From a post to Baen's Bar Honorverse dated May 19, 2008:

Misconceptions about Torch

    Guys, I think there are some misconceptions about Torch.

    First, someone up-thread made the remark that the original Torches (or a lot of them, at any rate) were "all technicians," or something like that, which is decicdedly untrue. Many genetic slaves are technicians, or are "bred" for that role, but the majority of the slaves on Verdant Vista were not in the category of trained technicians.

    Second, even if they did have a whole stack of trained techs of one sort of another, there is a huge difference between that and being able to crew ships of the wall. We're talking about the equivalent of a bunch of civilian computer programmers and service techs, with a few guys accustomed to maintaining water plants for civilian authorities, managing machine shops, and working for BMW, Chrysler, and maybe Boeing, mostly in lower-level occupations, taking over and running a Nimitz-class carrier. The mere fact that they might be technically competent does not make them trained spacers -- even in merchant service -- and is going to provide a platform of skills which are at best only peripherally (and distantly) related to the needs of naval service.

    Third, the population of Torch is going to increasingly consist of refugees from other places. Now, this is going to bring in some ex-slaves (or children [of] slaves and ex-slaves) who do have skills which would be useful to a new navy, and it's probably going to bring in some who actually have military training, but they are still going to be far too short of trained, experienced officers and senior enlisted to crew even one or two wallers. And it's also probably going to result in a population which is increasingly skewed towards unskilled citizens, or at least citizens whose technical skills and training are going to be minimal. These people are going to have attitude and motivation out the ying-yang, but they are going to consist in no small part of the refuse of the galaxy (which, after all, has spent several centuries more or less pretending the problem of genetic slavery doesn't really exist), traveling steerage (or on bare-bones transports, probably subsidized by the ASL and people like Klaus and Stacey Hauptmann [and maybe a few donations from Skydomes of Grayson, I suppose]) from places like the slums of Old Chicago. You are going to get at least some highly skilled and probably quite successful and well-off people who are coming to help build the kibbutzes, as it were, but I suspect that the majority of the descendents of slaves who fall into that category are going to tend to support Torch financially and politically from where they are already located as successful citizens rather than emigrate to Torch themselves.

    Fourth, the population of Torch is nowhere near the size of the population of Grayson. It's a new colony world, folks, and the core population is growing from the base of a slave labor force brought in to run commercial, plantation-style operations. We are talking very small numbers of people here, at least initially, which makes the support base for a squadron of wallers downright impossible even if they had the wealth (which they don't) to maintain and/or supply said squadron. Worse, as they build Torch up as a refuge/homeland for the galaxy's most crapped-upon inhabitants, they are going to be forces to pour immense sums of money, tons of labor, and most of their available resources into building up the infrastructure to support those new refugees once they begin truly swelling the population.

    Fifth, Thandi Palane and Jeremy X are both aware of the above facts. No way in the galaxy would they want to tie up their limited manpower and resources in a handful of huge, white-elephants ships of the wall. They are going to be in the position of practicing interstellar asymetrical warfare for the foreseeable future, and they cannot possibly afford the resource and manpower drain of capital ships. I can't see them wanting anything heavier than a few cruisers (and even that would be stretching things) unless circumstances change enormously. These people, comparatively speaking, aren't even the US of the 1790s building 44-gun frigates. They're more like a more stable (thank God!) and better educated Haiti from the same period, but this time with the outside support of the United States (which the real Haiti didn't get when it needed it) or maybe even the British Empire of that time period. Had Toussaint's Haiti survived, it would have been building schooners and maybe sloops or brigs, at best.

    Sixth, possession of a few wallers would not appreciably increase their system security in the first place. One such ship, as a deterrent against attack by a destroyer-cruiser level raiding squadron, might make some sense, although it would still be a very poor use of available resources. The plain truth, however, is that in the face of a serious attack by a genuine task force, they would need a lot more firepower than they could possibly man and sustain for it to make any real difference to the outcome.

    Seventh, wallers would be very poorly suited to the types of military operations they are most likely to be carrying out. (See 5, above.) In fact, Torch is probably one of the very few star nations for whom a few smaller CLACs might actually make sense. They would be far better placed to man a Manticoran-style CLAC of small size and man a couple of squadrons of Shrikes for a system raid escorting a CA-sized transport equipped to land and support a battalion or two of commandos than to carry out a set-piece attack on a heavily defended system.