Originally consisting of three (3) sims: USS Yosemite, USS Expedition, and USS Proxima Centauri, USN was from the start a mismatch of egos and agendas, as evident by the group's having experienced several coups in the first year, alone. After several name changes, break-ups, reformations, and government changes, the group achieved relative stability in the spring of 2000.
In 2000, a fourth sim was added to the group: RNS Terix. One of the first known Romulan sims, the Terix was part of the lineup for only a single season. After failing to generate enough interest, USN disbanded the sim in July of 2000. The Terix was the last sim ever generated by the Network.
After the failed attempt to grow by internal expansion, USN looked elsewhere, beginning a rapid expansion by means of aquisitions and mergers. Balooning from 3 sims in 2000 to 13 sims by the fall of 2001, the Network was ill-equipped to handle the massive influx of sims and members and quickly collapsed under its own weight. A shadow of its former self, the Network existed as just two sims until the last of the sims, the USS Yosemite disbanded in early 2003.
It is easy to condemn the leadership for lacking the foresight to adequately prepare for the expansions they were pursuing. There were quite a few blunders that were made in the short lifetime of the group. However, there were a few bright spots:
In 2001, after an encounter with then-president Erik Nighthawk, Seth Cotis of SLA joined the Simming League. In the years to follow, SLA became a powerhouse in the League and grew into one of the largest, most stable sim groups online.
USN was the first large group to employ "active-time simming" group-wide. "Active-time simming" is a multi-sim system that syncronizes the sim clocks and allows for seamless multi-ship simming. Years after the Network dissolved, many groups are still employing a similar system and cross-simming has become common.
There is much to be learned from the United Simulations Network. Expanding too quickly without adequate preparation is a recipe in failure. In addition, personality conflicts, lack of communication, and ego trips can create distrust within the administration and lead to power-struggles and miscues. When creating a stable organization, it is best to go slowly and smoothely, allowing plenty of time to digest changes and plan ahead.
Bottom Line: Avoid Excessive Mergers.