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The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Siege.

"Make no mistake, we will rip you from the history books. Every last trace of you gone! You will know loss. We will be the architects of your pain, we will build monuments to your destruction. The whole world will bear witness to this, our ascension. We will blot out your skies, we will bury you in darkness. Know this and know us. We are your enemy. We are the Settlement Defense Front."
Caleb Thies

The Settlement Defense Front (SDF), also referred to as SetDef or simply the Front is a totalitarian militaristic state that originated on Mars and seceded from the Earth's influence during the Secession Wars thirty years before the events of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. They are the main antagonistic faction and fight against the United Nations Space Alliance and its military arm, the Solar Alliance Treaty Organization.



SDF propaganda

SetDef is composed primarily of radical off-world insurgents who seek total control over the solar system. They see themselves as the true inheritors of the solar system and believe their way of life to be "stronger, more pure," than the people of Earth.[1]

In SetDef's mind, living off-world in the harsh conditions of space has made them more worthy of ruling the solar system, while those who reside on Earth are weak "fat cats," living off the bounty of the off-world colonies. Living in the harshness of space has given the SDF an extreme and highly distorted survivalist mindset, causing them to believe that the only way for them to survive is to defeat Earth. In other words, they believe in an extreme form of Social Darwinism.[2][3] In contrast, the Front's name was deliberately chosen for propaganda reasons, to try to give it the appearance of being a noble underdog.

They value functionality over style, an attitude reflected in everything from their ships to their weapons and armour, which is modular and functional yet devoid of aesthetics, with everything designed to protect them from the harshness of space first and foremost. They have re-purposed service robots into military roles, adding to their legions of troops. For SetDef, a true victory would mean the conquest and subjugation of Earth and utter cessation of all influence of the same. They are willing to kill civilians, soldiers, and anyone who gets in their way.

It seems that the Front uses English as its main language and means of communication.

SDF Territories include, but are not limited to:


Main article: Portal:Timeline/IW


The origins of the Settlement Defense Front lie in the 'gold rush' period of planetary colonization when colonists first began leaving Earth, when colonists settled to mine minerals on Mars and seek the promise of a new beginning.[4] The Front was initially created as a means of enforcing martial law on off-world colonies. At some point they became radicalized and went rogue, instigating a strike, refusing to ship cargo to Earth. Earth in turn, sent troops to apply pressure, which resulted in a young soldier accidentally firing and killing an SDF supporter. This event was known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the Solar System", which led to a rebellion against the Earth-led Government of Mars, with the "Mars Massacre" occurring in retaliation. These events would precipitate the outbreak of the Secession Wars against Earth's authority, some thirty years before the events of Infinite Warfare. The conflict raged throughout the solar system, resulting most planets being captured by the Front. The war was fought to a stalemate, with peace being reached after the signing of the Charon Accords, establishing the Settlement Defense Front as an independent state separate from the Earth, and allowing the SDF sovereignty over Mars and other territories. After losing Mars to the SDF, the Earth created the United Nations Space Alliance in response.

Despite tensions, Mars and Earth would continue to trade, with Mars needing weapons and technology, and Earth needing energy and resources. However, years of military buildup, state-sponsored piracy, human rights violations, border skirmishes and expansionist overtures on part of the SDF caused relations to deteriorate, culminating in several countries implementing trade sanctions on Mars. The SDF regarded this as an attack on their sovereignty and would ultimately decide to wage war against Earth, starting with an attack on the Swiss city of Geneva.

Europa Incident[]

Main article: Rising Threat

18 hours before their attack on Geneva, SetDef launched an attack on a SATO weapons facility on Jupiter's moon, Europa. Although dealt heavy casualties by a SCAR "clean up crew", the mission was a success as the prototype F-SpAr cannon stored in the facility was destroyed leaving the Earth without a weapon powerful enough to destroy the SetDef fleet. They also retrieved data of Earth's planetary defense system, called AATIS, and initiated operation RIAH.

Attack on Geneva[]

Main article: Black Sky

During the annual Fleet Week Parade held in Geneva, the SDF launched their attack. A sleeper-cell agent hijacked AATIS destroying the majority of SATO's fleet in moments. This was in conjunction with a ground assault launched on the city, seeking to take out the world's leaders and other attendees. While the initial attack was repelled after chasing the SDF fleet into orbit, the Olympus Mons "dropped" into Earth's orbit, dealing significant damage to the SATO fleet, resulting in only two ships surviving, the Retribution and Tigris.

