Our first choice with creating armed forces is to decide whether it’s a smaller, specialized group like the U.S. Marines or a larger force, and what kind it is: army, navy, or air/space force. This will determine where they typically operate, which will impact every subsequent decision. We should then envision what role we see them playing, particularly in a large conflict such as the world wars that are so common in speculative fiction. If our story only needs a high-level depiction of them in action, we can skimp on many details of invention, but if our characters (even minor ones) are current/former/future members of this force and are impacted by this, we’ll need more. Decide on the scope you need. Most other aspects of their invention can be done in any order.
At a minimum, we must invent their symbols, colors, and any slogans. If they wear or utilize specific armor or weapons, we’ll be showing this and must decide on it. Envision their place in society as this will inform what and how they do things and how those actions are viewed by other characters; this includes working out relationships with others, at least at a high-level. We can skip a complete history if we don’t need it, but an historical figure or two is recommended. Another area we can skip is how such individuals become one or creating ranks that differ in any meaningful way from the standard ones listed in this chapter.