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More than just a football game.

"The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy."
Curtis LeMay, General, US Air Force
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In a perfect world, the various branches of a government (local, regional or central) should be able to cooperate and pull their resources together for the greater good.

The world is not perfect.

One of the reasons for this not happening is usually Interservice Rivalry, where at least two branches of the government don't work well together, sometimes openly opposing and working against each other. Usually if the leaders of said branches know each other, they can't let go of their past feelings and it intensifies the rivalry. Often in military fiction (and in real life as well), some amount of Interservice Rivalry will be encouraged by the higher-ups, to promote a competitive spirit, but sometimes it can get out of hand. Sometimes it is even used by a dark Chessmaster-type leader to maintain control. That way, if the army ever rebels against him, he can always call in the navy to fight for him.

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On the other hand, particularly in military-centric works where both services in question are meant to be sympathetic, it's used as a source of humor in the form of personnel of either service making fun of each other, good-naturedly or not.

Cases of Interservice Rivalry can cause Jurisdiction Friction and Divided We Fall. Compare Right Hand Versus Left Hand. See also CIA Evil, FBI Good, in cases where direct conflict between the two is depicted. There is also Truth in Television to this.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Gunslinger Girl, the members of Sections 1 and 2 have one of these. For some reason, Section 1 finds the concept of cyborg little girls used as a death squad somehow weird. Because Section 1 consists of adult male human operatives, who are not happy about being upstaged by half-mechanical little girls.
  • Various divisions of the TSAB in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. In particular, the Ground Forces' commander hates Riot Force 6 (which is a cross-service special forces battalion assigned to a paramilitary Lost Technology control division). The fact that the commander and half of RF6's staff are former criminals that one member of the team blasted into submission does not help.
  • Full Metal Panic!
    • Divisions of Mithril. Intelligence and operatives in particular. That was probably the main reason why Sōsuke was reluctant to leave Kaname protected by Wraith (who was from Intelligence).
    • In The Second Raid Melissa Mao tells the story of how she escaped from an Arranged Marriage by joining the U.S. Marine Corps, marching into the recruitment office still wearing her wedding dress. The recruiters were reluctant to sign her up until Mao revealed that her father was a Colonel in the Air Force, at which point they welcomed her into the Corps purely to annoy him.
  • The Public Security Division and the Kerberos Unit have an intense one going on in Jin-Roh. Played for Drama, as the rivalry is escalating at a worrying rate. In fact, the entire plot was brought about by it; Kei is really a Public Security agent and her romance with Fuse was staged to try and create a fake scandal that would let the PSD shut down the Kerberos Unit. Unfortunately for them, Kerberos know about the scheme and out-manipulate the PVD, killing Kei and several other agents while blackmailing the PVD into standing down.
  • The various geographical units of the Amestris military in Fullmetal Alchemist evidence this. Soldiers from the Northern (Briggs), Central, and East forces (the ones shown so far) never lack for snide things to say about every unit aside from theirs.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Isval flashbacks show some animosity towards the State Alchemists when they arrived, as some among the regular soldiers felt they'd been sent to die for nothing when the Fuhrer could have just called in these guys from the beginning and ended the campaign seven years sooner.
  • Ghost in the Shell, especially in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Their own government and other branches of service are a far greater threat to Section 9 than any external enemy could ever hope to be.
  • All over the place in Mao-chan, where the heads of the three branches of the defense force are all old friends... who are constantly competing, often viciously.
  • In Hellsing, most other branches of law enforcement seem to dislike the Hellsing Organization. At one point the SAS clash with Hellsing over jurisdiction over a case involving Incognito, resulting in an entire SAS squadron being captured by the Big Bad.
  • Rampant in Ga-Rei and its prequel Ga-Rei -Zero-. In the anime, it's between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Environment. The Defense Ministry fields normal soldiers equipped with special technology to fight supernaturals, while the Environment Ministry fields operatives recruited from ancient exorcist families. The ''real'' main characters are the Environment guys.
  • In Strike Witches, the more normal sort of militaries don't like the eponymous girls (probably something to do with them being underaged aces who fly without their pants on). There is even a conspiracy within the military to disband the 501st.
    • Actually, most soldiers and officers are very friendly and supportive towards the Witches because they are The Cavalry. Only very conservative generals are reluctant to rely on Witches. However, a straight forward interservice rivalry exists among different branches armed forces.
  • Witch Hunter Robin is in a branch of an organization designed to capture Witches, using magic-resistant tranq guns. Another branch of the same organization breaks in and steals the gun tech. Meanwhile, a third branch is trying to keep the second branch under control, while trying to assassinate the members of the first branch. This is not helped by the fact that all of the branches use the same helmets and equipment.
  • Some divisions of the Gotei 13 in Bleach have this, especially the 4th and 11th divisions; the former views the latter as a gang of violent thugs and the latter views the former as weak and useless in battle. When Ichigo and Ganju take Hanataro of the 4th Division hostage, the 11th Division Mooks pursuing them laugh it off.
  • This crops up in Yomigaeru Sora — Rescue Wings; the local Fire Department insists on using their light helicopter to rescue a stranded cable car, even though they're told that the winds are too high for the chopper, purely so that they don't have to call in the Komatsu Air Rescue Squadron.
  • Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail inflamed a behind-the-scenes rivalry between the NSA and CIA over jurisdictions from South America to the Southeast Pacific. Had Roberta not intervened and become everyone's problem, Roanapur probably would've come under pressure from the upstart agency. As it was, the CIA, and their interests in Roanapur, were able to maintain the status quo.
  • Between the three army branches (Military Police Brigade, Survey Corps and Garrison) in Attack on Titan. The three view each other with suspicion to the point that the (corrupt) Police Brigade thinks the Survey Corps wants the Rogue Titan aka Eren to seize power from the inner circle from them. It doesn't help that there is a distinction between the highly regarded Police Brigade and The Unfavorite Survey Corps who do most of the fighting.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, this was the problem with Zeon flat out. Everyone was trying to top everyone else, leading to double crosses, delays in important supplies, rivalries between production lines and, ultimately, the loss of good pilots. A microcosm of this happens with Ramba Ral: when he lost his Gouf mobile suit, he requested the new model Dom as a replacement. Unfortunately, the man in charge of requisitions was M'Quve, who served under a different commandernote  and refused Ral's request purely for political reasons. As a result, Ral lead a desperate guerilla attack on White Base that resulted in his death. Had he gotten the Doms, he could have potentially defeated the Gundam — if not alone, then he could have teamed up with the Black Tri-Stars (another group of ace pilots) and won with ease; instead, the Tri-Stars were picked off one by one, as Amuro had become an even better pilot by the time they showed up.
  • In The Heroic Legend of Arslan, the Lusitanian military and the clergymen/Temple Knights don't get along since the military does most of the fighting while the clergymen get to take the spoils of war despite not being on the front lines. The rivalry is fueled by the mutual dislike between their leaders, Lord Guiscarl and Archbishop Bodin.
  • Kazuma in Konosuba exploits one of these when collections agents come to get back taxes from all the adventurers in town. Reasoning that government and law enforcement agencies never enjoy anyone butting in on their turf, Kazuma gets himself thrown in jail knowing that the town guard will not let the agents near him while he is being processed, allowing him to get away with tax evasion.
  • How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom has intentional rivalries set up in the Kingdom of Elfrieden. The King is human but there are many other races in the kingdom. The king has a small number of personal troops, but most of the Kingdom's military is split into the Army, Navy, and Air Force, each controlled by a different duke. Since the dukes aren't human, this rivalry is meant to be a check on the king becoming a tyrant and oppressing the other races.

     Manhwa 
  • In Auto Hunting, the Hunters are not a single monolithic organization. While their joint goal is to protect civilians from monsters coming out of interdimensional fissures, they are grouped into firms, guilds, clans, etc. which are all fiercly protective and territorial where it concerns their hunting grounds. And this is before international politics gets involved.

    Comic Books 
  • The Green Lantern Corps in general has had a number of inter-service rivalries, notably with rival interstellar police agencies the L.E.G.I.O.N. and the Darkstars, and (to varying degrees) with the various other Lantern Corps.
    • In the Secret Origin storyline during Geoff Johns' run, it is revealed that Hal Jordan and John Stewart first met on opposite sides of a bar fight — when Jordan was in the Air Force and Stewart was a Marine. Even before that revelation, the rivalry often came up when Hal and John found themselves working together during Johns' run: John liked to bash Air Force pilots for being undisciplined hotheads (calling the Air Force a "country club"), and Hal liked to bash Marines for being idiotic thugs. This mostly plays into their being Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • During a ferocious firefight in The Punisher MAX between Frank Castle (a former Marine Force Recon officer) and Barracuda (who is ex-Army special forces) who had abducted Castle's infant daughter, Castle curses 'Cuda out calling him a "fucking Army puke".
    • In the Barracuda miniseries the FBI, NSA, DEA, and CIA are all cooperating to find Barracuda before he can restore the flow of drugs from Santa Morricone. Naturally, each agency has its own agenda and will make sure to prevent the others don't interfere with it.
  • Nick Fury (a former Army Ranger) is known to make comments pertaining to "deck monkeys" and "candy-ass marines".
  • During Gung-Ho's first appearance in the G.I. Joe comic, Rock'N'Roll was notoriously pissed to have a marine in the team.
  • The Shield (an Army Super Soldier) had a series of issues where he teamed up with Magog (a Marine given powers by the predecessors to the New Gods). They spent as much time sniping at each other as punching out the bad guys.
  • The Avengers: Captain Marvel (U.S. Air Force veteran Carol Danvers) and Captain America (U.S. Army veteran Steve Rogers) have been shown trading jabs about their respective services.
  • Jay Faerber's Dynamo5 features F.L.A.G. (the Foundation for Law and Government), which is responsible for superhero activity in the United States. Robert Kirkman's Invincible features the G.D.A. (Global Defence Agency) which is responsible for protecting the Earth from superhuman and extraterrestrial threats, and has at least one superhero team on its payroll. They don't get on too well.
  • Kobra attempted a variant by pitting Checkmate, the Suicide Squad, the Force of July, and Project Captain Atom against each other, abducting key personnel and bombing their bases in ways that cast suspicion on the others, so he can fire his microwave cannon unmolested. This was the Janus Directive crossover; part of the fallout was the restructuring of all said agencies under the authority of Sarge Steel to avoid another such incident.
    • An earlier story has the Squad on a mission only for Captain Atom to show up as his boss wants to get the glory of the win more than the Squad. Both he and Flagg agree it's better to work together than getting dragged into this petty rivalry.
    Flagg: If World War III ever hits, the services will be too busy scrapping over who gets to fire the first nuke to strike back.
  • In Drowntown, the police and Admiralty Intelligence don't seem to get along. When Hammond (a cop) runs a database check as a favour to Leo, Admiralty Intelligence comes to find out who's digging, but are promptly stonewalled by the cops (at least until Leo tells Hammond to let it go).
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Autobot Special Operations has a one-sided one with the Wreckers. Both are effectively the best of the best of the Autobot military, but while Special Ops works through subtle manipulation and precise stealth, the Wreckers get the same results with straightforward violence, making the former view them as gun-loving thugs who are only useful when pointed at the right target. The Wreckers don’t particularly care, not least of all because Special Ops frequently relies on the Wreckers to handle their Dirty Business, making their gloating feel pretty empty.
  • Monstress: The Federation Navy and the Federation Army despise one another to the point that when war reignites, the Federation Navy immediately begins leaking exact troop deployment information to the Arcanics. The Navy also appears to have taken the Cumaea's purges of Arcanic personnel much worse than the Army did, such that it's in question if they'll join the fight — or even outright defect to the Arcanics.

