- "We should stay with Planetary Security Forces that have worked for centuries."
- ―Garm Bel Iblis
The Planetary Security Forces association began around 15,000 BBY and during most of the Galactic Republic's years, the PSFs served as little more than an auxiliary to the Republic Navy. This changed with the Ruusan Reformation in 1000 BBY which saw the Republic Military disbanded and its remaining elements reorganized into the Judicial Forces who were charged with rapid crisis reaction and frontier patrol. The PSFs became primarily responsible for maintaining peace and security though they were also hampered by strict regulations on the size and armaments of their fleets. However the Republic allowed great flexibility in the management of the PSFs causing a wide variety of ranks, traditions, and in some cases, blatant corruption and incompetence.
Beginning in 22 BBY, the Clone Wars saw many PSFs come under a limited, nationalized control while many joined the reestablished Republic Navy. The formation of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY sealed this whereupon the PSFs became fully nationalized and placed under direct control of the Empire and the Moffs. The best of the PSFs became a part of the Imperial Navy while still others were used as a pool of resources for the various Moff's Sector Groups. The formation of the New Republic government, saw Chief of State Mon Mothma issue the Defense Declarations which would denationalize the PSFs and give control of them back to the sector and planetary governments. This caused many local governments to swing their support from the Empire to the New Republic.
The PSFs would become a point of contention under the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances when the Galactic Alliance Senate passed the Sector Defense Limits in 37 ABY. This in effect limited the sizes of the PSFs and required an increase of military personnel and resources for the Galactic Alliance Defense Force, as provided by local governments. It became a major issue that escalated into the Second Galactic Civil War. After this, the Galactic Alliance allowed planetary and sector governments to keep their increased local PSFs yet still required the pre-war numbers in military resources.
The Ruusan Reformations
The Planetary Security Forces, as an organization of affiliations, were formed around 15,000 BBY when they became auxiliaries of the Republic Navy. They were responsible for the military defense of their planetary or sector governments and in many cases also performing police functions. Some had been formed prior to this, such as the Coruscant Security Force, which had been in place since the earliest days of the Galactic Republic. With the Ruusan Reformation in 1000 BBY, the Republic Military was disbanded and reorganized into the Judicial Forces. They were designed to be crisis intervention and rapid reaction forces as well as patrolling the frontiers of the Republic. This left the PSFs to keep to the peace.
Along with the demilitarization of the Republic, new regulations were placed on the PSFs specifically in regards to fleet sizes and armaments. The regulations were closely enforced by Judicial Inspectors from the Republic's Judicial Department. However, many wealthy or industrialized worlds were able to find loopholes to increase their forces and to have larger capital ships at their disposal. The Outer Rim Territories by contrast had to rely on older and smaller ships leaving them more vulnerable to attacks by pirates and slavers.
The end of the Republic
Despite the limitations, the Galactic Senate allowed the local governments to run their PSFs as they chose. This resulted in a mix of ranks, regulations, and traditions as well as an equal mixture of success and failure in their duties. Those senators from worlds with a strong military tradition ensured that their forces were well funded and supported. This allowed those forces to become renowned such as the Garde d'Azure, the Lantillian Planetary Security Forces, the Greater Plooriod Wardens, the Iseno Rangers, and the Hertae Home Brigade. Other senators, however, saw the PSFs as source of income and as political favors filled their officer corps with persons who had little to no experience as military commanders. This system also produced the Generationals, persons whose positions in the PSFs were handed down from one generation to another.
Though the galaxy remained peaceful overall, the weakening of centralized power and political corruption decreased the funding and capabilities of the Judicial Forces. After the Mandalorian Excision, the leaders of the various PSFs met at the Corsin Retreat in 738 BBY to discuss how to better coordinate their activities. The result was the formation of the College of Planetary Security Forces, a resurrection of the Republic Naval College, on the planet Anaxes. The College became a source of pride with a strong military tradition whereas the Judicial Academy on Coruscant was seen as a third rate institution.
In the final years of the Republic, groups such as the Militarists, the Reformists, and the Loyalists, demanded the restoration of the Republic military. With the eruption of the Clone Wars between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the traditions of the PSFs and the training from the PSF College on Anaxes became the base model for the reestablished Republic Military. The best of the PSFs along with the entire Judicial Forces became a part of the Republic Navy. The PSFs themselves were left in place though they were nationalized and put under direct Republic control.
