- "No single planet could withstand the might of the Imperial war machine."
- ―Eldon Ax
The Imperial Military was the martial force of the reconstituted Sith Empire established in the galaxy's Unknown Regions following the Great Hyperspace War. The military was under the direct command of the Sith Emperor, but was overseen by the Minister of War. The Imperial Military invaded the Galactic Republic during the Great Galactic War and was ultimately victorious in the conflict.
An example of officers in the Imperial Army and Navy were Grand Moffs Zellos and Rycus Kilran, respectively. The founding father of the military was considered to be Grand Moff Odile Vaiken, who was honored hundreds of years after his death. He drafted every non-Force-sensitive adult into the military and made them go through an intense training regimen, while at the same time building up a fleet of vessels.
- "I fight because that is what I was made to do and the Empire is the instrument through which I realize my purpose. The Empire is war made manifest. That is why it is perfect."
- ―Darth Malgus to Eleena Daru
The Imperial Military was the backbone of Imperial society and the Empire itself, as Imperial culture and society had been highly militarized since the Empire's early years on Dromund Kaas. Odile Vaiken's training regimen, which saw use by the Empire for centuries after Vaiken's death, led to the drafting of every able-bodied adult into military service. This remained a mainstay of the military in the centuries after his death: every non-Force-sensitive in the Empire was automatically conscripted into the military upon reaching adulthood, and they remained in service until retirement or disability. While advancement and promotion helped skilled military officers establish powerful families with histories of military service, the children of those families were expected to earn their own place in the military and received no special treatment on account of their lineage.
Above the ranks of generals and admirals in the Army and Navy, there existed the rank of Moffs and Imperial High Command, which answered directly to the Ministry of War. The individual who holds the rank of Grand Moff, which was established for Odile Vaiken, answers directly to the Minister of War and possesses special privileges, often developing close ties to the Dark Council. Moffs were allowed greater variety in their uniform colors, as they typically tailored their uniforms to reflect past service and their current command. Imperial officers also utilized code cylinders, which allowed them access to secure areas and intelligence resources.
The Imperial Army was the ground forces of the Sith Empire, and the soldiers of the Empire typically wore black armor and carried blaster rifles into combat. Ground forces begin live-fire exercises in the jungles of Dromund Kaas within weeks of their enlistment into the military, and even those non-combatants in the military were trained in the use of basic weapons, survival skills, and first aid. The Army also made use of Imperial crawler tanks, Imperial walkers, and a number of models of war droids. Imperial heavy troopers were issued full-body black armor crafted from duraplast, with colored markings signifying their unit or special assignments. Their leg armor was specially designed to preserve mobility and to protect from shrapnel, and while their belt housed extra ammunition and grenades for easy access, the armor's bracers housed environmental and targeting controls, and the readouts on the suit's chest provided medical diagnostics for treating soldiers who were wounded in their armor. Heavy infantry soldiers typically wore about a hundred pounds of armor, and most soldiers carried rifles, sidearms, grenades, and five days of rations. The typical service period for an Imperial soldier was twenty-five to thirty years.
Imperial Army rank structure was as follows: Private, Specialist, Corporal, Sergeant, Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, and finally General. A fire team typically consisted of two or three soldiers, while a squad ranged from five to ten, and a platoon from fifty to a hundred soldiers. Companies could range from a hundred to three hundred troopers, and a battalion, which was typically commanded by a major, consisted of 700-1,500. Colonels commanded brigades, which ranged from 5,000-7,500 soldiers, and the largest standard unit was a division, which ranged from 20,000-40,000 soldiers.A larger unit designated an "Assault Group" or "Operations Group" could be formed from over 40,000 soldiers, which were placed under the command of a Moff or high-ranking Sith Lord for specific assignments and then broken up after the completion of the mission.
The Imperial Navy was the naval branch of the Imperial Military, and was overseen by the Ministry of War alongside the Army. Imperial Navy ranks adhered to the following structure: Private, Specialist, Corporal, Petty Officer, Ensign, Lieutenant, Commander, Captain, Group Captain, Commodore, and Admiral. The primary vessel of the Navy was the Harrower-class dreadnought, a massive dreadnaught produced by Taerab Starship Manufacturing and measuring approximately 800 meters in length, that required a crew of 2,400 and carried a troop complement of 7,300. The Harrower-class was supported by the smaller Terminus-class destroyer, which was operated by 520 crewman and carried only 285 troops, and the even smaller Gage-class transport. The two main shuttles used by the Sith Empire were the Imperial shuttle and the Imperial assault shuttle. The Navy deployed a number of starfighters—the Mark VI Supremacy-class starfighter and its numerous advanced models were the standard starfighter of the Navy, and they made use of B28 Extinction-class bombers as well as a variety of transports, assault craft, shuttles, and cruisers.
Following the defeat of the original Sith Empire of Naga Sadow, and the Sith exodus, the remnants of the Empire made their way to Dromund Kaas. There, the Emperor and his Dark Council let Grand Moff Odile Vaiken form the new Imperial military, by drafting every non-Force-sensitive adult and having them go through an intense training regimen. At the same time, he began work on the Navy, building ships but knowing it would be complete long after his death. Eventually, the Army undertook its first operation, the Dromund Kaas wilderness campaign, in which they cleared out territory for the Empire's new capitol. Aferwards, the Navy took part in its first operation, which became Odile Vaiken's final campaign, against an alien civilization. The outcome of the campaign was unknown, but Vaiken was killed during it.
After three centuries of preparation, during which Imperial Intelligence spies infiltrated the Galactic Republic, the Empire attacked several Outer Rim Territories systems. Some were already controlled by puppet governments of the Empire and allowed Sith fleets to use their systems as staging grounds. After the Republic Senate heard of the attacks, they sent a lightly escorted diplomatic envoy to a Navy fleet. They waited until the envoy sent the Senate back feeds of their fleet, before destroying them. It became known as the Skirmish in the Tingel Arm, which started the Great Galactic War.
The military was on the frontlines throughout the Great Galactic War. It had mass numbers, as demonstrated in the second assault on Bothawui. However, some of their greatest failures were at Bothawui. A small fleet was dispatched there to take it over, though the Republic defenders were underestimated. The first attack was a failure, and though in the second they came closer to victory, the Empire was ultimately defeated there. In the second battle, they used numbers rather than good tactics, which led to the defeat. Heavy casualties were sustained by the Army at the hands of a few Republic soldiers and one Jedi. The forces there were led by Grand Moff Zellos.
Other operations throughout the war included the Minos Cluster Campaign, the Third battle of the Seswenna sector and the Tingel Arm campaign. The final battle of the war included the Sith emerging victorious in taking Coruscant, during the Sacking of Coruscant. The Jedi Temple was successfully raided by a task force of Sith Warriors as Army troops secured the rest of Galactic City. The war ended with the Treaty of Coruscant, marking the beginning of the Cold War. During that conflict, the Imperial and Republic militaries did not engage each other directly but fought numerous proxy wars. Afterwards, though, the peace was broken and open warfare broke out in the Galactic War.
Following the attempted coup led by Malgus during the Battle of Ilum in 3641 BBY, the Empire began inducting aliens into the ranks of the Imperial forces as a measure to ensure their loyalty (an inclusive measure had already been instituted by the Sith, allowing aliens and Force-sensitive slaves to be trained on Korriban), despite the objections of the humanocentrist elements of the military, including Grand Moff Ilyan Regus.
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia