The Independent Alliance of Systems arose out of a need for co-operation. Centuries of warfare and both Imperial and Federal meddling in a great many otherwise peaceful independent systems caused various small alliances to form and then get broken up over the centuries. The Alliance formed from a number of culturally different systems with a unified goal – to provide a stronger voice in the galaxy for its member systems and ultimately to defend them against unwelcome attention from the big powers. The Independent Alliance is culturally very varied and its leadership, which involves a presidency which moves annually between member systems, has been described as ‘challenging’. Seeking agreement between the member systems is generally a tortuous process, usually ending up with a great deal of compromise. Militarily, co-operation has been more successful. Each member system contributes a portion of its navy to the Alliance Defence Force – the total contribution being proportional to the system's gross domestic product (GDP). It is led by the Council of Admirals, a six-strong body made up of one leader from each of the largest member navies. The council can act swiftly without government approval, which has proved very effective, and over the years there has been little disagreement between the admirals. Contributed vessels generally bear the decals of their own navy, but have an additional Alliance Defence Force decal applied while they are with the group – so the culture of identity and independence (and rivalries) applies here too.
— Newsletter #22