    Fan Works 
  • The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds has a small example that's played mostly straight but ultimately subverted. When Big Macintosh first meets Shining Armor, he initially doesn't like him, since — having done a tour of duty in the main Equestrian army (tanks corps, specifically) — he views the Royal Guard as "little wimps and nobleponies playing at being soldiers". Thing is, Shining agrees with him, having been a part of the main army before being made Captain of the Guard specifically to whip it back into shape. After this conversation, he and Mac get along fairly well.
  • Speaking of Shining Armor, he gets another example, this time played for laughs, in the Pony POV Series. He tells the interviewers that he sees interservice rivalry as being good for morale... literally seconds after offhandedly describing the Day Guard as wimps and saying that the Night Guard is scared of the light. He also completely ignores the fact that he was a Day Guard before being reassigned to lead the new branch dedicated to Cadence.
  • Death Note Equestria: There's quite a bit of friction between the Royal Guard and the Canterlot City Guard (police) over the Kira investigation.
    • Straw Bolt (Captain of the Canterlot City Guard) also really doesn't like L or her methods.
  • Some Interservice Rivalry crops up from time to time in Strike Witches Quest, though the Martian War and shared hatred of brassholes can cause bitter rivals to temporarily ally.
  • Specifically invoked by Mercury in Phoenix-fire. The army has an ongoing rivalry with the navy, and the airspace is being set up to be divided between the Knight-Wings (lehtrblaka with riders) and captured and "reformed" dragon riders. All done to ensure that in the case of a coup, no faction could ever fully control more than one theater of battle.
  • Bad Future Crusaders: The Royal Guard and the Royal Equestrian Air Force have a strong rivalry, and it seems that no one likes Featherweight and his Changeling spies.
  • Bait and Switch (STO):
    • Primary author Star Sword-C frequently makes allusions to a rivalry within the increasingly militarized 25th century Starfleet between science-centered specialties and combat personnel (with the beleaguered goldshirts in Operations and Engineering stuck in the middle). This often plays out in the form of arguments over tactics between USS Bajor Captain Kanril Eleya, a Prior Enlisted Action Girl specializing in starship weapons and general ass-kicking who typically takes a very direct approach to problem-solving, and her chief science officer Commander Birail Riyannis, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist more inclined to further investigate unusual phenomena.
    • Implied in From Bajor to the Black. Ensign Tesjha Phohl tells Lieutenant Kanril Eleya that she joined Starfleet "to piss off my thavan". Apparently that part of her family has been in the Andorian Imperial Guard for centuries.
    • Discussed in Peace Forged in Fire when the cast hear a report that there's been a skirmish between Tal'Shiar ships and the regular Romulan Imperial Fleet.
      Morgaiah t'Thavrau: Honestly I’m more surprised it took this long. When I was in the Galae they were the enemy almost as much as the Khe’lloann’mnhehoraeltrans.  or the Lloannen’galae.trans. 
      D'Trel t'Rihannsu: We had a commissar with them on the Ravon once. The Riov airlocked him and took his gear, sent fake reports. It must’ve fooled someone, and I don’t think we were seen as important enough to target.
    • Mainstream Starfleet also despises Section 31, the quasi-legal ultranationalist No Such Agency whose mission statement is realpolitik on behalf of the Federation. In Didn't Expect That, Eleya arrests a major Section 31 character for multiple crimes, and in Rachel Connor's arc, Section 31 is ultimately disavowed and declared a terrorist organization after attempting to assassinate several delegates to a peace summit.
  • The MLP Abridged Series Scootertrix the Abridged has this between its version of the CMC.
  • There is a considerable rivalry between NERV on the one and the U.N. Conventional Forces and JSSDF on the other side in Neon Metathesis Evangelion. Vice Commander Fuyutsuki in particular is loathe to ask the conventional forces for help, so as to not lose face, and when the Matsushiro facility was devastated NERV's first priority was sending in own teams before JSSDF aid teams could get access. Asuka calls Fuyutsuki out over this as part of her "The Reason You Suck" Speech - requesting further N2 mine drops against Israfel would have been sensible, but Fuyutsuki was too worried about losing face.
  • In Code Geass: Lelouch of Britannia, Lelouch gains some favors from the Army high command by using his tactical genius to allow the underdog cadets to defeat the midshipmen at the Army-Navy football game.
  • In The Misfits Series, the antagonism between the X-Men and the Brotherhood has become this when the latter are adopted and rechristened by the G.I. Joes as the Misfits. While both groups fight against villains, including Magneto and Cobra, they rarely, if ever, get along.
  • A major plot point in Train of Consequences. Instead of the quick comraderies between the red rangers as seen in Forever Red, there is present hostilities between the Rangers aligned to Hexagon and those that aren't (particularly the Space Rangers and the Time Force rangers, in part because Jason believes that Karone and Erik "stole" their powers instead of earning them). It leads to both groups coming to blows during a training session that gets stopped by Leo and Aurico. The conflict gets brought down by placing Cole in charge of the team as a neutral member, and the Red Rangers are soon able to work together to stop the Machine Empire and destroy Serpentera.
  • Present in Wilhuff Tarkin, Hero of the Rebellion between the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy... But they all hate the efficiency experts and COMPNOR more, and are willing to put it on hold. The hatred for the efficiency experts is so deep that when Tarkin, who identifies himself as a naval officer, was forced to work with one, Tarkin was planning to get him Eaten Alive by a Hutt at the first chance and the crew of his Star Destroyer was giving the expert spoiled food and a constant stomacache (with Tarkin knowing), at least until Tarkin realize the efficiency expert actually knew his job and informed the crew.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for Laughs in 1941 with a truly epic all-services fight at the USO ("Ladies and gentlemen, everywhere I look... soldiers are fighting sailors, sailors are fighting Marines! Directly in front of me, I see... a flying blond floozy! Everywhere I look... everywhere, pure pandemonium... pandemonium!")
  • The original The Absent-Minded Professor. The Army and Air Force generals squabble with the Navy admiral over who should get the rights to Flubber.
  • Very notably averted in American Sniper. Both the protagonist and his fellow SEALs work side by side with the US Marines on a regular basis and there is never the slightest hint of animosity between the two branches. In fact, the Marines are glad to have Kyle and his boys watching their backs.
  • Apocalypse Now has a few examples, from the Chief's (Navy) dislike for the Army to Kilgore's (Air-Cav) utter contempt for the Airborne Rangers. It's implied but never stated that this is one of the causes of the clusterfuck that is America's conduct of The Vietnam War.
  • In Avatar, there is a slight Interservice Rivalry within the RDA post at Pandora. The scientists of the Avatar Program wish to have a peaceful negotiation with the Omaticaya, but the security force, led by Quaritch, wants to use lethal force against them.
  • The CIA vs. the FBI in Being There argue over Chance the gardener's true identity thus enhancing his mystique.
  • Captain Marvel (2019) shows that this problem is also present in the military of the alien Kree Empire, with the Starforce (special forces) looking down on the Accusers (the navy) for their habit of solving every problem by nuking planets from orbit.
  • In Conspiracy (2001), much of the tension at the table is provided by the rivalry between the SS, the Party Chancellery, the General Government, the Interior and Justice Ministries and the Office of the Four Year Plan. While the SS (who called the meeting) start out by portraying the conference as a free exchange of ideas concerning the "Jewish Question", it quickly becomes apparent that they have already started plans for the Final Solution and are merely using the conference to assert their authority and knock the other departments into line. The point where they stop pretending comes when the representative of the General Government angrily objects to death camps being built on their land without their knowledge or consent; one of the SS officers just grins and winks at him, and another officer describing the euthanasia process keeps talking as if uninterrupted. In Real Life, Adolf Hitler did invoke this style of rule. Having all these factions fighting with each other left him to reign supreme because they were all vying for his approval, and he thought it would result in the "strongest" prevailing over the others.
  • Crimson Tide. "I expect and demand your very best. Anything less? You should have joined the Air Force!" Said by The Captain in a Rousing Speech before boarding the boat.
  • From the Chevy Chase arms-merchant movie Deal of the Century, this is pretty much the funniest scene in the movie:
    General: [watches a faulty drone plane go berserk] This is a great day for the Air Force, Senator!
    Senator: [about ready to run for his life] Why is that, General?
    General: Because the Navy ordered twenty of those disasters!
  • Die Another Day has one between MI6 and the NSA, although most of it is on the NSA's part. Toward the climax of the movie M chews out her NSA counterpart for thinking this way and withholding relevant information, noting that they would have had an easier time finding Colonel Moon's mole in MI6 had they known that Moon and Miranda Frost had been on the Harvard fencing team together.
  • In Die Hard, the FBI vs local police (which is pretty much Truth in Television).
  • In A Few Good Men the various Marines, but especially Col. Jessup and Lt. Kendrick show fairly brazen disdain for the Navy, with the former going so far as to describe the Navy dress whites as indicative of homosexuality.
    Kendrik: I like you navy boys. Every time we gotta go fight somewhere, you always give us a ride.
  • In Follow the Fleet, there's a marines-vs-navy fistfight that starts pretty much for no reason. The marines swagger into a throng of sailors (who happen to be taking dancing lessons in hopes of impressing the girls when they go ashore), and suddenly fists are flying.
  • Also comically done in the Chilean movie Fuerzas Especiales (released stateside as Third World Cops), with the main plot being the conflict between the civil police and the investigation forces (with the latter collaborating in trafficking spiked Berliner doughnuts).
    • In Real Life, clashes between the Carabineros (the national police) and the PDI (Investigation Police) have even caused deaths from both sides.
  • Gangs of New York: The Municipal Police vs. the Metropolitan Police. (Also true of Real Life, apparently.)
  • Present in the Get Smart film, where all other agencies ridicule CONTROL, as they believe the organization should be shut down since KAOS was disbanded. They also have paintball tournaments.
  • Most Wanted: US Army General Woodward flings anti-Marine insults Dunn’s way quite frequently.
  • In Napoléon, the title character is disparaged for being in the artillery at the Siege of Toulon.
    General Carteaux: Remember this, young man; firstly, artillery is useless; and secondly...
    (A cannonball falls through the ceiling and the table they're sitting at, startling all the officers inside except Napoleon)
    Napoleon: And secondly, it is most unpleasant.
  • The President's Analyst has the stand-in agencies FBR and CEA in uncooperative corners over the title psychiatrist, more so when he drops out and goes missing. When a KGB agent suggests he may have to eliminate some FBR agents pursuing him, his CEA friend voices no problem with it.
  • In Jackie Chan's Project A there is a massive bar brawl between the Hong Kong Marines and the Hong Kong Police.
  • In full display during the astronaut tryouts in The Right Stuff, with Air Force pilots (Grissom, Cooper, Slayton) completing against Navy aviators (Shepard) competing against Marine pilots (Glenn) for spots in the Mercury Seven. Humorously shown during a scene where Glenn and Cooper must produce sperm samples, and each hums their respective service's anthem for, uh, inspiration, trying to drown each other out.
  • Done very subtly in Sherlock Holmes (2009); Dr. Watson and Captain Tanner, the operator of the trawler Holmes uses to navigate the Thames, are constantly bickering in the scenes they appear in together. Dr. Watson is, of course, an old army doctor, and it's revealed that Tanner is a retired navy man...
  • The Siege uses the trope extensively. For one, FBI Special Agent Hubbard (Washington's character) refuses to share information with CIA agent "Elise Kraft"/Sharon Bridger (Bening's character) without an official directive from his agency. Later, when the CIA kidnaps a suspect (whom the FBI wants for questioning) on U.S. soil, Hubbard's team raids the CIA safehouse where said suspect is kept and actually arrests the agents, including Elise, at gunpoint. Only very reluctantly does Hubbard finally cooperate with Kraft (they do become friends later on, though). The whole movie also gives off a soft CIA Evil, FBI Good vibe. And then, during the last third of the movie, there is a severe case of interservice rivalry between the FBI and the Army, after martial law is declared in New York, although it's likely that Hubbard has gone rogue and is acting alone at that point.
  • Starship Troopers: "Fleet does the flying, MI (Mobile Infantry) does the dying."
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Galactic Empire, the "mystics" — Dark Side users like Darth Vader, other agents such as the Inquisitors, etc. — and the regular Imperial military don't get along well: the mystics treat the regular military as expendable lackeys, and the regular military isn't happy about this, or about being ordered around in general by Dark Side users outside the regular chain of command. Some of them can get along on an individual basis, though: both Vader and Tarkin respected each other as men who could get results. Despite this, Dark Side Imperials are so feared that the regular military's hands are tied once they show up.
    • There's also a rivalry between the Imperial Navy (space fleets) and Imperial Army (ground forces), but it's much less pronounced. Apparently the Navy considers itself superior to the Army as expendable grunts, i.e. in the Solo film, when Han gets kicked out of Tie Fighter flight academy for insubordination, he's punished by being transferred into the regular Army, where he ends up fighting in muddy trench warfare.
      • Subverted between Stormtroopers and the Empire's other regular infantry forces (Navy Troopers and Army Troopers): the Stormtroopers consider themselves the better force, and the others agree, as the Stormtroopers are simply an all-volunteer force (and with strict physical standards) with better training and equipment, while the Navy Troopers are a specialist force used to guard ships and Navy installations and are more than happy to leave boarding actions to Stormtroopers, and the Army, that includes large numbers of conscripts, is content when they can play a support role and even welcomes the Stormtrooper Corps washouts (they have officer training, and having gone through standard infantry training they are on average much better lieutenants than normal military academy graduates). The Stormtroopers also know they depend on the regular Army for transportation and support, as they're an all-infantrymen force, but don't complain as their transport crews are the elite of the Imperial Army to match the Stormtroopers being elite infantry.
      • And then played completely straight between the CompForce and the rest of the Imperial military: to the CompForce, the other branches are insufficiently loyal, while everyone else resents CompForce as fanatics who can't shoot straight and only care about shooting and hold a grudge on the fact only them are considered sufficiently loyal to not have attached security platoons (that are drawn from CompForce to begin with). Imperial Navy officers are prone to do anything to confuse their CompForce observers just to not have to hear them complain, while their Army and Stormtrooper counterparts send them to get killed and use them as human shields just to get rid of them.
      • The Army-Stormtroopers rivalry is eventually also played straight, as Palpatine's favor for the latter meant a progressive reduction in numbers of the former and a degradation of general skills for the latter. By the time of The Mandalorian a former Imperial Army sniper defends his skill by claiming he was in the normal infantry and not a Stormtrooper.
    • The rivalry between mystics and regular military extends into the Empire's successor state, The First Order. Starting in The Force Awakens, we see the rivalry between the Dark Side wielder Kylo Ren, and General Hux of the regular military: once again, the "mystic" Kylo doesn't even hold a formal rank, but as the right hand of the Supreme Leader, he orders everyone including Hux around. Unlike Vader, however, Hux openly disagrees with Kylo on numerous occasions, and Supreme Leader Snoke treats them like bickering children rather than siding with one or the other. As for why Kylo doesn't just kill Hux, he's actually Snoke's top military commander, more akin to his Tarkin than his Admiral Ozzel, so he can't (their power dynamic is sort of like if Vader and Tarkin didn't get along well).
      • By The Rise of Skywalker, there's a clear split between Kylo and his "Knights of Ren" and the regular military, but there aren't nearly as many Force-wielders as there were during the Empire (they're more like his Praetorian Guard). But when the Sith Eternal forces of the Final Order on Exegol reveal themselves, this trope comes to the forefront once again. At the First Order high command meeting about joining their forces, Admiral Quinn interjects that he's not sure if they should trust them, as they're a bunch of "cultists and conjurors". Kylo responds by Force-choking him and slamming him into the ceiling (a complicated example though: Kylo is himself a "conjuror" and might have been insulted at that, but at the same time, he privately doesn't trust the Sith Eternal either, but wants to seize power over them to use their resources in securing his hold on the rest of the galaxy).
    • In both the Empire and the First Order, there's actually sort of a three-way split between the "mystics", the regular military, and the R&D divisions working on superweapons — such as the Death Star and Starkiller Base. In A New Hope, Admiral Motti insisted that the Death Star was more powerful than General Tagge's regular military, and scoffed at Vader for his "sorcerer's ways" (and was promptly Force-choked by Vader). Tarkin also loosely fell into the "R&D" camp in the sense that he was more than willing to use the Death Star over the regular military. In the Rebels cartoon series, we see a clear contrast between Grand Admiral Thrawn — who sees superweapons as gimmicky and inefficient, and would rather put those extensive resources towards improving their regular military units on a strategic level: the resources they blew on the Death Star could have built entire fleets of TIE Defenders, which are basically just a more powerful TIE Fighter capable of engaging X-Wings on equal footing — and Tarkin — who, while appreciating the usefulness of regular military forces, prefers to use the sheer terror factor from the use of superweapons to avoid fighting altogether.
      • In the First Order, we see this three-way split as well: in The Force Awakens Hux sort of straddled the line between regular military and R&D (a bit like Tarkin, as he's in charge of their new superweapon), but by The Rise of Skywalker, Allegiant General Pryde openly scorns him that the resources spent on Starkiller Base could have been spent on a larger fleet of Star Destroyers, instead of putting all their eggs in one basket. General Pryde is a bit of an odd case though, as he's a regular military commander who dislikes superweapons — but who is deeply loyal to "mystic" Emperor, and disagrees with Admiral Quinn about trusting them (Quinn is more the "straightforward military" guy).
  • The city police vs. highway patrol in Super Troopers.
  • Used for a quick laugh in S.W.A.T.. Jim Street is a former Navy SEAL and Sgt. Hondo Harrelson is a former Marine. During a car ride, Hondo asks Street what he did in the SEALs.
    Street: Besides rescue Marines when they got lost?
  • In This Is the Army one of the WWI Army vets is upset that his son volunteered for the Navy. When they went to see the "This Is the Army" Show Within a Show and a bunch of Navy guys showed up the son said, "Now you're gonna see something!" The old man responded: "Who do you think are playing the Navy guys?"
  • In Traitor, a high ranking CIA agent is chastised for the practice of "hoarding information" on potential terror threats from the FBI.
  • Averted in Transformers, where a special forces team is made up of members from several branches of the military (Lennox and most of the team are Army Special Forces, and Epps is an Air Force Combat Controller) with nary a word of disparagement between branch members. Yeah, one would hope that rivalry can be put aside against giant robot Alien Invasions.

