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When should you build defensive armies in Stellaris? And how should you work out how many to build? At the moment (2260) I have no defensive armies anywhere.

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    This would depend upon what civilization you're playing as, which ones you're playing against, the decisions you've made up to this point, the current situation in the game, and your future plans. Depending upon these factors, the answer could easily be "never".
    – DCShannon
    Nov 3 '16 at 0:48
  • basically: when you need them. for example: if you have aggressive and expansive neighbors it might be a good idea to station at least a few defensive units per planet, just in case a surprise invasion is around the corner. on the other hand, if you plan to go crusading through the galaxy yourself you might as well build assault forces exclusively and let others worry about defense.
    – garglblarg
    Nov 21 '16 at 11:54
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    Thanks. I've found I can often build them fast enough after a declaration of war - certainly if I have spaceports on every planet the enemy might try to invade early on.
    – tog22
    Dec 28 '16 at 23:08
  • This is a good question and I've been wondering the same thing. Its not clear what the advantage of having a defensive ground force vs defensive fleet.
    – nick
    Oct 12 '17 at 17:26
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Old question with a new answer since 2.2 "LeGuin":

You don't.

With the 2.2 rework of planetary population, defensive armies are no longer built directly, they are spawned automatically by certain jobs and buildings -- by default, that'd be the capital, police precincts and military forts/academies, the 'soldier' and 'enforcer' jobs.

Strictly speaking, I haven't found a lot of use for stacking massive amounts of defensive armies - if you're not at war they're not of much use and there are better jobs for your pops to be doing, and when you are at war it's a lot more cost effective to invest in space superiority so invaders won't get a chance to land in the first place.

Studoku correctly reminds me that the jobs that produce defensive armies also have side benefits - enforcers reduce crime, soldiers increase the naval cap, fortresses provide housing /and/ jobs, which may help overcrowding problems. Whether that's worth a building slot is up to you.

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    It's worth noting that the jobs that produce defense armies- soldiers and enforcers- have other uses. Soldiers increase your naval cap and enforcers reduce crime.
    – Unfair-Ban
    Jan 18 '19 at 11:26

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