"Man did not crawl from the savannahs of Terra into the stars by shunning science."
The Humanist Union is, like most nations, notable for a variety of technologies either unique to it, developed by it, or through a specific pattern of usage. Despite the Humanist Union's emphasis on medical and cybernetic technology and its widespread employment thereof, it is a nation generally understood to be slightly behind the cutting edge in many fields. The Humanist Union prefers reliability and ease of manufacture to technical sophistication, a preference given life largely by the lean years that characterized and followed the state's civil war. Even today, the Union has a culture that prizes efficiency and utility, something visible in everything from its warships to its cityscapes. Despite this, the Union's capabilities in medical and materials science are not to be underestimated and are certainly of "first world" caliber.
New humanist ideology has heavily influenced the Humanist Union's attitudes and laws towards created intelligences. True artificial intelligence is highly regulated and very rare within the Union's borders. Lawmakers rationalize that true AI, as a foreign intelligence, cannot be trusted to pursue human goals, let alone to think like a human. New humanist ideology, while not overtly hostile to non-human intellience, asserts that it must be regarded with care, as it inevitably pursues its own unique goals. Near-AI are, on the other hand, heavily used by the Union, and are integral to the maintenance of the state's vast bureaucracy, especially in maintaining economic health. Federal Navy warships all have at least one near-AI to help with coordination of the ship, and near-AI are also used in the military's combat drones. True AI - usually called "Synthetic Intelligences" - are carefully monitored and used mostly by the military and by intelligece agencies. As sapients, they enjoy certain rights as citizens of the Union; the government goes to lengths to ensure their satisfaction, well-aware of how dangerous a rampant true AI can be to human life.
Like most states, the Humanist Union makes significant use of cybernetic enhancements to the human form in medical, military, and civilian/leisure applications. Unlike most, the Humanist Union has an ideological motive behind its development of cybernetics - new humanism espouses the necessity of improving the human form and essence, and cybernetics is explicitly elaborated upon as a necessary arm of this. Union cybernetics are, compared to most of their technology, compact and advanced, though also quite robust. Many external cybernetics utilize human-like appearance for cultural reasons; cybernetics were not widely-accessible to the public prior to the revolution and are viewed dubiously by some. The Union prefers genetic modification for high-order enhancements, as its improvements are typically inheritable, but cybernetics are necessary in such applications as integrated computers and direct brainjacks for vehicles.
More expensive than cybernetics and also of longer-term implications, the Union has invested trillions of credits into research into human genetics and the alteration and improvement thereof. Union scientists are capable of genetic therapy that improves various capacities of the human body and mind well beyond what the baseline human can be expected to demonstrate, and they have further begun to modify and reshape basic human instincts. Genetic research is by its nature slower than cybernetics research, but the long-term payoff is expected to be worth the investment. Ultimately, the goal of genetic modification is to improve the Union's citizens, who will then pass on their engineered genes to their offspring. Genetic modification is reasonably expensive and tends to be a state-issued reward for particularly meritorious conduct.
The last resort of the Humanist Union's criminal justice system, "enhanced resocialization" stands in the place of the death penalty from the past. A "rehabilitative" process, the exact mechanisms of the Union's enhanced resocialization are not known to the general galaxy. It is known, however, that the process involves technological and - more recently - esper-based components. Those who undergo enhanced resocialization are unusually docile, pacified beings with an inflexible respect for authority and law. They lack initiative and normal human creative, emotional, and intellectual capacity. Usually, the targets of this procedure will remember their past, though even strongly-held ideologies will not be acted upon. Enhanced resocialization can be used to compel its target to share fiercely-guarded secrets, though these memories are usually at least partially damaged; the Office of Political Infidelity is notorious for its use of enhanced resocialization to extract information from captured enemies of the state. Enhanced resocialization is sometimes used to make a political statement, such as in the case of the New Haven sector's former dictator, reduced to a janitor in a minor spaceport post-process. Despite their harmlessness and passivity, the enhanced resocialized are mistrusted and disliked by many in the Union, as the treatment is typically connected to very severe criminality. The enhanced resocialized may not vote, hold office, or serve in the military. Rumors that the Union's scientists are working on producing a process effective in producing soldiers from the dregs of society are thus far completely without evidence.