    Literature 
  • A factor in 19 by Roger Hall: the title organization has infiltrated most if not all U.S. intelligence services, doing a better job of counterespionage than the official agencies can, and therefore they want to find it and shut it down, even though they realize it's on their side — if it exists at all, which they're not 100% sure of (it does). Also, at one point someone facetiously suggests that 19 is made up of super-intelligent extraterrestrials, and a CIA type comments that would be a good thing: "even the FBI could catch them if they glowed in the dark."
  • In Dale Brown's books, rivalry between the services of the military is just part of the trouble the protagonists get from supposedly-friendly forces. In Executive Intent this occurs between the GRU and the conventional Russian military, to their detriment.
    • In 'Hammerheads' all of the anti-drug agencies, along with several others, are merged into the Department of Border Security after the drug lords prove that they can engage and destroy the current American police opposition.
  • Cassandra Kresnov:
    • Violently between the Callay Security Agency and the Federation Intelligence Agency, a rivalry between state (planetary) and national agencies. The FIA is guilty of serious human rights abuses in the name of national security, including kidnapping Sandy, an Artificial Human, off the street and vivisecting her to study her physiology. The FIA's excesses are part of the reason Callay eventually unseats Earth as capital of the Federation.
    • The CSA also has one with the Senate Investigation Bureau, an agency that works for the Callayan legislature and which the CSA views, not without reason, as a bunch of politically motivated idiots who obstruct legit police work to score PR points.
  • In David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, more politicized police sometimes show up to suppress the truth about a terrorist attack (e.g. the message left at the scene of an assassination by the rebels, or the fact that a massacre of higher-ups took place at a depraved orgy establishment), causing no small bitterness among the more honest police.
  • Gone into at some length in various Tom Clancy works, in regards to the Soviet Union's various political forces:
    • The Hunt for Red October: the KGB chairman uses the defection of the Red October to undermine the Soviet navy’s power. The American characters state that even if the defection is discovered, there will be chaos in the Soviet Politburo as the factions blame each other.
    • The Cardinal of the Kremlin: Ryan uses the Red October defection to force the KGB chairman to defect. If he does not then the defection will be made public, along with the arrest of one of his best agents, and the fact that he gave the Soviet Politburo false information that resulted in the American diplomats gaining an advantage in the arms control talks. The chairman knows that if he does not defect then his enemies in the navy and GRU will use the information to destroy his career and humiliate him.
    • Red Storm Rising includes a lighthearted one between the US Navy and Royal Navy. As the frigates USS Reuben James and HMS Battleaxe are forming up as part of a convoy, Battleaxe sends a message asking, "What is a Reuben James?" The American captain fires back a quick-witted reply:
      At least we don't name ships for our mothers-in-law.
  • In Codex Alera, the castes of the Canim do not play well with each other, with especially their warrior and priestly castes being at each others' throats. In the third book, this becomes a major plot point, as a canim coalition army of several castes fails to take a strategically important bridge because the priest leading the army refuses to let the warriors take a major part of it. The warrior caste leader 'helps' the priest to a glorious death in battle with the Alarans and withdraws with minimal casualties to his own caste.
  • Steven Brust's Dragaera: The Phoenix Guards has rival groups of imperial guards as part of its pastiche of The Three Musketeers.
  • Touched on in Ender's Game in the conversation between Colonel Graff and Admiral Chamrajnagar, with the admiral loftily explaining that Graff's former students are "entering into the mysteries of the fleet [...] to which you, as a soldier, have never been introduced."
  • Elizabeth Moon: In the Familias Regnant book Once a Hero, the story takes place on a mobile shipyard where the chain of command is not enforced. The captain who is supposed to be the commanding officer must deal with constant demands and shouting matches from the admirals who lead the individual departments. The heroine comments on this terrible arrangement, later it becomes a problem when pirates attempt to capture the ship.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • The reason why Petty Officer Harkness has been passed over for Chief Petty Officer TWENTY times. While he is one of the RMN's best missile techs, he feels bound to point out how wrong it is to join the Marines to any Marine he meets when on liberty. With his fists. After he marries Sergeant Major Iris Babcock, RMMC, He gets better, if for no other reason than that she kicks his ass when he tries. It's revealed in a later book that the majority of the Marines regarded the fact that Harkness choose to fight them as a compliment, and when Harkness unofficially becomes the mentor of a green crewman who is being bullied, he takes the young man to the people he regards as the toughest, meanest, most capable people on the ship to learn how to defend himself...the onboard Marine contingent.
    • From the same series, the People's Republic Navy of Haven and StateSec. Early on, StateSec watchdogs would be assigned to PRN ships to keep them in line. later, they were given their own fleet of warships and ground forces. The PRN won the interservice rivalry. "Oops."
    • The chairman of the secret police planned to merge the entire Havenite military into a single organization to enforce his control.
    • The Solarian League Navy's Frontier Fleet and Battle Fleet cannot get along either.
    • On Basilisk Station: Johan Coglin says that the failure of Operation Odysseus will result in the Havenite espionage agencies blaming each other for the disaster.
    • This is later referenced in The Short Victorious War, the cabinet secretaries clash over how to solve financial crisis.
  • In David Weber's series Safehold series, the army fighting for the Corrupt Church is a hastily slapped together multinational force of Temple Loyalists, with units frequently being of heterogeneous composition. So not only is there conflict between the infantry, the cavalry and the fledgling artillery, there are also conflicts between the officers of nation A now being forced to serve alongside (or possibly under) officers of nation B, who has been a cultural enemy for centuries and has totally different doctrine as to what to do with the various branches of the service, not to mention the conflicts between career military, nobles who received high rank because of their political connections, the church officials in the regions being fought over, and the Inquisition. This plays a major role in why the church loses.
  • In the William Johnstone novel Hunted, after the discovery of an immortal shapeshifter, the FBI sends people to track him down and find out his secret. When the CIA finds out what's happening, they send their own agents to try and one-up the FBI. The U.S. Air Force gets wind of this and sends a man to try and get the secret for the military. Then the NSA, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army all send investigators of their own, without much of an idea of what's going on, due to sensing that something big is happening and not wanting the other services to beat them to it.
  • In the French novel series Langelot, there's a rivalry between the two French counterespionage agencies depicted: the fictional secretive shadow agency S.N.I.F (where the titular main protagonist is an agent of) and the Real Life D.S.T. The D.S.T. resents the S.N.I.F.'s secretive nature and wish they would be put in the same front and light as them, while the S.N.I.F. basically considers the D.S.T. as a bunch of pompous and dull idiots.
  • Endemic in The Laundry Files by Charles Stross. Many members of an above-top-secret agency that combats Eldritch Abominations consider its archenemy to be ... Human Resources. Political maneuvering among various managers—and the protagonist always has two—feeds the conflict as much or more than brain-eating horrors from other universes.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series. Usually between the Marines and the Navy, but in Invincible, a naval officer speaks with pride of the Marines to a ground forces general (Navy and Marines are also natural allies against the Army and system aerospace services in bar fights). There are also system defense forces, which are a separate branch that also has a rivalry with the Navy. The only exceptions are "code monkeys" (computer techs) who happily cooperate across services and have their own code of conduct. Everyone else thinks they're weird.
  • This shows up a lot in Hamilton's Matt Helm series. The Intriguers involves an actual shooting war between two different agencies. There is also rivalry between Helm's fictional unnamed agency and the CIA.
  • Several stories in George MacDonald Fraser's McAuslan series focus on the cordial hatred between various branches of the British Armed Forces. Between Army and Navy, between English and Scots regiments, between Highland and Lowland regiments, between Guards regiments and everyone else and between Highland regiments with different clan affiliations. Lieutenant MacNeill has to break up a few fights between McAuslan and a group of sailors, and recommends the following:
    "Be friendly. Fraternise with them. They were on our side in the war, you know."
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians has this between the cabins. This is particularly evident in The Last Olympian, where Ares Cabin refuses to fight due to a dispute with Apollo Cabin
  • The Space Legion and the Regular Army in the Phule's Company novels do not get on. The Army sees the Legion as a bunch of criminals and weirdos who would never have made it in a proper military unit, and the Legion, well, sees the Army as the sort of people who think that.
  • In the William Tenn 1954 short-short story "Project Hush", the US Army sends a team to establish a small super-secret base on the Moon. As they dig in, they discover to their surprise and horror there's already a similar camouflaged base not far away. Are they Russians, Chinese, Martians? Worse — it's the US Navy!
  • Defied by Jack Crawford in Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. Serial killers are his territory, but he's more than happy to cooperate with local police (even pointing out in the former that he could care less if Dolarhyde gets hit by a truck, as long as it gets him off the streets).
  • The bad feeling between spacemen and the Special Order Squadrons in Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet by Blake Savage (pseudonym of Harold Goodwin).
  • Schooled in Magic: In Sergeant's Apprentice, the various branches of the army don't get along, such as the archers and muskets hating each other over competing roles, and the cavalry being, A, annoyed by the decision to defend a city (where they wouldn't see much use) and B, being a bunch of Upper Class Twits with only contempt for common-born superior officers.
  • Army/Royal Navy rivalry shows up in one of the Sharpe novels, with command friction between Sharpe and a naval officer who only outranks him when on the ship.
  • The Short-Timers, a novel of The Vietnam War by Gustav Hasford, which the film Full Metal Jacket was based on, gives us this gem:
    Lieutenant Shortround says, "Okay, Mother, where'd you souvenir the chow?" Animal Mother spits. He grins, baring rotten teeth. "I stole it." "You stole it, sir." "Yeah, I stole it...sir." "That's looting. They shoot people for that." "I stole it from the Army... sir." "Outstanding. It is part of your duty as a Marine to harass our sister services. Carry on."
  • Star Carrier:
    • The first book, Earth Strike, has a few moments of this played for laughs, with USNA Marine Corps and Navy personnel exchanging some good-natured ribbing and Marine General Gorman grumping about having to be bailed out by "damned Navy zorchies."
    • More seriously, there's tension between the European and American ships, especially in Singularity after the Europeans get sent after Admiral Koenig to reel him in after he exceeds his orders. He had also left early to get his offensive Operation Crown Arrow underway before it could be scrubbed in favor of yet another defensive op. It very briefly gets violent, but cooler heads prevail, and most of the European captains actually mutiny, sending their admiral home and joining Koenig.
  • Touched upon briefly in Starship Troopers. Johnny points out that the Navy think of the Mobile Infantry as obsolete, that he feels the same way about them... and admits they're both wrong. Interestingly, the C-in-C, given the rank of "Sky Marshal", is always someone who has ascended to high rank (while starting, in each case, from the very bottom) in both Navy and MI.
  • Common in the Star Trek Novelverse.
    • In the Klingon Empire, the Klingon Defense Force and Imperial Intelligence hold each other in considerable distaste. In particular, there's a subplot in Star Trek: Klingon Empire involving I.I's displeasure with Captain Klag, and his Honor Before Reason tactics. Also, in the Star Trek: The Lost Era novel The Art of the Impossible, Captain Qaolin of the Defence Force and his Imperial Intelligence liaison really don't like each other - again, because the berserker battle-hungry tendencies of the warriors clash with I.I's "dishonourable" sneakiness and caution.
    • The early novel The Final Reflection has this between the Klingon Space Navy and Marines. It's the pretext for a kind of Human Chess game between a Navy and a Marine officer that ends with the Marine side cheating and the player being summarily executed by his superior. A scene later in the book implies that much the same attitude exists between Starfleet and its marines.
    • The Romulan military takes its codes of honour, and the passionate brotherhood between warriors, very seriously. The cool, passionless underhanded tactics of the Tal Shiar intelligence agency therefore offend them, as does their tendency to question a warrior's loyalty. The Tal Shiar, for their part, view the military leadership as inbred, unimaginative fools.
      • Exploited by the Dominion in the Star Trek: Myriad Universes story "A Gutted World". As losses mount in a war with the Klingons and Federation, the military blames the Tal Shiar for giving them bad intelligence while the Tal Shiar thinks the military are just too arrogant to listen to their advice. Neither side realizes go-between Koval has been replaced by a Changeling who ensures a lack of communication to drag the war out longer to set up a Dominion invasion.
    • In the Cardassian Empire, Interservice Rivalry is endemic, particularly between the Central Command and the Obsidian Order. In the first Terok Nor novel, Skrain Dukat sums up Central Command's angle on the Order:
      "The Obsidian Order represented everything that was cancerous about Cardassia; they were an institutionalized form of decay that preyed on the military and the people even as they pretended to serve the same ends as Central Command."
      • In one novel, we find out that the Central Command has their own intelligence-gathering branch. Naturally, the Obsidian Order sees them as inferior. This is likely intended to mirror the Stalin-era rivalry between the NKVD and the GRU.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: The Short Story Last Call at the Zero Angle reveals there is a pretty big rivalry between the TIE pilots of the army (ground-hogs) and navy (vac-heads). They do not get along due to the navy pilots getting all the glory while flying in atmosphere takes more skill. That being said, some pilots in both branches refuse to take part in the rivalry and try to encourage more cooperation and mixing. At the end of the story, that divide no longer exists when it is announced that both branches are being folded into one after the destruction of the Death Star.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • X-Wing Series: Hinted at between various branches of the New Republic military.
      • There's a fair amount of jockeying between X-wing pilots and A-wing pilots. A-wings are very pleased with the speed of their crafts and bring it up every chance they get. The accepted response is to ask, "What killed the Death Stars, again?"
      • Also, between X-wing pilots and Y-wing ones. Y-wings are outdated and rough-edged, and the pilots less expertly trained, but make up a good portion of the Republic fighter force. Probably doesn't help that Horton Salm, the local Y-wing commander, is a strict, mostly by-the-book officer, as compared to Wedge Antilles, who takes a more laid-back approach to leadership.
    • In Allegiance, Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand—an all-purpose agent working directly for Palpatine—expresses her distaste for the Imperial Security Bureau, usually called the ISB. The ISB is tasked with maintaining "morale and loyalty" among the Imperial Military, and they have a nasty reputation. Mara believes that the ISB is a necessary evil, but she also thinks that there's just too much evil and not enough necessary, and indeed, later in the book two ISB stormtroopers betray her. The regular stormtrooper corps don't like them either.
    • New Jedi Order:
      • The various castes of the Yuuzhan Vong empire prove somewhat susceptible to this. The warriors, shapers (who create and maintain all of the Vong's biotechnology), intendants (bureaucrats), and priests of various gods (including the disciples of Yun-Harla the Deceiver, who form the Vong spy apparatus) all have more or less mutually exclusive ideas on how to prosecute the war and parcel out their resources. Cooperation at any level higher than having a few shapers aboard a warship to keep it running is a laborious process overseen by the intendants, who have their own internal politics to consider... and that's not even considering the rivalries between different domains in the same caste. The only reason this isn't more of a disaster is that the usual Vong reaction to a fiasco is to execute both offending domains.
      • Downplayed between the Jedi and the New Republic Defense Force. Several Jedi also have NRDF commissions, and Jaina Solo becomes a pilot in Rogue Squadron during the war. She's given the callsign "Sticks", on grounds that her X-Wing's control yoke is one stick, and her lightsaber hilt is another. Luke Skywalker also once gets in an argument with a New Republic politician who wants the Jedi Order merged with the regular military, both to improve coordination and to make the Jedi subject to the regular military justice system.
  • Among the Knights Radiant in Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive, the Windrunners and the Skybreakers had a major rivalry between them due to their missions often clashing. A large part of this is due to falling on opposite sides of the To Be Lawful or Good debate, with Windrunners (whose mission is to protect those who cannot protect themselves erring on Good and Skybreakers (whose mission is to uphold the law) erring on Lawful.
  • In the Temeraire series, the Aerial Corps (made up of Dragon Riders) is looked down on by the other branches of the armed forces. Conversely, Laurence initially faces a lot of hostility in the Aerial Corps because he started out in the Navy.
  • Temple by Matthew Reilly takes this Up to Eleven, with the US Army, Navy and Air Force literally fighting each other (and the Department of Defense component DARPA, and neo-Nazis, and another terrorist group) over a superweapon capable of causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Terms Of Enlistment by Marko Kloos has one between the North American Marines and the Territorial Army (the one fights wars on other planets, the other handles wars on Earth). There's a scene where some Marines visiting Andrew Grayson's base and get into a Bar Brawl with the TA grunts in the mess hall. Afterwards, the base CO reams them out and assigns additional PT because they should've been able to take that many Marines.
  • The Cardinal's men vs. the Musketeers in The Three Musketeers.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: In The Vor Game, one villain talks about how he regrets the lack of interservice rivalry in the military he's serving in — he feels it gave the top brass more leverage when dealing with mutineers.
    Metzov: In the event of a mutiny, you could always persuade the Army to shoot the Navy, or vice versa, when they could no longer discipline themselves. A hidden disadvantage to a combined service like ours.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, some friendly raillery occurred between some Ghosts and a Naval officer about what is the proper way to fight. The Ghosts had the Navy bombard a position too Chaos-tainted for the Ghosts to take on foot. Much more serious inter-regimental rivalries occurred in First & Only (where a raid by the Jantine Patricians on the Ghosts killed three men, and later the full regiment takes on the Ghost's rearguard, exterminating the 50 men and losing three hundred of their own) and Ghostmaker (where a general bombarded a position knowing the Ghosts were there).
    • In Blood Pact, Inquisition vs. Commissariat. Or so it appears.
    • Double Eagle, the spin-off novel which features Imperial pilots as main protagonists, shows the natural competition between different squadrons lifted Up to Eleven with the elite and incredibly arrogant Apostles. In addition, many of the major characters are from Phantine squadrons, which are part of the Imperial Guard, while virtually every other squadron on the planet is from the Imperial Navy.
    • In William King's Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, the Wolf Lord Berek arrived to back up his subordinate in a conflict between the Space Wolves and the Inquisition explicitly because the Space Wolves do not give up what they have won — even prisoners.
    • Ciaphas Cain:
      • For the Emperor has an intraservice rivalry after a shortsighted Administratum orders two half-strength Imperial Guard units from Valhalla amalgamated without regard for the fact the 296th is an all-female garrison support regiment and the 301st an all-male planetary assault regiment. Then the Navy gets dragged in when several soldiers and spacers are killed in a Bar Brawl. Six soldiers are sentenced to death to placate the Navy, Cain commutes the sentences to service in a penal legion to placate the Guard, and then he works to resolve the morale problem by renaming the regiment the 597th (296+301). It ultimately works a little too well: Cain later obliquely mentions having to handle the odd Surprise Pregnancy on top of his normal duties.
      • In The Traitor's Hand, Cain tangles with an old rival from the Military Academy, commissar of an ultra-religious regiment from Tallarn. He and his soldiers take an irrational dislike to the 597th for little more reason than that it's still about half-female, including its commanding officer Colonel Regina Kasteen. When the Tallarns pull out of an inter-regiment hand-to-hand combat tournament because the Valhallans put women on their team, Corporal Mari Magot promptly tracks down the captain of the Tallarn team and administers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on general principles.
      • In The Last Ditch, the 597th is working with the newly created Nusquan 1st regiment, which has an equally green commissar. When the newbie complains about the 597th not following the Nusquans' Zerg Rush tactics, arguing they're not doing their duty to the Emperor, Col. Kasteen accurately retorts that the 597th is inflicting twice as many enemy casualties as the 1st while taking less than a third.
  • In the Aiel War in the backstory of the Wheel of Time series, this is one of the many reasons the "Grand Alliance" has trouble standing up to the Aiel invasion, though eventually they pull things together and arrange a rotation of generals. Well, what do you expect when the Aes Sedai and the Children of the Light are fighting on the same side?
  • In the Worldwar: Colonization trilogy, Secretary-General Vyacheslav Molotov does this deliberately to keep either Lavrentiy Beria's NKVD or Georgy Zhukov's GRU from becoming powerful enough to overthrow him, knowing the other agency would support Molotov. Beria tries anyway, kidnapping Molotov and hiding him away in an NKVD prison. Fortunately for Molotov, Zhukov figures out where he is and brings the Red Army to liberate the Secretary-General, with Beria ending up killed during the firefight. After this, the NKVD is disbanded, the remaining loyal elements integrated into GRU. However, this leaves Molotov effectively at the mercy of Zhukov, who, while having no political ambitions himself, isn't above using the military to push Molotov towards a certain decision.
  • Kris Longknife:
    • Played for laughs in Audacious. Kris goes on PT with the Marine guards at the Wardhaven Embassy on New Eden and is handed a sweatshirt in Navy blue and gold... with a bulls-eye on the back.
    • In Bold the United Society Navy's Battle Force (battleships) and scout force (cruisers and destroyers) are arguing over who has authority over the battlecruisers built for the war against the Horde of Alien Locusts, which Kris commanded in action in the two preceding books. She takes a third option at the end of the book and becomes head of Battlecruiser Force. In the short story "Kris Longknife's Bad Day", it's five years later and she's still fighting for her battlecruisers: she believes, not without reason, that they obsolete the other classes,note  but she faces considerable resistance from the old line and various entrenched interests (including her own grandfather's corporation, which has an exclusive contract to build battleships for Wardhaven).
  • War-themed thriller Victoria is (notionally) the memoirs of a former Marine officer, and as a result, the narration contains plenty of cracks at the other services, the Air Force in particular. There are also in-story frictions between the services, though these are not as serious as in much genre fiction.
  • City of Bones by Martha Wells: Both the Warder Magic Knights and the Trade Inspectors/Justices function as a sort of police force in Charisat, though their priorities and methods are usually very different. When they both get involved in the same case, there is demonstrated antipathy and mistrust between them.
  • Anton Chekhov's short stories - adapted into the play The Good Doctor by Neil Simon - includes a sketch involving a retired Army man and a retired Navy man, who get together every Tuesday for the express purpose of arguing with each other on some random topic, just to be contrarian to the other (i.e. "what food constitutes the best lunch").
  • The Machineries of Empire: Within the Galactic Superpower's military Kel faction, the voidmoth navy tend to look down on infantry as "garden Kel" and give them short shrift when they have to work together. Ironically, this gives an infantry unit the leeway to kill the Big Bad.
    Jedao: You were looking at the fucking moths. Next time look at the fucking people.
  • In R.S Belcher's The Brotherhood of the Wheel, the Brotherhood is the descendant organization of the Knights Templar. Dedicated to improving the lot of humanity, they have 3 branches - the Builders (they provide research and development into the supernatural and new technologies), the Benefactors (who deal with increasing the Brotherhood's wealth and political power), and the Brethren (the combat wing who protect humanity and its transportation routes from supernatural threats and psychopaths). Unfortunately the branches don't work well with each other. The Brethren members often live paycheque to paycheque from their dayjob and their forces are dwindling from attrition plus their resources are surprisingly limited (one Brethren-affiliated biker gang had to trade one of their motorcycles to skinheads to get a military flamethrower). They also get put on hold a lot when it comes to receiving intelligence from the Builders. The Builders are heavily Ivory Tower, often only accepting academic information, so they sit on the field reports of the Brethren. Meanwhile the Benefactors can be very stingy to the other branches with the Illuminati-level wealth and influence they have and some of the Benefactors take hostile action against individual Builders that they feel are borderline renegades.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Jaime who serves in King's Guard has nothing but contempt for the Night's Watch. He subtly mocks Jon Snow's decision to join it in the first episode. Then there's this quote from the Season 5 Blu-ray lore.
    Jaime: [The Kingsguard] holds no lands, take no wives and father no children, like the Night's Watch except with a real job to do.
  • Santa Barbara Police Department vs. Coast Guard in Psych. Chief Vick's sister was the leader of the Coast Guard.
  • Constantly averted in The Wire. The broke and understaffed Baltimore City police would love nothing more than the FBI taking over a case or two. Unfortunately, the FBI's superiors are only concerned with terrorism investigations, rather than the drugs and crimes that plague Baltimore — although a certain degree of under the table assistance is rendered by sympathetic FBI agents.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • In Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, Air Force characters have made several references to an ongoing rivalry with their Marine coworkers (and, less frequently, their scientist coworkers).
    • There's also a constant rivalry with the N.I.D about who gets what piece of alien technology.
    • For the most part, though, interservice rivalry is implausibly averted. The USAF's technical expertise seems only exceeded by its success in defending its budget. Even though each service would have compelling arguments for an equal or superior share of a joint command, the Army (U.S. Army Special Forces, most missions call for infantry more than anything) and Navy (expertise running large vessels called "ships," the USMC, Navy SEALs) departments evidently are happy to let the Air Force run the show. The fact that the SGC is still not a joint command after 10+ years is one of the greatest triumphs in the history of Pentagon politics.
    • In another implausible aversion, the Air Force operates a Space Navy, for the most part using typical Space Navy terminology. Arguably, the Real Life Air Force would more likely classify "starships" as aircraft which just happen to be very, very large. Use of Navy terminology simply poses the unwanted question of why the Navy isn't more heavily involved.
    • In Stargate Continuum, Carter and Mitchell both make faces when Landry implies that if their universe gets a Stargate program, it will be run by the Navy.
    • Occasionally a bit of Real Life Interservice Rivalry pops up with regard to plot developments that are often nixed in Backed by the Pentagon productions. For example, the plot of the film The Sum of All Fears was altered to have terrorists merely severely damage a U.S. aircraft carrier, as opposed to sinking/destroying it outright. In one SG-1 episode, the Goa'uld destroy an entire U.S. Navy carrier battle group... which the Department of the Air Force technical advisors evidently had no problem with! FWIW, "destroyed by Aliens" may be less a problem for the military in general, than "destroyed by the Russians".
  • Just about any Police Procedural featuring repeated visits from Internal Affairs. These include, but are not limited to the various CSI Verse shows, the various Law & Order shows and Monk.
  • Shows with two rival Internal Affairs groups include JAG, NCIS and Seven Days.
    • A light-hearted example occurs in NCIS: Los Angeles when an Army Delta unit rescues Callen and Sam from a team of Delta imposters. Upon finding out that Sam was a Navy SEAL, the Delta leader quips, "We're always happy to save you lifeguards." Hetty notes that Deltas are the only ones who can get away with calling SEALs "lifeguards."
  • Sometimes MI 5 vs. MI 6 in Spooks, sometimes it's Jurisdiction Friction.
  • This flares up from time to time between the various branches of the government's federal agencies in 24.
  • Played for laughs between the Home Guard and the ARP Wardens in Dad's Army.
  • The White Collar team once got interrupted by the local police. Meanwhile, they themselves ended up getting in the way of Interpol.
  • Yes, Minister revolved around conflict between elected governments and the permanent civil service. In one episode, Minister of Administrative Affairs Jim Hacker goes to his predecessor in the other party for advice on how to deal with Sir Humphrey:
    Annie Hacker: But he's the opposition!
    Jim Hacker: He's the opposition in exile. Sir Humphrey is the opposition in residence.
  • "I'm so sick of Congress right now that I could vomit." (a recurrent feeling for the characters from The West Wing)
    • From Leo: "A first-time Congressman was excited for his first vote, saying 'Where are the Republicans? I want to meet the enemy'. An older, more experienced Representative replies 'No no no, the Republicans are the opposition. The Senate's the enemy"
  • In the Home Improvement episode "'Twas the Night Before Chaos", Tim tries to get his father-in-law, who happens to be an army vet, to help him put up his Christmas display to beat his long-time rival, an eighty-something retired proctologist. He doesn't want to get involved in their rivalry until Tim mentions that the man was in the navy. Then he's only too eager to beat "that navy butt doctor."
  • A hilarious episode of M*A*S*H has the doctors endure an unexploded aerial bomb dropped from their own side in the middle of the camp, and to defuse it they have to find out which branch of the military uses that kind of explosive. It doesn't help that this is all taking place during the Army vs. Navy football game that everyone's following. The bomb actually belongs to the CIA... - and it's filled with propaganda leaflets signed by Douglas MacArthur urging their recipients to surrender.
  • The rivalry between two of the branches of the High Guard in Andromeda is a textbook example. The Argosy (fleet officers) dislike the Lancer Corps (ground troops), calling them "rock hoppers". The Lancers reciprocate with "Aggros" for fleet officers. Even the AIs participate in the rivalry, when Rommie insults a Lancer troop transport.
  • Most of the times the FBI is involved an episode of Law & Order, it's in a "them vs. us" role, though on occasion, they work together. On the law side, the ADA finds its federal equivalent more often working against him/her than with her/him.
  • Played for laughs in one episode of The Unit. Part of Bob Brown's initiation into the Unit, an Army black ops squad, involved picking a bar fight with some Navy guys on shore leave.
  • The Vegas episode "Exposure" has a couple moments of ribbing between Sheriff Lamb, a former Army MP, and the Air Force investigator assigned to his Case of the Week.
  • CSI
    • A friendly version has the LVPD playing another group in a baseball game.
    • A bigger one is some of the police vs. the crime lab. Sophia wasn't happy about being assigned to the lab, and neither was Brass initially.
  • CSI: NY:
    • NYPD vs FDNY. One episode had a hockey game between the two. As expected, a brawl ensues.
      • Averted by Mac and his FDNY buddy, who have a standing bet on the outcome of the matches. Loser buys the winner dinner. In the season 9 opener, Mac tells his friend he's tired of losing...5 in a row at that point.
    • Internally, the pure detectives tend to look down on Mac's team, seeing them as nerds/geeks. Danny notices this when he becomes a sergeant for a few episodes.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • Star Trek: Enterprise
      • Earth Cargo Service against the early Starfleet. In the episode "Horizon", Ensign Travis Mayweather is berated by his brother about how recruits would rather join Starfleet than ECS.
      • Deconstructed in the later episode "Harbringer". There's some rivalry between Military Assault Command Operations (MACO) officer Major Hayes and Starfleet Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, implying tension between the two organizations. Things escalate into a fistfight... which leads to Captain Archer thoroughly chewing both of them out.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
      • Early on there's a bit of a rivalry between Starfleet and the Bajoran Militia, with Major Kira in particular not liking having to work for Commander Sisko. They warm up to each other. (The use of Army ranks for the Militia doesn't hurt the allusion.)
      • Odo, also an officer of the Militia (based on his uniform if nothing else), has his own way of doing things and very much dislikes it when Starfleet tries to insert itself in his work, whether by actively interfering or forcing him to work according to their legal code. He even tries to resign at the beginning of season three when a lieutenant commander from Starfleet Security is assigned to the station, and humiliates Worf for wrecking an undercover operation after the latter was repeatedly told to leave it alone (Worf was chief of security in his last post, but is now part of the station's strategic planning staff).
      • Among Cardassians, Central Command and the Obsidian Order, the one being regular military, the other being the Secret Police. This is a source of some of the friction between Dukat and Garak. (See also the section above on Star Trek Novel Verse.)
    • Star Trek: Voyager set one up internal to Voyager by combining the remnants of a Starfleet crew with the remnants of a Maquisnote  crew they had been sent to capture. This was meant to create tension between the characters but was mostly ignored aside from a few first-season episodes.
  • Based as it was in Real Life, the way the SS and regular German forces looked at each other in Hogan's Heroes. When SS personnel or units suffered some misfortune, Klink was never heartbroken.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The GROPOS (Marines) and Navy types seem to have a mutual disdain for each other, though this isn't seen much as the station is run by EarthForce navy. The station's fighter squadrons also seem to enjoy good-natured (mostly) ribbing of each other.
    • In the season 5 Distant Finale "Sleeping In Light", an EarthForce officer indicates disdain for the Rangers, the paramilitary group that acts as the Interstellar Alliance's elite forces.
  • The Musketeers and the Red Guard loathe each other and would love nothing more than to see the other humiliated. It doesn't help that their leaders Treville and Cardinal Richelieu consistently clash with each other.
  • Good News Week: Invoked by Paul McDermott when John Howard's government was considering sending in the army to deal with a docks dispute:
    "No, no, no. You send the navy in to deal with a dock strike. You send the army to deal with a coal miners' strike, and you send the air force in to deal with a pilots' strike. Otherwise, the navy, army, and air force get into a big demarcation dispute and go out on strike, and the government has to send in the wharfies to defend us against invasion! Which isn't a bad idea - when those wharfies cover the coastline, nothing gets ashore!
  • Played for laughs with the Parks Department/Library Services enmity on Parks and Recreation. The fact that ex-spouses Ron and Tammy 2 are the respective heads probably has an effect.
  • At the beginning of the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, US Air Force, is rather upset to learn that his son said he wanted to join the Navy when he grew up. On a more serious note, a sizable part of that season features Director Coulson trying to resolve the rivalries and outright hostilities between SHIELD and just about everyone else in the post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier world.
    • For the first part of season 3, SHIELD also finds itself in conflict with the ATCU, a new organization put together to deal with the widespread outbreak of new Inhumans. Coulson eventually puts together a working compromise between the two groups, saying that he's tired of fighting people they should be working with.
  • Cold Case: Turns up in the episode "Shore Leave". A marine bound for the Korean War was murdered while on furlough in Philadelphia. He was known to have rubbed several sailors up the wrong and beaten the navy champion in a shipboard boxing match, so the cold case team wonders if his murder could have been a case of interservice rivalry getting out of hand, especially after they learn he ventured into a navy bar. However, a flashback reveals that the sailors did resent his presence there and would have beaten him up, only he was threatened by a civilian, which caused all of the sailors to rally behind him.
  • An episode of That '70s Show has Red, a navy veteran who served in combat during World War II and the Korean War, miffed that Bob, who was a member of the National Guard and never saw combat, is allowed to march in the Veterans Day parade.
  • You name it and Danny Reagan has probably fought with it on Blue Bloods; FBI, US Marshals, his local District Attorney investigators. Also, as with several stories focusing on the NYPD, there is a butting of heads between the PD and the Fire Department that crops up occasionally.
  • The Pacific: The Marines on Guadalcanal aren't pleased when the Army arrives—especially because they're better supplied. Almost immediately, when the Army hears air raid sirens and takes cover (not knowing that the air raids never take place on their side of the island), the marines happily raid their supplies for newer rifles, better food, and some luxuries like fancy shoes, cigars, and liquor. Later episodes also feature some Marines/Seabees rivalry, although that has more to do with the Seabees being noncombatants than anything else.
  • The various departments behind the scenes in Westworld squabble with and belittle each other constantly. Behavior, Quality Assurance, Narrative, and Livestock Management are all mentioned. Manufacturing is possibly referenced as "the body shop", but that could be the repair guys in LM too.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "The Frogs and the Lobsters": The Royal Navy and British Army barely tolerate each other, but neither of them gets along well with the French royalists. They are assigned to a joint mission in France and are supposed to fight against the French Revolutionaries.
  • Downplayed forms of this pop up occasionally on Burn Notice:
    • Sam is a retired Navy SEAL, (Navy special operations, generally regarded as one of the most elite units in the U.S. military) and while he has friends from every branch of the military and intelligence services and shows respect to them, he also has a tendency to good-naturedly tease all of these other groups. For example, in the first episode he teases his longtime friend and CIA agent Michael by calling spies "a bunch of bitchy little girls", and a couple of seasons later when the U.S. Coast Guard is mentioned Sam jokingly refers to it as "the Navy's little sister." One of the very few times Sam ever lost his cool with a Villain of the Week is when the guy put together that Sam was ex-military and mockingly guessed that Sam was in the Coast Guard, which infuriated Sam so much he briefly lost concentration and the guy then got the better of Sam in a short bit of hand to hand combat.
      Milovan: What were you, before you became a rich man's errand boy? A cop? [Later] I was wrong. You are an ex-military. Washed up, soft now, but I see. [Laughs derisively] What were you, a Coast Guard?
      Sam: [Gets in Milovan's face, genuinely furious] Try Navy SEAL, pal.
    • A criminal version occurs when Fiona points out that there's a very big divide among smugglers when it comes to gun smugglers versus people smugglers, and the two groups don't like each other much.
  • In The Expanse, Bobbie Draper was a Martian Space Marine and Cotyar a member of Earth's Military Intelligence. When the two are forced to work as a team, one of the first things they do is share some choice insults about each other's past military experience.
    Bobbie: [After seeing Cotyar expertly handle a gun] You served?
    Cotyar: SIGINT, back in the day.
    Bobbie: [voice dripping with disdain] Ah, Military "Intelligence".
    Cotyar: Yeah, my IQ tested too high to be a Marine.
    Bobbie: And your morals tested low enough to be a spy.
  • Comes up repeatedly on Bones, particularly the Army-Navy version.note 
    Booth: How could a guy with military training miss with a scattergun? What were you, Navy?

