All Starfleet Personnel aboard a starship are either commissioned officers or enlisted. Commissioned officers hold their positions or command by the authority of commissions awarded them by the Alliance. A rank is a grade or level to which commissioned officers are appointed or promoted. An officer of a given rank is subject to all officers of higher ranks, and is superior in rank to any officer of lower rank. When officer have the same rank, the officer first promoted to that rank takes precedence. Commissioned ranks run from Fleet Admiral to Ensign.
Unrestricted Line Officers (URL)
Serve in the Command, Operations, Security/Tactical, and Flight Departments aboard a starship. They have been specially trained at the Academy, both in their particular specialty and in how and why to lead personnel. Only an unrestricted line officer may serve in these four departments. A line officer usually starts his career as an Ensign aboard ship, and has been carefully and rigorously tested by the Captain in all varieties of situations to see how he will perform under stress. Only after he passed these tests will an Ensign be made an unrestricted line officer.
NOTE: Because this is the one classification of officer that may command vessels or bases, those in the other officer types may attend a nine-month training program (7-8 weeks RL) to obtain a URL classification. However, once certified to become a URL, the officer is transferred into the Starfleet Reserves and must give up their former occupation in whatever specialty they served in (ie: Medicine, Sciences, etc). A change to URL status is a signal to Starfleet that you are making a complete career change to focus on leadership and command. Officers wishing to return to their former occupations will need to be transferred from the Reserves to Active status, and will lose all rank and time in grade obtained since becoming certified, as this is considered a resignation from URL status.
Restricted Line Officer (RLO)
Serve in the Engineering, Science, and Intelligence departments aboard a ship or base. These officers are trained for command of a ship/base department or division, but not qualified for overall command of a ship or a base.
Staff Corps Officers: Serve as the heads of the other Departments and Divisions aboard ship. Staff officers were civilians who, because of valuable and highly developed skills/expertise in a particular area, are given commissions with a corresponding rank and rating. As an example, postulate a skilled surgeon wishing to join Starfleet. After the extent and degree of his medical knowledge has been evaluated, he will study at the Academy how to efficiently run his Department or Division in a correct and military manner. As well, he will be familiarized with Starfleet duties and practices. Upon graduating from this rather shortened course, he will be assigned as a staff officer aboard a starship, either as Chief Medical Officer, or as the Head of the Surgical Division. As a staff officer, he will only be entitled to issue orders to personnel within his own Department. A staff officer may, at some later time, opt to take Command training. He will be re-assigned to the Academy and complete a six-week course. Upon matriculation, the officer will be rated as both a line and staff officer; still capable of assuming command in the absence of any superior Line officer.
Ensign: A unique rank due to its brevet (temporary) nature. It is the lowest commissioned rank. What makes it special is that it can be lost without incurring a black mark on the record of the cadet, since it was understood to be brevet from the first. Every graduate of Starfleet Academy is commissioned at graduation, usually as an Ensign. From this point in time the clock starts counting down, the testing period has begun. The rank of Ensign can only last two years. During this time, the Ensign's performance in his duties is under constant scrutiny. The Captain and Executive Officer observe this junior officer to see if the traits, aptitudes, and values judged as befitting an officer are exhibited. At the end of the two year term (or sooner at the Captain's discretion) the ship's senior officers will gather in the Briefing Room to evaluate the Ensign. Although the final decision is the Captain's, information brought forward by the Executive, Medical, and the Ensign's own immediate superior officer are invaluable in this final evaluation. If the Captain decides that the Ensign is ready he will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade). If the Ensign does not meet the Captain's expectations, there are several options open. The cadet may choose to return to the Academy in the hope of strengthening any weak areas noted by the Captain. Contrawise, the cadet may choose to be decommissioned and serve as an enlisted crewman (probably as a petty officer). An Ensign may be placed in charge of a Division, such as the flight deck within the Operations division. he may not be placed in command of a vessel or shuttlecraft, as he has not yet completed his Command training, and so is not qualified to run a separate command without a senior officer's supervision. Nevertheless he may hold the position of Duty Officer. This designates the officer who sits at the Conn (Captain's station on the Bridge) during the Captain's off-duty time. It is not considered a separate command, as the other officers or crewman may request confirmation from the Captain if they receive orders from the Duty Officer that they believe questionable. In such a case, the Captain or Exec must be aboard ship.
Commissioned Officer Ranks
|O-11||Grand Admiral||GADM||Unique rank, wartime only. Appointed by the Galaxy Alliance Chancellor only.|
|O-10||Admiral||ADM||Highest rank obtainable in peacetime. Admirals typically serve as the Chief of Starfleet Operations or Chief of the Border Patrol.|
|O-9||Vice Admiral||VADM||Vice Admirals can serve as Deputy Chief of Starfleet Operations, Head of the Bureau of Personnel or Bureau of Ships.|
|O-8||Rear Admiral||RADM||Rear Admirals are often appointed as the heads of major divisions, such as Starfleet Science, Starfleet Intelligence, or Starfleet Security. They can also be assigned as theater commanders in times of war.|
|O-7||Branch Admiral||BADM||Branch Admirals can be appointed as the commanding officer of a task force, fleet, or starbase. In rare cases, by discretion of the Starfleet CinC, they may be appointed as division commanders in lieu of Rear Admirals available.|
|O-6||Commodore||CDRE||Commodores are senior captains who are candidates for promotion to the Admiralty. They hold flag status at this rank, but can continue to command single units (ie: starships). They may also be appointed in command of a starbase pending approval for promotion to Branch Admiral. Commodores can also command multiple units (usually 2-3) in flotilla formations as needed.|
|Captain||CAPT||Captains hold command of capital ships such as battleships, battlecruisers, and heavy cruisers. They can also serve as executive officers to more senior captains on battleships, or as division officers to theater commands held by rear admirals. Additionally, captains can also serve as executive officers to branch admirals on starbases or other installations.|
|O-5||Commander||CDR||Commanders can be appointed to command light cruisers and destroyers, or serve as executive and division officers on larger ships.|
|O-4||Lieutenant Commander||LCDR||Lieutenant Commanders can be appointed to command frigates, or serve as executive or division officers on larger ships.|
|O-3||Lieutenant||LT||Lieutenants can be appointed to command corvettes, or serve as executive or division officers on larger ships.|
|O-2||Lieutenant (jg)||LTJG||Lieutenants (jg) can be appointed as executive officers on corvettes or frigates, or division officers on other ships.|
|O-1||Ensign||ENS||Ensigns are brevet ranks, given to officers upon commissioning. They can be appointed as division officers on corvettes.|