Starfleet follows a simple Rank System. All department are equal in authority, and the only characteristic difference is the Rank of the individuals in each department, even if those Ranks are named differently.
Starfleet Ranks Overview
Go to the _TOP Starfleet Ranks Overview.
Medical, Engineering, Science, Diplomatic, and Command, inherited the use of the original Earth Naval Rank system, where as the Marines have adopted the old Earth Army Ranks. But needless to say, the Marine Ranks, whilst different in name and design, hold the same weight as there corresponding Naval Rank.
e.g. A Naval Cdr. has the same authority as the corresponding Marine Rank, in this case Lt. Colonel. As such a Naval Cdr. can give orders to a Marine Major, because the Naval rank of Cdr. is higher than the Marine Rank of Major. This system works both ways, a Marine Lt. Colonel can give orders to a Naval Lt. Cdr.
This is a good point to note that Naval ranks are used in all of the following departments; Command Medical Engineering Diplomatic Security/Tactical Science
Personnel who join the Intelligence section of Starfleet may do so only after they have graduated the Academy in one of the above fields. As a result that individual joins the intelligence service as experts in there chosen field, and thus retain there duty and dress uniform colour, e.g., a Medical officer would retain his/her teal colour. Only if a individual joins the administration side of the intelligence service will the uniform be changed. The new uniform colour worn would then be red.
An Admiral is distinguished by enclosing the Captain 'pips' inside a square. This is the highest normal rank in Starfleet. Typically Admirals have impeccable service records and decades of service. Starfleet Command assigns Admirals to various tasks based on seniority, and demonstrated ability.
Captains are the most senior of line officers. Captains most often command Starships or Starbases of medium to large size. Captains may also command planetary outposts or serve as division heads for the Starfleet Bases on major worlds.
Commanders are senior line officers. Commanders usually serve as the Executive Officer, Operations Officer, or Security Chief onboard a starship. Commanders may command small starships of under 400 crewmen. Commanders may also command small Starbases or minor outposts. Taking the Bridge Officer's Test is the only way for an officer to be promoted to Commander, pending completion of the other requirements
Lieutenant Commanders are senior line officers. Lieutenant Commanders usually serve as department heads aboard starship or on large Starbases. Lieutenant Commanders may command small vessels with a crew of less than 250, usually Commanders fill that role.
Lieutenants are the most common Commissioned Officers. Lieutenants can perform almost any Officer duty on a starship, save for being the Commanding or Executive Officer. In some cases Lieutenants can even be department heads, especially on smaller starships.
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenants Junior Grade are junior Commissioned Officers. Lieutenants Junior Grade may be the Medical Officer or Science Officer on a mid to large space station, or man a Bridge Station. Officers typically spend around 2 years as a Lieutenant Junior Grade.
Ensigns are the most junior of Commissioned Officers. Ensigns often serve as Flight Controller aboard starships, or Operations Officer on small Starships. Ensigns can also serve in relief or assistant capacities to most other positions aboard ship. It is rare, but not unheard of, for a Cadet at Starfleet Academy to be granted a temporary Commission of Ensign. This is only done in cases of truly outstanding grades. Officers typically spend around 3 years as an Ensign.
Chief Petty Officer
Chief Petty Officers are the highest ranking enlisted personnel in Starfleet. They have many years of service (usually over 15), and a wealth of experience in their field. A Chief Petty Officer usually serve in a role that requires specific and focused expertise.
Starfleet Chain of Command
Important: In the chain of command, all commissioned officers (by rank) outrank all warrant officers (by rank) who in turn outrank all non-commissioned officers (by rate). Thus, the lowliest Ensign has more official authority than the most experienced Chief Warrant Officer or Master Chief Petty Officer.
However, Starfleet does not operate by the chain of command alone and experience is more valued by Commanding and Flag Officers when it comes to getting the job done. Below is a chart which approximates the levels of experience-based authority that warrant and non-commissioned officers earn as compared to commissioned officers.
With this experience comes the opportunity to change from one sector to another. As a result NCOs can at a stage, transfer to Officer status, or if they wish, warrant status. And equally, a Warrant Officer can become a Officer. Transfers can occur in two ways. The individual can be promoted to the new rank, and would receive the appropriate promotion as describe bellow, or the individual can transfer to the equal rank that corresponds to there current rate/rank. It is at this stage that the "grades" comes into play. Looking at the grades allows a simplistic view of all transfers and promotions for naval and marines titles without a single code.
In this list, promotion moves from left to right, and bottom to top. See the text description bellow the graphical representation for a full run down.
