Hello people! This time I'm gonna talk about the issue of NCR being "overly expanding", why it's becoming unsustainable and the solution to it. I'm myself is a logistics engineer and I'm very interested in historical evaluation of various civilizations (though I'm not a professional historian), and here's my solution.
In one short line: Expand via shoreline, NOT deeper into the continent.
Now to details. What's the main reason behind "overstretching" the supply lines? Basically, the distance – and inability to move huge number of supplies farther East. As Chief Hanlon said, "We're stretched thin and the Long 15 just keeps getting longer. Slow to get supplies. Slower to get reinforcements". Why is that? Because appereantly, even though Old America's cars were all powered by nuclear reactors, NCR is not prone to get them up and running again. Instead. it's brahmin caravans and soldiers marching on foot – most likely it has something to do with "brahmin barrons" that are supposedly lobbying any progress in recreating automobile industry and to a lesser extent the railways (we do know NCR uses trains, albeit in-game it's never shown).
At first, I thought this was a bit of an exgerragation: civilizations of the past covered much greater distances with even less technlogival advances, and NCR has radios so their communication is still near-instant, unlike, say, Roman or Akhmenid Empires. But then I've realized the greatese difference:
Ancient Empires could have relied on horses for travelling and military supply movement, while the Fallout factions only have brahmins that while seemingly carrying much more then any horse can, are moving ridiculously slow and could not gallop (hell even bighorners are seemingly better for transportation in that regard), and unlike horses and bighorners, could not cross difficult terrain, like mountains or riverbeds.
Add to that another difficulties like radioactive terrain, raiders and monsters along most roads which requires strong military presense to deal with, and it becomes clear that logistics in this world is really screwed up. It's not surprising that to boost numbers of troops just to patrol all that area NCR had to downgrade their equipment significally, from Combat armor worn by basic soldiers to field fatigues barely resembling WWII stuff, with only Patrol Rangers still issued the Armor. It indicates that while NCR population grows fast, it industry does not catch up.
"In the best of all possbile worlds", the long-term solution is, well, somehow overthrowing the brahmin-baron lobby, starting to industrialize the country heavily, and revitalize the car industry, probably making the new vehicles more suitable to roll in the wastes. But of course it would require massive change an effort…
And most notably, some time.
Time, that Republic doesn't have.
The real and very possible course of action, a real way for NCR to survive, might be to start a naval expantion. You see, transporting goods via ships is tremendously cheaper then by land – and in this case, faster, too. Not only the shoreside ships would be moving somewhat quicker then brahmin caravans even if they'll be like XIX century combined steam/coal and wind sails vessels, it will carry (literally) several thousand times more cargo then such caravans. And in no way it would undermine the business of the said livestock oligarchs – people would still need brahmin to transport on land, probably even more then before since if the expansion would be successful, the trade would skyrocket in shoreline settlements which are far easier to protect and don't require huge massives of troops to patrol.
From what we can see, NCR is more then capable to produce a fleet of XIX century like ships, probably even more advanced – and this would be a real prospect to expand north and south.
Not only it will solve the logistical problems of speed, cargo inefficiency of brahmin convoys, irradiated terrain and the need to patrol incredibly long distances with a number of troops, it will also extend the reach of NCR far beyond of what can be achieved due to land conquest.
There are a number of historical examples to back that up, from Ancient to Colonial times.
…Of course, great naval expansion would lead to large development of piracy. It would be much easier to rob the ships in Fallout then in real life XVI centure, since a single small boat armed with Fat Man could easily extort a large vessel with hundreds of soldiers. This would require NCR to create hunter-squads of small, fast naval craft for long-range interception, and elite marine units to combat pirate fortressess etc. Since the Republic already excell in long-range combat (and this woulkd be crucial in a way for not letting pirates near ships), I don't see this as a big problem. Creating small fast craft and training highly specialized marine teams would be way cheaper then field large-scale continental army equipped for patrolling enormous areas and WWII-styled frontline combat. I can see some Ranger units might become a "core" for the NCR Marines, since they had a lot of expirience in fighting alongside and in Colorado river itself, sometimes reffered to cross it "on foot" (!).
So that is my idea how to "save" the NCR and allow it to continue the expansive growth with far better logistics, less spendings and better resource allocation; I don't think much should be changed in it's political and economic system apart from removing the lobbies (though that might push the Republic somewhat towards the Left, with economic regulation and such) and starting to industrialize it's "core" States. Also, imagine the possibilities for a Fallout game, centered around the naval expansion and "colonial" settlements!
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