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The Cardassian Union is a totalitarian military dictatorship established as the governing body of the Cardassian people who have appeared as recurring antagonists throughout the Star Trek franchise.
Due to the scarcity of resources on their home planet, leading to millions of deaths from famine and disease, the Cardassian people developed a militaristic ideology and began a campaign of militaristic expansion across the galaxy, colonizing numerous worlds to obtain the resources they needed for their population. This eventually developed into a totalitarian dictatorship that held complete power over its people.
Power in the Cardassian Union is split between the Cardassian Central Command, which serves as the military force of the empire, and the Obsidian Order, which acts the intelligence agency of the Union. Due to power struggle between the two authorities the Detapa Council was established to serve a higher power between the two forces, though in reality it held little power over either.