    Sports 
  • Army vs. Navy in NCAA college football — or anything else:
    • Neither West Point or the US Naval Academy have been serious contenders in the NCAA for decades, but the rivalry is so notorious that it's one of the most anticipated games of the football season. It is traditionally held the weekend after the conference championship games and serves as both the last game of the regular season and the last game until the bowl games and playoffs begin in late December.
    • The US Navy's official song "Anchors Aweigh", as originally composed, is about the Navy beating the army in the Army vs Navy football game. The song was written in 1906 and the lyrics wouldn't be modified to be "all Navy" until 1926.
    • And with perhaps slightly less intensity whenever Army or Navy plays Air Force; the Air Force simply hasn't been around as long, so the rivalry hasn't truly had a chance to really fester, you know? Even though the Air Force Academy has won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy more often than either of its opponents, The Army-Navy Game is still the one taken the most seriously. So seriously, in fact, that despite the fact that neither Army nor Navy have been truly relevant to the college football championship scene in years, their game is still considered one of the premier rivalry games in the nation.
  • Lower on the rungs of College Sports in Division III, the United States Coast Guard Academy faces the Merchant Marine Academy every year for the Secretaries Cup (formerly known as the "Secretary's Cup", when the two academies were both part of the Department of Transportation. Now that the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, the name has been pluralized.)
  • Across the pond, teams from the British Army and Royal Navy play a rugby match against each other every year. There are also interservice sports events in other sports as well, such as cricket and association football.
  • It happens between countries too (having sports teams face-off is so much easier than war!), as America's West Point and Canada's Royal Military College have hockey games when their regular-season schedules allow them to.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Delta Green: Delta Green itself is a conspiracy formed by various government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, DEA, US Marshals, NSA among others, PCs and NPCs tend to have a rivalry because most will have a government background.
    • Delta Green and MJ-12 used to have this in the short period where both officially worked for the US government. The rivalry continued after Delta Green was disbanded, although more hostile and lethal.
    • The new sourcebooks feature two Delta Greens; the Special Access Program, a reactivated, officially sanctioned version, and "the Cowboys", DG Agents who refused to come in from the cold and thus operate as vigilantes.
  • Paranoia has eight service groups: Armed Forces, Central Processing Unit (the bureaucracy), HPD&MC (housing and "mind control" - propaganda), Internal Security (who does policing work too), Production, Logistics and Commissary (food vats, outfitting), Power Services (Power is power!), R&D (Research and Design) and Technical Services. They all work for the smooth running of Alpha Complex. They compete. And in the new version Friend Computer introduced capitalism and outsourcing to service firms, making the competition officially sanctioned! Isn't that wonderful?
    • What's with those Pot Holes? Are you implying that Friend Computer is not perfect? You Commie mutant traitor!
    • Speaking of Commies, the Commie-run Alpha State has eight similar groups, all of which have their own official espionage arms attached (parodying the Real Life situation in the USSR, see that section).
    • Then there's the Troubleshooters, whose members continue to work for their original service group between missions. Many others get jealous, as it's interesting (albeit dangerous) work and can be a fast track to promotion.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • The various chapters of Space Marines in occasionally develop rivalries.
      • The Space Wolves and Dark Angels have an ancestral grudge, going back to a duel fought between their respective founders ten thousand years earlier. This is nowadays mostly calm, and a confrontation between them is more likely to end in a series of ritualized non-lethal duels and other tests of skill than outright warfare.
      • The Space Wolves seem to have a habit of forming rivalries with other chapters more so than any other, particularly if the chapter in question has a high reliance on psykers, which always gets them riled up (despite their own Rune Priests being psykers in all but name). A perfect example would be their relationship with the Blood Ravens which is especially ironic if they are indeed descended of the Thousand Sons, the Traitor Legion that is their Arch-Enemy.
      • The latest Codex (at the time of 7e) mentions one between the Raven Guard and White Scars that was patched up (somewhat) after members of two chapters found themselves going after the same bad guy, though it is more of a competition of tactics and has never been really shoot at each other bad since it started before the Horus Heresy: The Raven Guard prefer infiltration and ambush tactics for decisive blows, while the White Scars attack blindingly fast and employ hit and run attacks that bleeds the enemy dry before smashing in with a massive flanking charge.
      • The Space Wolves in particular have a major grudge against the Administratum due to the policy of the Administratum to replace the entire of Armaggeddon's workforce to weed out any Chaotic corruption after the First War of Armaggeddon against Angron's World Eaters and associated daemonic hordes. They did this by forcing the entire planet's population into concentration camps to be sterilised and then worked to death via slave labour. Logan Grimnar, leader of the Space Wolves, did not like that, and told the Inquisitor as much, to his face. He could get away with his outspokenness because he had fifteen thousand royally pissed-off and unflinchingly loyal Super Soldiers at his back, ready to stomp the Inquisitor into the ground. This leads to about as much friction with the Inquisition as you'd expect, culminating in the Months of Shame, a war between the Space Wolves and Inquisition that did more damage to Fenris than during the whole Heresy.
    • The Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy have the typical army/navy rivalry. This one is actually deliberate: After the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Army - as it was known at the time - was split into the Guard and the Navy in order to insure that no man commanded both fleets and armies.
    • The Guard and the Space Marines have tense relationships at best. The Guard maintains that they are the ones who do all the real work, only for the Astartes to swoop in at the last second, deliver the death blow and take all the glory. To hear the Marines tell it; the unenhanced Guard are weak, lazy and get in the way. Depending on the chapter, an Astartes will treat a Guardsman with anything from disinterest to outright contempt.
    • Also, the Commissariat and the rank-and-file Guard are not exactly friends either. Oops, sorry sir! indeed
    • Regular human forces can be roughly thought of, in increasing order of prestige as: Planetary Defence<Imperial Guard<Storm Troopers. Naturally, every echelon hates the echelons above and below them or treats them as incompetent (to the PDF's discredit, this is often the case, especially on worlds that aren't in a constant state of warfare).
    • It's not limited to the Imperials, either. The Word Bearers and Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines are on less than speaking terms. Exchanging bolter fire is more likely. The Legions devoted to each Chaos god also have appropriate rivalries with those who serve the god who their god particularly hates. For example, Khornate World Eaters and Slaaneshi Emperor's Children do not like each other very much. Same goes for Tzeentch's Thousand Sons and Nurgle's Death Guard. Only rarely will they co-operate in any capacity, and will fall back on killing each other once their alliance falls apart. Only Abaddon the Despoiler has much success with that.
    • It's not even limited to inter-service rivalry. Intra-service rivalries are also common, with Guard regiments from one world going to war with Guard regiments from other worlds for a variety of reasons. The typical Ork Waaagh lasts about as long as the Warboss is able to keep the various tribes in it fighting somebody other than each other. Chaos armies are only as united as their leader is able to answer challenges to his authority. and so on and so forth.
    • Nor is it limited to intra-service rivalry — regiments from the same world and even companies within the same regiment can have poisonous rivalries. On some feral worlds, the competition over who gets to enlist in the Guard in the first place results in as many casualties as a small war, and Commissars of feral regiments routinely equate the enemy with their unit's hereditary enemies back home.
    • And all of this doesn't even begin to go into the tumultuous relationships everyone else has with the Inquisition. Or for that matter, what happens when two Inquisitors (both of whom, in theory, answer to no-one save the Emperor and can demand instant obedience from anyone else) start butting heads. The fact that the three major Ordos have different goals (dealing with aliens, daemons, and heresy, respectively) doesn't help, as one branch may find itself under fire from the other for using alien weaponry on daemons and vice-versa. Not to mention that there are two minor Ordos whose inherent goals are diametrically opposed to each other (One dedicated to investigating and preserving the Imperium's ancient history, and the other to concealing and obscuring it), so they are always opposed to each other pretty much by definition.
    • And the really disturbing thing is that all this interservice rivalry is in the Imperium's best interests. Every time a sizable amount of power gets concentrated in one organization, the leaders of that organization invariably let that power go to their heads, and then things get even worse than they usually are until said leaders are overthrown and their organization is broken up into smaller institutions that promptly end up in rivalries with each other and all the pre-existing services.
    • Just about the only army to avert this are the Tau, to better demonstrate how their Greater Good philosophy works (where every individual's actions must benefit all Tau instead of just himself). It's implied the ruling Ethereal caste uses pheromones to mind-control other Tau into service.
  • Warhammer: This is perhaps the best way to describe the relations between the cults of Sigmar and Ulric. The cult of Ulric considers itself to be the "senior service", loves to point out that during his life as a human Sigmar was an Ulric-worshipper, and resents that Sigmar has supplanted Ulric as the god of choice in large swathes of the Empire. Sigmarites, on the other hand, see it as only proper that the Empire's founder is venerated above other gods by the citizens of the Empire, consider the level of devotion required by Ulric's worshippers to be disproportionate to the gifts Ulric gives (they may have a point) and considers the cult of Ulric to be sore losers. The rivalry is compounded by the fact that the Ar-Ulric only has one vote in the Imperial elections and the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar has three (technically the Grand Theogonist and the two Arch-Lectors have one each, but the Arch-Lectors always vote the way the Grand Theogonist, their superior, tells them to). Both cults are dedicated to serving the Empire and its people, but if they get the chance to get one over on the other in the process, they will take it.
  • Exalted:
    • This is outright stated to be one of the Scarlet Empress's rules of government: divide and rule. The Realm has three different types of Secret Police and eleven families of heirs.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by the Celestial Bureaucracy. The Bureau of Heaven wants everybody answerable to them and keeps poaching promising gods or important purviews, the Bureau of Humanity catches flak for the general heavenly contempt for mankind and is the most heavily reassigned (the boundary between a human and universal abstract is considered flexible), the Bureau of Seasons hates the interference of the others who distrust it for its importance and its military power (which it is openly willing to use to force contentious matters of policy) and looks down on it being largely staffed by Elementals, the Bureau of Nature has the largest number of gods who need new assignments (since large sections of Creation and its lifeforms were recently destroyed) and is openly contemptuous of Yu-Shan's corruption (with them in turn sneering at its naivete and inefficiency), and everybody distrusts the Bureau of Destiny (being, as it is, responsible for developing the course of the future, having a lot of sensitive information, and including Exalted in its staff) while being forced to acknowledge how necessary its proper functions are for their continued survival.
  • In GURPS Reign of Steel, the WASP agency and FBI of the Washington Protectorate have this trope going on. In the Machine Zones, some of the human resistance groups have been divided by internal rivalries, as well.
  • In GURPS Transhuman Space, there's mention of a hard-fought battle in which the US Air Force gained supremacy in space. The battle was fought in the Pentagon and the enemy was the US Navy.
  • Among the many company divisions of SLA Industries, this trope is almost standard operating procedure.
  • Mobile Frame Zero: Funny story. There are two groups known as "Marines" - the Terran Marines, who are frontline combatants, and the Transit Marines, who fight to defend the transit gates and in very few other situations. The Terran Marines really resent that the Transit Marines, who spend most of their time outside of combat, get to call themselves "Marines".
  • This is a large part of what gets in the way of operational unity during the Second Star League's attempt to bring down Clan Smoke Jaguar in BattleTech. Made up of various House army units who had until then been spending bitter centuries fighting each other, they are then compelled to fight alongside age-old enemies in the name of overcoming much more brutal recent ones. As they are all under the aegis of the reconstituted Star League Defense Force, they are technically held under one government. This gets out of hand when hardline Steiner loyalists argue about command roles with traditionally Davion supporters, Liao units distrust members of the St. Ives regiments who seceded from Liao rule, any Marik force argues with itself, and the Draconis Combine logistics arm favors Combine units above all others when they should be supplying gear and consumables to everyone.
    • In a more general sense, the setting breaks down its armies by their role in combat, with different divisions for Dropship and Jumpship transportation and combat units. This is further split down based on the nature of combat units: Battlemech, ground armor, Aerospace wings, and infantry, both battle-armored and otherwise. The most notable traditional rivalries and squabbling in most armed forces in the setting so far shown have included: Drop Ship crews and Jumpship crews, Dropship crews and Aerospace pilots, Mechwarriors and Aerospace pilots, Mechwarriors and Dropship crews, Mechwarriors and tank crews, Mechwarriors and infantry units, and Mechwarriors and other Mechwarriors.
  • In GURPS Black Ops, the Company is designed so that each department pulls in its own direction and has its own agenda for how best to protect the world. Notably, the Combat and Science departments hate each other, since Science's job is to capture and study Things That Go Bump In The Night, while Combat's job is to kill them. Other highlights are how almost everyone dislikes Security, Combat's characteristic orneriness (Combat, uniquely among departments, does not have a departmental directive requiring them to help the rest of the Company - because when the Company was set up, Combat was the spearpoint of most missions and everyone else was support), and an aversion in the overt friendship between Intelligence and Technology.

