- "The Empire will always strike back!"
- — Gilad Pellaeon
The Imperial Military represents the armed forces of the Galactic Empire, and is the successor to the Republic Military. It is responsible for carrying out military operations throughout Imperial territory as well as maintaining order on Imperial member worlds, governorships, colonies, and protectorates. Its soldiers follow the Imperial Military Code. The military itself is under the direct control of Imperial High Command.
The Imperial Military is not only a physical superpower, but a mental one as well. Many features of the military exemplify the Imperial policy that pure fear of the Empire's might is often more effective than might itself. Much of the equipment used by the Empire is designed to enhance this effect, the fear-inspiring appearance of the AT-AT being one example of this phenomena.
At its height, the Imperial Military was considered a massive organization, with tens of trillions of regular army soldiers, trillions of fleet crew, and a sizable force of stormtroopers. Even at its currently reduced territory and power, only the Combined Defense Forces of the New Republic can hope to stand on even ground with it.
There are numerous branches in the Imperial Military, each for a different purpose. The Army and Stormtrooper corps were used for ground missions. The Imperial Navy is responsible for space operations, the protection of space lanes, and the transportation of all Army troops (though it had little influence over their activities). The Imperial Department of Military Research (IDMR) is responsible for creating new, advanced technologies for use by the Imperial Military ranks.
Even though they work together, each branch has a separate command structure, and there is very little interference between the branches. For instance, Stormtroopers are often stationed aboard the vessels of the Imperial Navy and offered support to the Imperial Army, but remain under a different administrative command structure. The Imperial Military also has ties to the Imperial Security Bureau and Imperial Intelligence, though they aren't actual branches.
The main branches of the Imperial Military are:
- "...So don't just dream about applying for the Academy, make it come true! You can find a career in space: Exploration, Starfleet, or Merchant Service. If you have the right stuff to take on the universe, dispatch your application and join the ranks of the proud!"
- — Advertisement from an Imperial Space Academy Recruitment tape
The Empire has several academies for enlistment into the Imperial Military which are usually divided into Sector Naval Academies for the Imperial Navy and Imperial Army Officer Training Academies for the Imperial Army. Although many of the more prestigious academies, such as the Raithal Academy, can train in both fields, many of the smaller branch academies stick to one discipline.
- Anaxes Naval College
- Coruscant Naval Academy
- Coruscanti Pilot Institute
Imperial Army Officer Training Academies
- Academy of Carida
- Corulag Imperial Military Academy
- Raithal Academy
- "The Empire is the only chance the galaxy has to regain order. The Death Stars were the ultimate expression of that order. No longer would the Empire's citizens be forced to live in fear of cowardly terrorists striking from their hidden lairs. No longer would lawlessness and chaos touch the lives of law-abiding innocents. Palpatine took a stand: Disrupt order and the Empire would restore it…by any means necessary."
- — Imperial High Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne
The Imperial Military formed as a realignment of the Republic Military. Originally formed when then Chancellor Palpatine was authorized to create a Galactic Military under his Emergency Powers, the Grand Army of the Republic was formed by clones from facilities on Kamino. These clones were created from the DNA of Jango Fett under orders from Jedi Master Sifo Dyas.
Following the Clone Wars and the transformation from Republic to Empire, the clones were given new armor and weapons, and went from fighting droids to suppressing planetary uprisings on planets such as Naboo. Palpatine used the lack of a surrender from the Separatist leaders to continue to build up his army and navy, although he was aware that they were all dead. After the Kamino Uprising, Palpatine decided that having an entire army based on a single template was too dangerous, and began to diversify. One company, however, the 501st Legion, remained pure. According to the New Order's ideology of human supremacy, the stormtroopers remained on the whole, human.
After facing a droid uprising on Mustafar led by Gizor Dellso, the biggest threat to the Imperial Military was the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The two sides fought for years, in a conflict spanning the entire galaxy. The three biggest battles were at Yavin, Hoth, and Endor. Even though the Empire was victorious at Hoth, dealing a grievous blow to the Rebels, the Battles of Yavin and Endor resulted in major Alliance victories. In fact, Endor would see the end of the Empire's founder and his right hand man (Vader), sending the Imperial Military into chaos.
Following defeat at the hands of the New Republic, the Imperial Military split to follow multiple leaders, depending on their location and direct command. Although this infighting among the factions threatened to tear the Empire apart, the military itself remained strong despite some fluctuations since most sides fielded impressive armies. Stability would finally be returned when Damascus declared himself emperor and united the Empire once more.
The military took some heavy losses following Damascus’ death at the Battle of Corellia and resulting Xen’Chi War. Under the regency of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Empire remained united and eventually proved to be instrumental in finally defeating the invaders. Under Thrawn’s command, the military was given heavy preference, and it became standing policy to quickly rebuild it back to its former strength once more.