SATO and UNSA Counter-Attack[]

Main article: UNSA-SDF War

After the Geneva incident, the Retribution and the Tigris are charged with the mission to engage and sabotage SDF's military operations to buy Earth more time to rebuild its fleets. Despite high casualties in the infantry regime; the death of Captain Reyes, Captain Farran, Staff Sergeant Omar, Private Kashima, Petty Officer Ethan as well as other officers, along with the destruction of both the Retribution and the Tigris, the operation was a success, with the destruction of SDF's main shipyard in Mars; SDF's main fueling station, the Olympus Mons supercarrier; at least 6 SDF carriers; multiple SDF Skelters, dozens of Destroyers, all of their experienced flying aces and captains; very extensive loss in infantry force and armored vehicles as well as the deaths of the entire SDF military command structure.

Due to the results, the SDF has been weakened to the point where they are unable to mount any further attacks on Earth for the time being.

Society and Culture[]

"The SDF state is the only lasting absolute in the Solar System"
— The High Council

The SDF is ruled by a totalitarian government whose influence and rule rapidly extend, but is not limited to, Mars (the capital), Saturn, Neptune, Eris, and several moons around Jupiter. SDF High Council members are elected to their positions for life, but the election is implied to be a facade. SDF society is deeply militaristic and heavily authoritarian, with social status based largely on individual citizens' loyalties to the regime. Posters seen within SDF territory state that every confirmed kill constitutes a "credit towards citizenship", suggesting that martial performance may confer some form of privilege during or after a citizen's mandatory military service. The SDF government grants amnesty to war criminals, including backing pirates that steal cargo bound for Earth.

The SDF is also known to have a secret police organization known as Intracore. Posters warning SDF citizens that they may be monitored seem to be issued by an organization known as Colonial Internal Defense (CID), as seen on the map Crusher and some of the corridor walls of the destroyer SDS Icarius, with the CID acronym sometimes even showing up in large letters on the ship's outer hull.

SDF society is also heavily influenced by state-run propaganda, as the state-sponsored propaganda division, "The Veritas", controls much of the spread of information within SDF territories, going so far as to block out any UNSA transmissions to SDF space. Additionally, items that originate from Earth (except for weapons) are in most cases considered contraband in SDF territories and are illegal to be possessed. SDF propaganda goes as far as to utilize an alternative calendar, marking the current year as Year 31, counted after the Front's secession from Earth. Earth history is not taught to children growing up under the SDF's rule. Gun ownership is mandatory within SDF controlled territory. The SDF also maintains forced labor camps to gather more resources to fight the UNSA. The reason for using humans as the labor rather than robots or machines (which the SDF are shown to have an abundance of) could mean that it is meant as a punishment handed down for crimes against the regime. The largest camp is rumored to be on Titan.

The SDF worships strength and power, with the High Council proclaiming that "victory outlasts truth". For the Front, the domination of Earth by Mars is the ultimate measure of right and wrong, with the conquest of Earth being viewed as the main goal the Front should aspire towards. The Front also has disdain for individual freedom, with the High Council stating that "freedom has no place in the light of our sun" and "freedom is a mark of stupidity and cowardice".

SDF society is very stratified and regulated. Comments by SDF troops indicate the Front controls the reproduction of its populace, or at least access to sexual intercourse, with a 4 to 1 male to female reproductive policy, as well as "procreation permits". These permits may be suspended during battle operations (to the consternation of the enlisted men), though officers, Council members and High Command may be exempted. It would appear that there is a black market within the Front for these permits.

The Front utilizes a currency known as "credits". As seen in Operation Blood Storm, the SDF grows a substantial amount of their food in sealed hydroponic farms. The SDF classifies beverages on its warships in simplistic terms, such as "Orange Flavor", "Protein Boost", and "High Caloric Supplement".


Little is known about the SDF's culture. While they use English as their primary language, SDF does seem to have a fondness for Latin to a limited degree, possibly derived from traditional Latin naming of Martian geography, as demonstrated by their saying "Mars Aeternum" (Mars Eternally).