    Video Games 
  • Done twice in the Metal Gear series:
    • Briefly alluded to in the prologue of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where the Marine Corps are conducting their own Metal Gear project independently, but about halfway through Snake notices an Army version of the Cypher UAV investigating the tanker. Commandant Dolph's speech in the holds likewise mentions heavy Navy opposition to Metal Gear RAY, both because it's in direct opposition to their Arsenal Gear project which by the time of the Plant chapter leads them to hijack the RAY project and repurpose it as a defensive force for Arsenal Gear, and that the strategic importance of aircraft carriers would likely be reduced by a weapon with RAY's capabilities.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Snake's Virtuous Mission quickly degenerates into in-fighting between the Soviet KGB and GRU, which are pro-Khruschev and pro-Brezhnev respectively. The later Operation Snake Eater ends up being, in part, Khruschev asking for America's help in eliminating Volgin, who is a key member of the pre-Brezhnev faction.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, the Army sees the Militia as a bunch of untrained field hands suitable only as cannon fodder, and the Militia sees the Army as a bunch of incompetent aristocrats whose social status is the result of overt nepotism.
  • For Final Fantasy VII, while it seemed as if the divisions were pretty spiffy with each other in the original game, Crisis Core showed that Shinra corps seemed to be in a constant state of war. The mook Midgar security soldiers didn’t like the more attention hogging SOLDIERs, the mooks ignore Turk instructions in lieu of getting more rewards for themselves, the SOLDIERs treat the smaller foot soldiers as nothing better than Cannon Fodder... the dynamics of which contributed highly to Zack's death in the end, as the soldiers rushed forth to execute Zack before the Turks arrived at the scene.
  • Halo:
    • The Spartan-IIs and the ODSTs. Before the Spartans came into the picture, the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were the elites of the United Nations Space Command Defence Forces, so when the Spartans took over as the elite, the ODSTs weren't happy about it. What was more insulting to them was that, when John-117 killed two ODST troopers in a gym in his earlier ages, he wasn't punished for it (because the ODST troopers started the whole thing and John only defended himself). Ever since then, the ODSTs haven't seen the Spartans as anything more than "freaks", "cyborgs" and as "non-humans", due to the Spartans' special powers and superiority over the "normal" human beings. It ain't getting better considering the Spartans seems to have more respect from the other marines than them, even if the Spartans are actually a part of the Navy (being closer to elite SEALs than Space Marines). The Spartans themselves, however, don't really care about the rivalry at all. They just want to get the job done. Funnily enough, with the creation of the SPARTAN-IV Program, many ODSTs have gone on to become Spartans themselves.
    • Becomes a plot point when the rivalry between the Sangheili and the Jiralhanae within the Covenant breaks out to an open civil war. A war that The Prophet of Truth deliberately provoked in order to replace the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae as his leading troops, as he considers the Sangheili's extreme reliance on their code of honor as a hindrance on their direct loyalty to him, while the Jiralhanae almost never questions orders as long as it involved killing something, with the other species' loyalty splintered. This plot point caused the Sangheili to ally themselves with UNSC, turning the war to their favour and together, they finally kills Truth and destroys the Covenant once and for all.
      • This is even subtly alluded to in Halo: Reach. The Elites and the Brutes never appear fighting side by side, the Elites will only arrive after all the Brutes have been killed; with the implication being that the Elite commanders in charge of the invasion are using the Brutes to soften up the opposition before sending their own people in. This can be seen in both "The Package" and "The Pillar of Aututmn", where despite the stakes the Elites would seemingly rather have Brutes die first than coordinate their assaults.
    • The novels state there is also a rivalry between the Unggoy (Grunts) and Kig-Yar (Jackals), though it isn't nearly as intense as the one the Elites and Brutes have. Or at least, due to these races being lower in the Fantastic Caste System, not as important. At least one time on record the Jackals attempted to sterilize the Grunt population due to incidents involving the Grunts accidentially infringing on and destroying Jackal eggs in their nesting grounds, which led to at least one Grunt Rebellion as a whole.
    • Halo: Glasslands alludes to a slight rivalry between the Spartan-IIs and Spartan-IIIs. For the most part, though, they see each other as fellow Spartans, and work together on several occasions, including in Halo: Reach where the otherwise-all-Spartan-III Noble Team has a Spartan-II as The Big Guy. The only one who really objects to the Spartan-IIIs, as it turns out, is Catherine Halsey, who is apparently trying to discourage them from fighting because she sees the Human-Covenant War as unwinnable.
  • In RuneScape, the Imperial Guard view the Knights of Falador as a rival military force in the Kingdom of Asgarnia.
    • It should be noted that their "rivalry" is just a push away from civil war. The White Knights are a religious order in service of Saradomin, the god of order, and have traditionally been allied with the Crown. Currently, they are ruling over Falador - the kingdom's capital - during the king's "illness". On the other hand, the Imperial Guard is a secular army loyal to the Crown Prince who hold residence in the principality of Burthope where they are defending Asgarnia against invading trolls while White Knights are waiting for any excuse to take over.
  • In Call of Juarez: The Cartel, the three main characters are members of the LAPD, the FBI and the DEA, which means that occasionally they have conflicting goals and objectives from their superiors and/or informants (particularly the latter two, as the DEA agent is incredibly corrupt while the FBI agent is working for corrupt superiors).
  • In Xenonauts the head scientist snipes at the engineers in his Xenopedia articles.
    Research report: The resulting interceptor is squat, ugly, and capable of destroying almost anything it encounters (much like our engineers).
  • In the non-Federation storylines of Escape Velocity Nova, the Rebellion's head of Intelligence Frandall (a code-name. Real name unknown) was head of Federation Intelligence and saw where things were leading when the Bureau was set up, and is implied to have helped arrange the Rebellion (which aims to oust the Bureau and restore proper democratic governance to the Federation) mainly because he knew the Bureau would win the interservice rivalry (and indeed all references to Federation Intelligence are in past tense), so going rebel was his best chance of getting back his influence. In the Federation storyline, Frandall is the real head of the Bureau and helped arrange the Rebellion to draw out oppositional elements.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has a rivalry between Dr. Vahlen and the Scientists, and Dr. Shen and the Engineers. They don't openly snipe at each other, but they often strongly disagree on things like what action the player should take and what projects should be developed. Taken further in Enemy Within, where they're still going at it: they keep trying to entice the player towards a certain use of Meld, with Vahlen championing Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke, and Shen championing good ol' cybernetic implants. Hilariously lampshaded by your Number Two, who asks them if they agreed on anything, and they both answer the name.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: A large chunk of the game's plot centers on an interservice war between the FIB (FBI-expy) and IAA (CIA-expy) over who should receive more government funding now that The War on Terror is winding down, with both sides going to rather depraved extremes to make themselves look better than the other. It's more serious than most examples since both sides are playing with other peoples' lives to further their own goals.
  • E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy's Secreta Secretorum, a rogue government agency that intends to overthrow the current government, has its special operations division (E.Y.E), divided into two separate houses - the Culter Dei and the Jians, whom share a bitter hatred of each other. The current ruler of E.Y.E, Rimanah, intends to destroy the Jians before taking on the government, whereas your Mentor wants to cooperate with the Jians. Depending on your actions in the game, you can support him and directly attack the Jian temple, side with your Mentor to overthrow Rimanah, or Take a Third Option by betraying E.Y.E and siding with the Federation.
  • This is quite common in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Especially in the Sith Empire. It's even encouraged among the Sith Order. It's quite common for a Sith Apprentice to kill their Master and gain their titles.
    • Sith Rivalries are quite frequent as shown in the Warrior and Inquisitor storylines. Both start on Korriban where acolytes frequently compete to become Sith. Acolytes are forbidden from killing each other with witnesses around. But if someone were to die or suffer an... accident in the tombs while no one was watching, well, nobody would investigate. Unless a Lord demands it, of course.
      • The Sith Warrior already starts out with an enemy: Vemrin. While the Inquisitor competes in a group, their most fierce rival is Ffon, whom the Overseer showers with endless praise.
      • The Sith Inquisitor runs into multiple of these. On Dromund Kaas their master Lord Zash orders them to assassinate a rival, Darth Skotia. After Zash tries to pull a Grand Theft Me on the Inquisitor and fails, her own master Darth Thanaton, a Dark Council member, tries to outright murder the PC based on little more than his reading of Sith traditions: that Sith cannot be ex-slaves, and that the entire power base of a fallen Sith Lord must be destroyed for the good of the Empire. As a consequence Thanaton and the PC spend the entirety of Chapters 2 and 3 trying to kill each other, which escalates into a mini-Civil War by the end. Finally, in Chapter 3, the Inquisitor's last Companion, Xalek, ruthlessly kills a Twi'lek with his bare hands, takes the last artifact from his corpse, and gives it to the player, right in front of everyone. Nevertheless, the Inquisitor insists on having Xalek as an apprentice and has the option of killing Harkun for defiance (and revenge).
    • In the Sith Warrior Storyline an Imperial Moff named Masken claims that Baras deliberately set up an ambush for his master, Vengean, because the invaders had the docking codes for the flagship. He even expresses his discontentment at this ridiculous infighting, claiming it to be the reason they haven't beaten the Republic. Ironically, if the Warrior decides to just leave after repelling the invaders, the Moff hypocritically attacks you claiming that he will be rewarded.
    • Meanwhile, over in the Imperial Agent storyline, Imperial Intelligence more or less views itself as the Only Sane Man: while technically answering to the Sith, they frequently find themselves having to clean up the dark Jedis' messes when they act out For the Evulz. Early in the storyline, in order to salvage their mission on Hutta, the PC has to kill or drive off an asset they were developing after a Sith Apprentice gets in an offscreen fight with his sons and kills one of them. The regular Imperial military (not represented by a Player Character) has some of the same problems: they tend not to like it when the Sith intervene in military operations, because even if some Sith such as Darth Decimus are legitimately good commanders, many are some combination of arrogant, capricious, backstabbing, and/or incompetent.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
    • The Tribunal Temple has two militant wings: the Church Police Ordinators, who serve as guards for Temple holdings and holy sites, inquisitors, and jailers, with Knight Templar traits, and the Buoyant Armigers, elite special forces handpicked for service by Vivec himself, who are typically decked out in high quality glass armor and typically operate in the Lethal Lava Lands and Mordors of Vvardenfell. The more solemn Ordinators don't really get along with the Armigers, who seek to emulate Vivec's Warrior Poet traits.
    • In the Tribunal expansion, there is a rivalry and general sense of distrust between Almalexia's High Ordinators and King Helseth's Royal Guards. When the city is attacked by fabricants, each faction will ask you to report the attack to their side's leadership. The quests in the second half of the Tribunal main quest are slightly different depending on which side you report to, though the ending is ultimately the same.
  • In Final Fantasy X, both the Crusaders and Warrior Monks are arms of the theocratic Church of Yevon; however, several Warrior Monks speak disdainfully of the Crusaders, making clear that they consider the Crusaders as only being a few steps away from being heretics, while considering themselves the true defenders of the faith.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has General Oliver, head of the New California Republic military presence in the Mojave, constantly butting heads with Chief Hanlon, head of the NCR's Rangers. Long story short, the first Battle of Hoover Dam saw the Rangers outperform the ordinary troopers heavily, and rightfully so, given the amount of training that the rangers have to do to get where they are. General Oliver, who wants to be put down in the history books as a war hero, deliberately goes against everything that Hanlon recommends, including trying to keep the Rangers posted away from Hoover Dam. General Oliver wants to ensure the victory of Hoover Dam with a single decisive battle at the front lines. Glory Hound and greedy attitudes like this are what pushed Hanlon to begin sabotaging the NCR's annexation efforts in Nevada.
  • Tyranny begins hammering in the rivalry in Kyros' Empire between the Archon of War's Disfavored and the Archon of Secrets' Scarlet Chorus during character creation, and the game proper begins with you being sent in with an Edict (powerful conditional spell) to force cooperation or else solve the issue permanently after their infighting sabotaged efforts to suppress a rebel factionnote . By the end of the first act, it escalates all the way to open warfare, as the Edict did not prove enough to force them together.

