the ranks of the Imperial Military as soldiers and pilots of the Galactic Empire.

In the nineteen years following the Empire's rise, a growing rebellion would cause concern within the higher echelons of the Empire, ultimately resulting in the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. For years, the opposing sides fought across the galaxy for control of sectors, systems and the loyalties of their respective populations, with major encounters on the Outer Rim worlds of Yavin 4, Hoth, and Endor. Despite crushing the Alliance on Hoth,[9] the Battle of Yavin[23] and Endor[24] would see the destruction of both Death Stars,[23][24] following which the Empire would enter into a state of disarray as former military leaders formed splinter fleets, while the New Republic slowly pushed Imperial forces back towards the Coruscant Core.[25]



The Imperial Military made a final stand at the Battle of Jakku, where the New Republic triumphed.

Following successive defeats at the hands of the New Republic, the scattered Imperial Military made their final stand over the Western Reaches world of Jakku. Suffering heavy casualties, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda[26] ultimately signed a peace treaty—the Galactic Concordance—with the New Republic, ending both the battle and the war.[27]

The Galactic Empire was to abandon its Imperial Academies, with the recruitment and mobilization of stormtrooper forces is forbidden and was placed with strict disarmament treaties and punishing reparations on the remnants of the Empire.[27] Large portions of the Empire were incorporated into the New Republic,[10] and the Empire itself formally dissolved as per treaty, having already mostly splintered into various remnants,[28] with the Empire having been replaced by the New Republic as its successor.[29]


With the Empire defeated, its military vehicles were dismantled for parts by the victorious New Republic.[30] Still, in a rejection of the ideals left behind by the Imperial Military, Chancellor Mon Mothma championed the Military Disarmament Act for the New Republic.[31] The Empire's various remnants made plays at returning to power with surviving equipment, with stormtroopers and TIE fighters seeing continued action in the Outer Rim.[32] One particular threat to the New Republic came with the Shadow Council, which assembled a grouping of seemingly disconnected Imperial remnants on the promise that Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo "Thrawn" would soon return and, with his leadership, the Imperial Military would be reborn.[33]


The First Order disregarded the Galactic Concordance, allowing a new generation of stormtroopers to rise.

Over the years, elements of the Imperial armed forces founded the First Order, which remained located in the far corners of the Unknown Regions[34] as it grew in power.[35] Briefly inhabiting a wing of New Republic politics known as the Centrists, the First Order eventually seceded from the Republic—a move that was welcomed by many—firmly committed towards reestablishing the former glory of the Galactic Empire.[27][10] The regime grew its ranks of new stormtroopers by kidnapping and indoctrinating children under Project Resurrection.[36] With the completion of Starkiller Base,[35] the First Order invaded the galaxy in the opening days of the First Order-Resistance War[37] but lacked the numbers of the Empire that came before it. Hope for the First Order came with the news of Palpatine's survival, which promised the regime a new, massive military force, but Palpatine's forces were destroyed in the Battle of Exegol. The First Order then collapsed under a galaxy-wide uprising.[38]


"The Emperor is going to winnow the populations of the galaxy until the only ones left are the ones he can control. And he and Vader and Tarkin are going to accomplish that with an army of steadfast recruits who might as well be clones for the little independent thinking they do, weapons that haven't been seen in more than a thousand years, and fear."
Berch Teller[1]

The Galactic Empire utilized its imposing military might in order to secure dominion over the galaxy.