Equal ranks and rates for Naval and Marine apply.
So what does this mean for an NCO? The following shows every promotion available for each Rate where a transfer can take place:
CPO/GSgt. (B2) - Can be promoted to SCPO/MSgt. or WO, or Lt./MCapt (B3) SCPO/MSgt. (B3) - Can be promoted to MCPO/SMaj. or, CWO1, or Lt.Cdr./Maj. (B4) MCPO/SMaj. (B4) - Can be promoted to CWO2, or Cdr./Lt. Col. (B5)
A NCO graded B2 or above may hold any officer post, including Department Head.
A NCO graded B1 may hold any junior officer position the agreement with his/her Commanding Officer.
So what does this mean for Warrant Officer? The following shows every promotion available for each Rank where a transfer can take place:
A Warrant Officer may hold any officer post, including Department Head
WO (B3) - Can be promoted to CWO1 or Lt. Cdr/Maj. (B4) CWO1 (B4) - Can be promoted to CWO2 (B4B) or Cdr./Lt. Col. (B5) CWO2 (B4B) - Can be promoted to CWO3 (B4C) or Cdr./Lt. Col. (B5) CWO3 (B4C) - Can be promoted to Cdr./Lt. Col. (B5)
Captain: The Captain (who is called this, regardless of rank) is the commanding officer of a starship. They are responsible not only for the care and maintenance of all resources under their control, but for the safety of their crew as well. While many tasks are delegated to other officers (Department Heads, etc...), the Captain always maintains full responsibility. It is the Captain's job to carry out mission orders to the fullest extent. In addition, starship Captains have certain legal authority while in space, and have the ability to act as Special Representatives of the UFP when necessary.
First Officer: The First Officer (also sometimes called the Executive Officer, or XO) is the second in command of a starship. If the Captain is not present or unable to perform their duties, the First Officer may assume command with all of the authority of a ship's Captain. While the Captain is present, the First Officer handles many other tasks that require a command presence, but are not high priority or are too dangerous for a Captain to perform (organizing research teams, leading away team missions). During a dangerous situation (hostile negotiations, etc...) the Captain and First Officer may not be at the same place at the same time. If one of them is planet side, one must remain on the ship.
Second Officer: If for any reason the First Officer is not present, unable to perform their duties, or is currently acting as Captain, the Second Officer assumes position as First Officer. During normal operations, the Second Officer handles most personnel related tasks such as counseling, reprimands, settling conflict and disputes, and recognizing excellent performance. The Second Officer is also likely to lead away teams that are entering known hostile situations, or routine missions where interaction with other species is unlikely.
Chief Engineering Officer: The CEO is responsible not only for the warp systems, but for every piece of equipment on the starship except for the computer (that falls under Operations). In addition to coordinating maintenance and repair efforts, the CEO is constantly looking for ways to make improvements and optimize performance. They are also responsible for managing the personnel under their command.
Assistant Chief Engineering Officer: The ACEO acts in the CEOs place when they are unavailable. They also supervise maintenance tasks in remote areas (such as away missions) and critical maintenance tasks when there is more than one task of the same priority (the CEO will supervise on task, the ACEO the other...).
Small Equipment Shop: These engineers are the catch all. In addition to performing maintenance on small equipment (tricorders, medical equipment, replicators, etc..), they are also one of the first shops tasked when another shop needs additional hands, or when there is general work to be done (hull repair, etc...).
Transporter Technology Shop: These engineers sole focus is to maintain the transporters as best as possible. Due to the delicate nature of these machines, it is imperative that they are calibrated and tuned precisely.
Warp Technology Shop: By far, the largest of all the engineering shops. These technological whizzes are responsible for the Warp Core and all associated systems. They also typically work on the impulse engines as well.
Weapon Systems Shop: These engineers maintain the phaser banks, phaser cannons, quantum torpedoes and torpedo launchers. They work closely with Operations to ensure that tracking and target solution software is as accurate as possible. In addition, they perform repairs and modifications to hand weaponry such as phasers.
Defense Systems Shop: This shop maintains vital defense systems such as the shield generators, SIF (Structural Integrity Field) system, shield modulators and the IDF (Inertial Dampening Field) system. In addition, they assist with maintaining non-vital systems such as the tractor beams.
Chief Medical Officer: Manages all medical personnel and is responsible for the administrative tasks associated with the department. The CMO must be a Doctor, and will also perform their normal medical duties as well. With regards to the medical care of ship personnel, if there is a disagreement between doctors on the method of treatment to pursue, the CMO will make the final decision.