    Webcomics 
  • Jägerkin in Girl Genius, as a part of being "perfect soldiers", get it straight — they deem themselves better than anyone else and are eager to remind of this, but, being "perfect soldiers", they also know to belt up when real action is in sight.
    General Zog: Sir — dere iz a time to twit nancy-boy feetsmen und a time to crush bogs.
  • In Sluggy Freelance the FBI started its paranormal investigation project because they were jealous of the CIA hogging all the alien investigation stuff.
  • Terminal Lance features a mild version within the Marine Corps, between front-line troops and POGs (Persons Other than Grunt). There are also jokes at the other branches' expense. The grunts are actually jealous of Marine tank crews, though.
  • Parodied in Jet Dream. It's Cookie! features two teenage Soviet bad guys: KGB agent "He-She Svetlana", and GRU "Saboteen" Captain Boris Volkov. The two can't stand each other, and in "The He-She Ski Affair", their respective organizations are also working at cross-purposes — the GRU wants to capture and interrogate Cookie Jarr, while the KGB wants to assassinate her.
  • In the Skin Horse storyline "I Can Fly", General Sal thinks of Skin Horse as civilians with a grudge against the military. When Tip points out he's ex-Army, she expresses disbelief (since he's a Wholesome Crossdresser) and he replies "Well, I wouldn't expect Air Force to understand."