SDF culture has little in the way of embellishments, decoration or ornamentation, reflecting their utilitarian, functionality first approach to life, likely caused by having to live in the harsh environment of space. Even their preferred writing font is delivered in a consistently utilitarian style, likely to make it easy to read. However, acronyms of important organizations, such as the Front itself or the CID, are often shown in a stylized font which is harshly angular and somewhat abstract. The SDF acronym can often be found all over not only ships and uniforms but also gear and weapons, as if to emphasize state ownership of even individual personnel.

The Front's insignia is an irregular hexagon, composed of interlocking shapes, and can be found in either monochrome or color. The interlocking shapes are meant to symbolize individuals working together for the common good. The symbol's three colors are red, green and grey, with red representing Strength, green indicating Bounty and grey symbolizing Vigilance. Propaganda posters indicate that these are three qualities the SDF expects from every citizen.[5] The symbol is found all over the SDF's weapons, gear, uniforms and ships, in both full color and monochrome.

The SDF also seem to cover their equipment in what appears to be futuristic QR codes, consisting of small triangles, which even extends to things such as their flags. Some SDF members, such as Omar Gatica, Moudy Hamo and Karl Drown even have these tattooed on their foreheads. This may be to allow rapid computer recognition, again reflecting the SDF's emphasis on functionality.

SetDef citizens have a variety of accents, though they seem to mainly be German and Russian, with some American, British and Australian accents. SetDef soldiers also have an unusual way of talking, often utilizing quite formal speech (which can sometimes be unusually verbose) even during casual conversation. For example, rather than simply saying "I agree", they may say "confirmed" or "concurred", while also referring to UNSA cultural ideals as "cultural doctrine". During Operation: Deep Execute, a disguised Nick Reyes uses the term "comply" when ordered by an officer to follow him. Slang also tends to be lacking, aside from the use of the term "blue" to refer to the UNSA. SDF soldiers often refer to each other as "kindred".


"The function of a soldier and a citizen are one."
— The High Council

The Settlement Defense Front is deeply militaristic, with its highest-ranking military officers constituting the SDF High Council. The Front requires all of its male citizens to attend 15 years of military service beginning at age 12. Because of this, the Front has 900% more soldiers per capita than the UNSA's volunteer-based military, and holds several fleets powerful enough to challenge it. Its military is commanded by the SDF High Command. In terms of technology, the SDF is somewhat behind the Solar Associated Treaty Organization, but nonetheless remains competitive. The construction of the SDS Olympus Mons, with its powerful F-SpAr cannon, was part of an effort to counter SATO by putting a large number of resources into building a single, massive and powerful vessel.[6] The Olympus Mons is the largest battle class warship ever built.

Contrary to the UNSA, whose military is voluntarily represented by both genders, the Front's combat forces are largely male-dominated, as women are barred from serving on the frontlines, save for auxiliary support roles. This is due to population growth programs, as the Front is grossly outnumbered population wise when compared to the UNSA. The Front sees races as equal, assuming their allegiance is to SDF. The Front uses many ranks from the Russian Navy as well as the Royal Air Force while also using Iron Cross-medals similar to the Wehrmacht, suggesting their influence. Many high-ranking officers, such as Salen Kotch himself, are of a very young age, suggesting that promotions are much faster in the SDF military.

The SDF is not above using unconventional warfare, nor above committing war crimes, as their attack on Geneva and the Luna Gateway Port left thousands of civilians dead by mass shootings or summary executions. Th SDF also possess chemical weapons of mass destruction, as a SCAR team discovered on the SDF carrier SDS Hellas located in Venus' atmosphere before retrieving samples of it.

SDF troops seem to refer to their military collectively as "the legions". SDF regulars seem to be referred to as "guardsmen".

Settlement Defense Front Army[]

SDF soldiers are almost always found using energy weapons like the R3K, Volk and Type-2 assault rifles, the R.A.W. and Titan light machine guns,the DCM-8 shotgun, ERAD and HVR submachine guns as well as captured ballistic weapons like the NV4 and KBAR-32 assault rifles, and the FHR-40 and RPR Evo submachine guns. For sidearms, SDF troops employ mostly the EMC and Oni though some soldiers also carry the Hailstorm and captured Kendall 44s. The SDF also has access to special weapons like the Eraser, the Ballista EM3 and some F-SpAr Torches.