The Imperial Military consisted of two main branches: the Imperial Navy and Imperial Army, along with seven smaller branches: the Imperial Department of Military Research, Diplomatic Corps, Engineering Corps, Survey and Exploration Corps, Surgical Corps, Military Police, and Imperial Intelligence.[5] The affairs of the Army and the Navy were overseen by the Joint Chiefs of the Imperial Military, the various commanders of the two branches, while the Stormtrooper Corps operated under the oversight of the Army.[1] However, supreme command was given to the Galactic Emperor,[39] whose authority was discharged to the acting Commander-in-Chief,[2] his apprentice and the so-called Emperor's Fist Darth Vader, referred to as 1 and 2 respectively.[39] However, the responsibilities of the military were not among the attributes of the Emperor's Fist and instead there existed a proper military-ranking Supreme Commander as the next-in-line martial authority.[4] A Minister of War was also a position in Imperial hierarchy.[40] Imperial High Command, which was structured beneath the Joint Chiefs' cabinet, was the central command division for the disparate armed forces and agencies.[28][41]

The Imperial Department of Military Research helped the Imperial Military by upgrading and developing new weapons and technology, while former companies friendly to the Republic helped manufacture the newer Imperial vessels entering production, with some of the largest being Sienar Fleet Systems and Kuat Drive Yards. Organizations such as the Naval Intelligence Agency, Imperial Intelligence, and Imperial Security Bureau often worked in conjunction with the Imperial Military, with the ISB installing an internal affairs officer aboard all Imperial-class Star Destroyers and utilizing informants to discover the location of the Alliance Fleet during the Galactic Civil War.[28][41]


As the de facto Commander-in-Chief, Darth Vader was the unofficial head of the Imperial Military.

Enlistment was open to human individuals, who were trained at the numerous Imperial Academy complexes across the galaxy, with many members becoming enlisted personnel, officers or stormtroopers.[42] The Empire had billions of soldiers during its height, the largest military force the galaxy had ever seen. Since the Empire favored humans and looked down on aliens, it was rare to find non-humans serving in the Imperial Military.[43][44] Embodying the spirit of the Tarkin Doctrine, the armed forces relied on the sheer threat of force to keep neighboring systems in line. Fear and intimidation were essential for all Imperial Military operations, exemplified by the sheer size of Star Destroyers, which acted as both a physical and psychological deterrent from assaulting it—and the Empire.[1] Additionally, the Empire frequently disregarded[45] the rules of war[46] laid out in the Galactic Accord of Systems.[45]


Non-canon appearances[]


Non-canon sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Tarkin
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bust-Collection-Logo Star Wars Bust Collection 30 (Star Wars Universe: The Emperor's Inner Circle)
  3. StarWars-DatabankII General Tagge in the Databank (backup link) and Darth Vader (2015) 2 establishes that Cassio Tagge was given the rank of Grand General and placed in charge of the Imperial Military. Since the individual in command of the Imperial Military is the Supreme Commander per Dawn of Rebellion, it can be deduced that Grand General Tagge was the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Military.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Dawn of Rebellion
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Star Wars: Dawn of Rebellion: The Visual Guide
  6. Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks
  7. Rebel Journal by Ezra Bridger
  8. Star Wars: Galactic Defense
  9. 9.0 9.1 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
  11. Starships and Speeders
  12. Star Wars (2015) 17
  13. Unwelcome Arrival
  14. Star Wars: Commander
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  17. Star Wars: Rogue One: Rebel Dossier
  18. 18.0 18.1 Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
  19. TBBtemplate Star Wars: The Bad Batch — "Aftermath"
  20. TBBtemplate Star Wars: The Bad Batch — "War-Mantle"
  21. TBBtemplate Star Wars: The Bad Batch — "The Summit"
  22. A New Dawn
  23. 23.0 23.1 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  24. 24.0 24.1 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  25. Aftermath
  26. Aftermath: Empire's End
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Lost Stars
  29. AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Three: Time to Fly"
  30. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 19: The Convert"
  31. Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
  32. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 21: The Pirate"
  33. The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 23: The Spies"
  34. Before the Awakening
  35. 35.0 35.1 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  36. Star Wars Battlefront II
  37. Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
  38. Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  39. 39.0 39.1 Lords of the Sith
  40. Thrawn
  41. 41.0 41.1 Heir to the Jedi
  42. Ultimate Star Wars
  43. Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
  44. Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles
  45. 45.0 45.1 Aftermath: Life Debt
  46. Star Wars: Timelines