    Web Original 
  • This is common in The Damn Few, where Rhino (Army), Gunny (Marine Corps), Ice Goose (Air Force), and Sealy (Navy) are constantly ribbing each other about their respective services. The episode "LOL" shows what happens when a non-veteran makes the mistake of trying to join in.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Alentian Defense Force and the Anti Mage Police often butt heads in the Magicracy of Alent. A much more serious rivalry takes place between the Graves Hall military academy and the Magestar mage school in the Kingdom of Aison when the latter feels that the former isn't up to par teaching magic to students and will hamper Aison's defense as a result, so the Masters of the Magestar decide to send a fire elemental to raze the rival mage school at Graves Hall to ensure future funding for themselves from the government.
    Andras: You've seen the transfers. They leech funding from us, and for what? They have no idea how magic works. All they want is more spells, for their own use. Most of them enter the private sector now, you know? They are a disgrace to the tradition of the Magestar.
    Amon: They have been a thorn in our side for some time. Their teachings are simply incompatible with ours, and they are too stubborn to see the error of their ways. They simply seek to be our rival.
  • US Army Staff Sergeant and comedian Yusha Thomas does short, humorous videos about life in the military. Being an Army sergeant, naturally when the other branches of the military get brought up, they get subjected to many jokes, stereotypes, and Take Thats. For example, in this video where an applicant meets with recruiters from various branches of the military, the Marines are depicted as dimwitted brutes with Testosterone Poisoning who eat crayons, and have no benefits to joining aside from cool uniforms and getting a macho reputation, the Air Force recruiter is a Jerkass and an elitist snob who practically chases the applicant out of the room, and the Navy gets the usual gay sailor jokes.