The Front also uses various autonomous tactical drones like C6 (used as combat, security, and working drones) and C8 both deployed from drop pods as well as C12 battle tanks and smaller Seeker robots. The Front uses Wardens to deploy its soldiers on the battlefields.

Settlement Defense Front Navy[]

The Settlement Defense Front's navy has at least 60 Jump Capable warships at its disposal; however, the true figure is probably much higher. Nonetheless, the SDF Navy has still fielded more warships than the UNSA's 21-strong navy; the SDF's navy had apparently outgunned the UNSA's for years.[7] The Settlement Defense Front has eight different fleets in the Solar System.[8] By the time of the SATO attack on the Mars orbital shipyard, the SDF were in the process of constructing at least four ships of the Olympus Mons classification.

The 8th Orbital Fleet is the most recently formed fleet. It is led by Admiral Salen Kotch and Vice-admirals Caleb Thies and Vlad Derhachov. It is not only the largest of the Front's fleets, but it also has the single most powerful warship as its flagship, the SWSC-1 Olympus Mons.[9]

All SDF ships bear the initials "SDS", possibly an acronym for "Settlement Defense Ship". The Front's navy consists of dozens of destroyers and A-Jak cutters as support, as well as several carriers. Some of the SDF warships are powerful enough to destroy a UNSA destroyer or carrier in a single shot like the Olympus Mons and its F-SpAr cannon or the Cerberus carrier and its two rail guns. The SDF uses the R-7 Skelter as its primary fighter jet against the UNSA's Jackal while R-16 Skelter is used by SDF aces.

A prototype SDF Skelter, one utlizing stealth technology as well as GAMP .018 Microlite energy cannons, was under development by SDF technology specialists (before it was stolen by Nick Reyes during Operation Phoenix).

Known Warships:[]

Post-Geneva Status[]

The conflict that followed the Geneva attack dealt a severe blow to SDF, with a total of 1 Supercarrier, at least 6 Carriers, at least 37 Destroyers, 1 Shipyard, their main fueling station, and at least 13 A-Jaks destroyed by the actions of Nick Reyes and his compatriots, with potentially further losses inflicted but not confirmed. Their military leadership was almost mostly, if not entirely, wiped out along the way. Despite the near-total loss of SATO forces committed in these actions and the temporary decapitation of SATO Navy leadership, what's left of SDF Navy (at least four jump-capable warships) is deemed insufficient to overcome the remaining ground-based anti-ship defenses of Earth, meaning that the SDF has been weakened to the point where they cannot mount any more attacks on the capital world of the UNSA for the time being.

This is exasperated by the fact that the SATO counterattack decimated not only the SDF's fleet but also the logistical infrastructures needed to replace their losses and keep their surviving warships operational, further undermining the SDF's ability to enforce its territorial claims beyond Mars.



8th Orbital Fleet[]

Battle Force[]

Scouting Force[]

Air Combat Command[]

Outer Planet Squadron[]

Belt Squadron[]

Surveillance and Engagement[]



The SDF appear in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer as one of the two playable factions. They face off against the United Nations Space Alliance in every map.


Light Machine Guns[]

Assault Rifles[]

Submachine Guns[]

Sniper Rifles[]





Concept art[]


  • When designing the Settlement Defense Front, Infinity Ward took inspiration from Soviet and British designs from the 1960s. They're a "functionality first" aesthetic in terms of their design.
  • After an update on the Nuk3town multiplayer map, the SDS Olympus Mons can be seen flying by in the cutscene a logo of the Settlement Defense Front after the "NUK3TOWN OFFLINE" message appears and Caleb Thies would read his quote out loud. This was changed back to the original end cutscene following the reveal of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
  • At the time of the events of Infinite Warfare, it is year 31 for the Settlement Defense Front, counted from the day of the Secession, when the SDF became independent.
  • The SDF uses some ballistic weapons, but energy weapons seem to be more common.
  • During every stealth mission, SDF forces will be armed with suppressed weapons for easier gameplay unlike in other Call of Duty games where only your weapons will be suppressed.