Doctor: Doctor's primary concern is with the physical health and well-being of the crew, and as a secondary role, the health and well-being of any Federation citizen in need of medical attention. In addition to performing routine examinations and check ups, the Doctors on a starship perform emergency medical procedures, conduct surgery, and assist with injuries and illnesses of all types. When not actively busy with patients, many Doctors occupy their time with conducting medical research for cures or to understand new illnesses/lifeforms.
Counselor: Ship's Councilors are responsible for the mental health and well-being of the crew. In addition to performing counseling and routine stress evaluations, counselors are also called upon to provide therapy for mentally disturbed crewmen, and help ease conflict on the ship. The Counselor is also the ship Captain's primary advisor on interspecies relations, and diplomatic negotiations.
Chief of Operations: The Chief of Operations (CoOps) is responsible for the smooth and efficient functioning of a starship. They are in charge of logistics, services, computer operations, communications, and transporter operations just to name a few of their duties. In addition, they control all of the ship's resources, and prioritize usage among departments. They organize research teams, investigation teams, and away missions if personnel from more than one department are involved. Usually, but not always, the CoOps is also the Second Officer.
Assistant Chief of Operations: The ACoOps acts in the CoOps place when they are unavailable. They also supervise tasks in remote areas (such as away missions) and critical maintenance tasks when there is more than one task of the same priority (the CoOps will supervise on task, the ACoOps the other...).
Mission Operations: Mission Operations (or simply "Mission Ops") is a one deep slot filled by a trusted officer. This officer is charged with researching all pertinent data for missions/away teams, preparing mission briefings, organizing away teams, and issuing equipment. When an away team is deployed, the Mission Ops officer is posted on the bridge where they can monitor the away teams progress, act as a central point for communications, and coordinate emergency transports as necessary.
Computer Operations: The officers of Computer Operations are trusted with the maintenance, backup, and occasional recovery of the Main and Auxiliary Computer Cores. In addition to maintaining data and standard programs, skilled computer operators have been known to modify or even write programs on demand as needed.
Stellar Cartography: The officers of Stellar Cartography are the mapmakers of the future. Using a 360 degree holographic display, they maintain and update all known astrographic maps, as well as chart previously unexplored areas and phenomena.
Transporter Operations: The officers of Transporter Operations are few in number. Their main purpose is to supervise the enlisted technicians that operate the ship's transporters. They are responsible for ensuring safe and efficient transports, as well as assisting their subordinates try to accommodate the occasional unusual request. In addition, on the occasion that something goes awry, it is the job of the Transporter Officers to conduct and official investigation.
Logistics: The officer's in charge of logistics have a daunting, tireless and thankless task that is nonetheless vital to starship operations. It is their responsibility to ensure that there are spare parts available for emergency repairs, that the ship has enough raw materials on board for use by the replicators, and they supervise the loading, transport, and unloading of all material brought into the cargo bays.
Services: Services Officers are the jack-of-all-trades. They supervise the largest number of enlisted technicians. From personnel specialists, cooks, administrative personnel, etc... Many personnel from this department pull extra duty when visitors are on board, functioning as escorts and guides, and ensuring that all of their needs are met.
Operations Manager: This is not a full time duty, but rather a position on the bridge. All operations officers take turns doing rotations at this station. The OM utilizes their station to prioritize and allocate resources to various departments during missions (ex: Science is using a forward sensor array, but stellar cartography also requires its use. The OM would handle who gets it and when). In addition, the OM coordinates all communications, operates sensors, and coordinates damage control efforts.
Chief of Security: The Chief of Security (CoS) is responsible for the safety of all resources and personnel on the ship. They are tasked with ensuring the safety of all information, equipment and personnel. Therefore, they function as investigators, police, and on occasion, soldiers as well. The Chief of Security supervises all operations under his department, whether it be conducting a criminal investigation, securing the ship, repelling boarders, or protecting away team missions.
Tactical Officer: This bridge position is responsible for the operation of all defense and weapon systems aboard a starship. In addition, the Tactical Officer also handles sensor probes, message buoys, tractor beams, and during alert conditions, long and short range sensor arrays. This is not an assigned position, but rather one that all security officers share on a rotating basis.
Security Officer: Security officers spend their day monitoring internal security sensors, guarding sensitive areas, conducting random patrols, investigating crimes, neutralizing potentially aggressive personnel, guarding brig prisoners, and reviewing Starfleet wanted persons reports. Security Officers, as a general rule, are a must on any away mission.