Generally referred to by the technically-incorrect term of "mass drivers" within the Humanist Union, railguns have formed the backbone of heavy terrestrial and naval ballistic weapons since the republican days. Even the missile banks found on naval vessels are actually hybrid designs employing railgun techniques for initial acceleration, leaving the missile to use its propellant for course correction and final burns. While most first galaxy nations are at least capable of producing railguns, the Humanist Union is known for its very robust, highly effective models, something not true of the republic before it. Union railguns are considered bulky and heavy by most standards, but their sheer effectiveness cannot be denied; colossal models found in planetary defense roles or aboard navy ships as "siege drivers" are a testament to the investments the Union has made in the field of materials science. In naval combat, standard railguns are high-endurance weapons often used to probe enemy defenses for weaknesses that missile volleys may exploit, while the much, much larger siege drivers are used to cause localized shield failure and allow followup ordnance through to the enemy hull.
While the Humanist Union prefers to use railguns for its larger vehicle weapons, conventional firearms can still be found in everything from the infantry corps to attack gunships to battle tanks. The Union's chemical-based ballistics stretch the known limits of materials science and chemistry in order to be competitive with more exotic but expensive and sophisticated weapons. Conventional firearms issued by the Union are notorious for their robust kick and are sometimes derisively referred to as "baby bragulan" guns. Old-fashioned cannon are rare on starships, usually only being found in the defensive armament of civilian or logistics ships.
One of the most well-understood technologies still used in modern weaponry as of 3400, the Humanist Union makes considerable use of nuclear weapons in its heavy-hitting arsenals. Nuclear weapons see most of their use in space combat, where they constitute the bulk of missile weapons used at long to medium range, and in planetary bombardment, where they are used as a sledgehammer alternative to the far more precise railguns found on naval ships. Union atomics are well-known for having a relatively high "bang for your buck" factor in terms of weight, but are perhaps not as well-developed as notoriously nuke-happy Shepistan's own models. Atomics tend to be specialized for a specific use - naval combat missiles are directional, while defensive missiles and bombardment missiles are omnidirectional. Bombardment atomics often include salted weapons, which serve no practical purpose in ship-to-ship combat but produce appalling casualities against ground targets, especially civilian populations.
Antimatter-based weaponry constitutes some of the heaviest-hitting firepower the Union has access to. In naval combat, antimatter weapons take the place of nuclear weapons at medium or close range, where their easier-to-detect nature has less of an effect on their chances of being intercepted and their higher firepower allows them to dramatically step up the level of firepower enemy vessels must protect against. Antimatter weapons are used in ground bombardment to cause very heavy damage when necessary - for example, against enemy superbunkers or planetary shields - considerably cheaper, easier to manufacture atomics are generally preferred in mass bombardment, however. Antimatter weapons are also deployed in planetary combat when wide-scale destruction is called for but the deadly fallout associated with standard or salted atomic weapons is not.
As a weapon, lasers have long been relegated to a secondary technology in the Humanist Union, falling out of favor well before that nation's establishment. Lasers today are still in use, but generally only as defensive tools; they can be found on warships and terrestrial vehicles in an anti-missile and anti-aircraft role. These laser designs are compact and rapid-firing, but somewhat fragile as a result and thus must be diligently maintained to ensure optimum performance. On warships, such tedious duty is assigned to personnel as punishment to work off demerits.
Powered armor is issued to all federal level army units in the Humanist Union. These "Power-Assisted Infantry Suites" are generally designed with mass producability and field reliability in mind; standard suits are highly modular and can be rearranged into a variety of mission-specific configurations. While the Union's powered armor is considered somewhat light by many nations' standards, the military never lacks for spare parts and spare suits. More advanced direct brainjack models - based in part upon severe injury mobility technology and heavy construction suits - tend to be expensive, well-armed, and highly durable.
While not technically a "cloaking device," as erroneously referred to by laymen, active camouflage technology found on more advanced powered armor suits and some vehicles does make it extremely difficult to spot its beneficiaries with the naked eye. Combined with other location-disguising technologies, the Union's well-trained elite infantry can be disturbingly difficult to locate despite their size. Older or less sophisticated versions of this technology cannot change patterns on the fly and must be recalibrated while motionless, something usually done in between battles in anticipation of specific terrain type, or in combat lulls. Active camouflage is often combined with traditional elements of disguise dating back centuries - so-called gillie suits, for example.