Why was the New Republic fleet decommissioned?

(L-R): Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and R5-D4 in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and R5-D4 in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Chapter 19 of The Mandalorian finally gives audiences an extended look at the state of the New Republic (NR), one of the only major faction’s not explored in live-action. It shows that while they’ve made some huge strides away from the Empire, such as not killing the enemy officers, but instead trying to reintegrate them, they have a long way to go.

One aspect that gets mentioned in a quick manner is the fact they’re decommissioning their fleet, something that’s already been mentioned in other material. But why they’re doing this isn’t so clear, and it’s something worth going through.

There are two broad reasons for this, both from a military perspective and a political perspective.

Taking the military perspective first, audiences should remember how the Rebellion fleet was built. It was a cobbled together force made out of whatever the rebellion could get their hands on, which meant that many different ships from different contributors would have made it up. It would lack any sense of standardisation.

While not a problem for a rebellion – they had to make do with what they could find – it’s just something a government couldn’t have. It’s a logistical nightmare, making different ship parts and ammo types, making training versatile crews impossible, causing vulnerability and limiting production capacity. For example, a Mon Calamari MC80 could only be made on Mon Cala, meaning that if the shipyards went down no more could be made, but an Imperial Star Destroyer could be made at Kuat or Corellia avoiding this vulnerability.

Logistics are an often overlooked part of any military, but get them wrong and everything else goes down with it. A government looking to keep power should be seeking to standardise their fleet as quickly as possible, to make logistics as easy as possible, just like the NR is doing. And the first step is to get rid of the old fleet.

The political reason is more specific to the situation that the NR finds themselves in. After the reign of the Empire, very few planets would find the idea of a central government wielding a massive fleet particularly appealing. Even if the NR wanted to keep a huge fleet, it would be difficult to do so without alienating many systems. As a sign that the NR is different from the Empire, they’d be forced to get rid of their ships.

It doesn’t mean the galaxy was left totally defenceless however. The NR still maintained a small fleet, and it lasted until the time of the First Order. But it’s possible to understand the two reasons forcing the NR’s hand.

Although a decision the NR were pushed into making, it’s still something that will come back to haunt them.  Audiences know that Thrawn is about to make his debut appearance in live-action, and the NR will need every ship they can get hold of to beat him. This is likely something that will contribute to the NR’s downfall by the time of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.