The way this game calculates military power is a little strange. Like, as soon as I meet any of the AIs, they all immediately declare war because of how "weak" I am compared to them, even if I actually have a military, and they don't. Today, I took a closer look at this by going full military and conquest right off the bat. Even though I have a free frigate, as soon as I met the Krynn, they declare war. I met the Altarians, too, and even they give me the minus for being weak. No matter how many AIs I meet, it seems I am always last place for Military Power. I thought that was very strange, and when I went to talk to the Altarians, who in my current game are 3rd place to my 4th place in Military, I looked at how many units they had.
Literally the only armed ship in their entire navy was their starting Survey ship. Nothing else even had defenses. They hadn't even researched weapons yet.
However, when I looked down at how many planets they had, they had a ridiculous number of colonies, and since we all know the AI always builds a Shipyard straight away once it colonizes a system, I think I know exactly why everyone seems to think they have such a massive military: the game counts their Starbases and Shipyards as military units, and since each of those has about 80 hp and 3/3/3 of everything, the game acts like they have dozens and dozens of Frigates, even though they are immobile and incapable of attacking. I, meanwhile, am always last place because I tend to only build shipyards around clusters of planets. This might also explain why the AI never seems to build defenders - it thinks it has one really good defender in every system already!
It got truly ridiculous in one game, where I once went romping through the entire Altarian sector just blowing everything up with the same 3 corvettes, with over 80 military ships back home just waiting, and the game still wouldn't put them as below me in military power -- they had been in first place for Military! When I went to go find this military, I found maybe 3 armed ships in total. All the rest was Shipyards and mining Starbases. For all I know, it might even be counting anything with HP as a military unit for the purposes of Military Power, which would include scouts, colony ships, and freighters.
This needs to get fixed soon, because it's making the AI declare utterly suicidal wars that they have no chance of winning, and it's also ruining trade and diplomacy.