A group or association of autonomous self-governing worlds, polities, or star systems. The Alliance controls only matters like defence policy and foreign relations, and does not interfere with the internal affairs of any member polity.
Government is by a Joint Council, made up of delegations from each member polity. Typically, the Council can only pass laws affecting relations between members, and seldom intrudes on internal affairs. A polity can disregard Alliance laws by seceding, or by becoming an associate member (whereby it loses its vote or voice in the Council but retains a number of privileges).
Alliances may form as a response to external threats (as in the Central Alliance of the Outer Sphere era) or to forge closer economic, military, and informational ties between polities already linked through history, ideology, trade, or astrographic proximity (as in the Negentropy Alliance).
Text by M. Alan Kazlev (modified from GURPS)
Initially published on 10 September 2001.