Under the New Order
Upon the Declaration of a New Order, the Republic was reorganized as the Galactic Empire. The PSFs were further amalgamated into the Imperial Military though they retained some of their independent identity. With the Sector Governance Decree, the Empire established the Moffs who were placed in control of sectors and made many of the local defense forces as well as the local garrisoned Imperial forces under their supervision. During the early days of this new system, some Moffs formed their own militias, preferring not to rely on the Imperial Navy. However, this devolved too much control from the Emperor and so to counter this, the Imperial government formed Sector Groups, many drawn from the PSFs, who were placed under the control of the Moffs yet still a part of the overall military command.
After the Empire took direct control of the PSFs, a wave of their former uniforms and equipment from the days of the Republic, including DH-17 blaster pistols and A280 blaster rifles, ended up becoming available and flooding the black market, which eventually found its way into the hands of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Because of this, Empire rarely saw fit to mention the irony that their actions had essentially equipped many in the Rebel Alliance military. As the Galactic Civil War swung in favor of the Rebels and the establishment of the New Republic, Chief of State Mon Mothma signed the Defense Declarations. It denationalized control of the Planetary Security Forces back into the hands of the sector governments. Members of the New Republic would also be expected to support the New Republic Defense Force but could also now control their own planetary defense forces and at greater strength than under the Empire or the Republic. This decision caused many sectors who had been on the edge, to side with the New Republic.
The New Republic and the Galactic Alliance
Denationalizing the PSFs brought with it problems as well for the New Republic government. As they were no longer subservient to the galactic government, local defense forces were used many times to further the goals of the local governments, rather than galactic peace. This became especially evident during the Caamas Document Crisis when various defense forces, under the direction of their governments, initiated maneuvers to force long simmering disputes to flare up. This escalated to the point of all-out civil war which was only averted, almost too late, by New Republic intervention. However, the Yuuzhan Vong War would a few years later ravage the galaxy and it displayed the weaknesses of the decentralized defense forces. During the war, the New Republic was reorganized as the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances and was eventually able to defeat the Yuuzhan Vong.
The Galactic Alliance Defense Force was able to get through the Swarm War though found its self ill prepared for a full war. In response to this, the Galactic Alliance Senate passed the Sector Defense Limits in 37 ABY. In a similar move as had the Republic during the Ruusan Reformations, the Galactic Alliance limited the sizes of the PSFs though it also increased the taxes and military resource requirements of member worlds. This brought them in conflict with several worlds who had been increasing their sector forces citing pirate threats or conflicts with neighbors. The issue soon erupted into the Second Galactic Civil War from which the Galactic Alliance emerged victorious. However, in the ensuing years a compromise emerged with the Alliance allowing the PSFs to maintain their own forces yet also increasing the centralized military.
The Planetary Security Forces' decentralized nature led to diversity in ranks, equipment and practices, but by the final decades of the Republic, wealthier PSFs across the Core, Colonies and Inner Rim had adopted a fairly standardized uniform and armament. These PSFs, including that of Alderaan, wore a uniform consisting of blue shirts, black combat vests, gray trousers, black calf length boots, and a broad, swept back helmet. Weaponry consisted of A280 blaster rifles and DH-17 sidearms.
After the PSFs were nationalized by the Galactic Empire, much of this equipment was declared obsolete and replaced. Many of the uniforms and weapons that suddenly flooded the black market went on to equip the Rebellion.
Behind the scenes
The Planetary Security Forces involvement in arming the Rebel Alliance, and the Empire ironically aiding them after it took the PSFs over, was established in The Essential Guide to Warfare as a minor retcon relating to Rebel troopers' uniforms being one and the same as Alderaanian uniforms. Jason Fry, in his endnotes for the book, explained that he made the retcon because he felt specifically labeling these uniforms as Alderaanian armor was making the Star Wars galaxy much smaller than it should be, and justified it in-universe with the explanation that it would have been a political disaster had Alderaan been discovered in arming the Rebel Alliance, and chose to establish the uniform as one common to wealthier Planetary Security Forces.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (First appearance)
- (Mentioned only)
- "Speaking Silently"—Star Wars Insider 139
- Specter of the Past (as various planetary "defense forces")
- Specter of the Past unabridged audiobook (as various planetary "defense forces")
- Vision of the Future (as various planetary "defense forces")
- Vision of the Future unabridged audiobook (as various planetary "defense forces")
- Rebellion Era Sourcebook (First mentioned)
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- Ultimate Adversaries
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Incredible Vehicles
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook