Tier Three is the cover-all designation for Baltic Union's citizen militia. Ranking between the professional soldiery of Tier Two and the non-combatant Tier Four, the Threes serve mainly as a domestic defense force. They also function as a gendarmerie, enforcing law within their communities.
The origins of Tier Three date back to before the Great War, when the majority of troops fielded by the Baltic States were part-time citizen volunteers rather than professional soldiers or conscripts. The Baltic nations had formed them into reasonably effective and well-trained, if still somewhat under-equipped, paramilitary national guards by 2054.
After the bombs fell, the surviving militiamen found themselves in possession of a large quantity of weapons and military supplies, and no real chain of command or government control to direct them. Although ill-prepared to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear war, these national guardsmen were still by far better prepared for survival than most of their civilian compatriots, if only by virtue of being armed and trained in combat and survival. With the collapse of government and a unified chain of command, the former national guard forces fragmented into a myriad of smaller units. Some tried to restore some semblance of order, siding with the remaining regular army forces, some deserted individually or in small bands, trying to get home to save their loved ones, and still others turned on their compatriots and became little more than roving bands of armed thugs preying on the weak to survive. Regardless of what path they chose, practically every community of survivors outside the official safe-zones established by the regular military eventually ended up having at least some former militiamen in it. In a time when the one most willing to take from another was generally the one to live another day, every man with a functional gun and knowledge how to use it was worth his weight in gold to a group of survivors regardless of their moral disposition.
After the nuclear winter subsided, the nascent Baltic Union forces were faced with the monumental task of reuniting their former homelands that were shattered into thousands of separate, isolated and often conflicting small communities. Having been an active warzone and a military staging ground with huge quantities of military equipment stored before the bombs fell, and relatively undamaged by direct nuclear bombardment, the Baltic region found itself swimming in guns and ammunition after the Exchange. Military-grade arms were literally cheaper than bread or clean water, and ammunition was used as a form of currency up until late 2070's. In such circumstances, it was unsurprising that just about everyone still alive was well-armed, and quite often had little inclination to submit to any authority other than themselves. Recognizing the practical impossibility and impracticality of disarming subjugated communities, the Colonels instead opted to make their armed men a part of their own forces, securing their loyalty with promise of economic and military assistence to their communities, and exemption from being conscripted to fight away from their communities against their will. These militias from outside the original safe-zones and their exemption from fighting in the re-unification campaigns would become the base of the later Tier Three.
Tier Three is considered a separate arm of the Baltic Union military, having their own command structure independent of the Army, albeit operating under joint command during wartime. It consists of all citizens who make a commitment (and are deemed fit enough) to part-time militia duties within their community, but do not wish (or are not fit enough) for a professional military career as Tier Twos.
Unlike Tier Twos who can be deployed anywhere in the Union as necessary, Tier Threes serve close to home and are rarely if ever deployed outside the district surrounding their home town even in times of war. Their first and foremost duty is to protect their home community. In earlier times, Tier Threes would fight mainly against the depredations of raider gangs. Nowadays, as the raids outside frontier settlements near the wastelands have become rare, their function has shifted more towards community policing. In times of war, they are expected to serve alongside the regular army.
Baltic Union does not have a professional police force in the traditional sense, law enforcement instead being entrusted to Tier Threes on a community level. Since town communities are tight-knit and generally small enough for everybody to know everybody, this sort of community policing being deemed preferable to a traditional reaction-based police force. Rather than merely reacting to crimes and apprehending lawbreakers, Tier Three Enforcers (colloquialism for law enforcement officers) actively work within their community to promote a safe and orderly environment, having a vested interest in doing so as members of the community they police.
Militiamen seeking to work as Enforcers must be of pristine personal reputation, good moral standing and able to remain calm and level-headed under pressure. They receive considerable training in psychology and negotiation, since a large part of their duties involve talking with fellow citizens and helping to find constructive solutions to conflicts and problems that could lead to crime. Like other public officials, Enforcers are held to higher standards of conduct than ordinary citizens, being punished more severely for any transgressions than civilians would. In a way, Enforcers form a class of professional law enforcement staff, although legally they are considered a branch of the Tier Three militia, a sort of decentralized gendarmerie.
The majority of Tier Threes, however, are ordinary militiamen who hold civilian jobs and have pledged to dedicate at least a month of their time every year to military duties. Given the amount of military training the average Baltic youth has received already by the age of 18, however, even these militiamen can be expected to fight to the standards of professional soldiers from elsewhere.
The equipment of Tier Threes is generally much more diverse and ramshackle than that of the well-equipped Tier Twos and Ones, consisting of a diverse assortment of uniforms, gear and weapons, much of it personal property rather than government issue. Equipped as light infantry and intimately familiar with the terrain around their homes, Threes are ideally suited for guerilla operations.
Tier Threes are also responsible for the construction, expansion and maintenance of the tunnel networks beneath the Union's settlements wherever it is possible to construct any. Consequently, they generally know their town's tunnels better than any Tier Two or even One potentially stationed there.
The town's Tier Three forces are formally under command of the local Governor-Colonel, although in everyday affairs they are usually managed by the town's Militia Captain, "captain" denoting position rather than rank.