    Western Animation 
  • Avengers, Assemble! has an Army vs. Air Force rivalry between Captain America and Captain Marvel.
  • Exotroopers and Jumptroopers in Exo Squad.
  • Played for Laughs as part of a Running Gag with Joe Swanson (who is a Police Officer) and his disdain for firefighters in Family Guy, as the Quahog Police Department really doesn't get along well with their rivals at the Quahog Fire Department. Even one episode had Joe and his fellow officers tear some insults towards the Fire Chief during an Open House at the Quahog Fire Department.
  • In Recess, the Army/Navy rivalry appears in the form of the rivalry between Gus Griswold's Army general father and Corn Chip Girl's Navy admiral father. Which handily set up the Star-Crossed Lovers (or at least Star Crossed Friendship) plot.
  • There was something of a Running Gag in the second season of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero involving the rivalry between Leatherneck (a Marine) and Wetsuit (a Navy SEAL).
  • Mixed with Sibling Rivalry in The Mask episode "Martian Mask" where FBI, led by Kelleway's brother attempt to catch the Mask. Unlike the cops who think the Mask is a criminal, the FBI thinks the mask is an alien.
  • The regular Decepticons forces and the Insecticon Hive of Transformers: Prime do not get along well at all despite both groups having sworn absolute fealty to Megatron.

 
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Hornblower: The Frogs And The Lobsters

The Royal Navy and the British Army have always been best fiends.

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