From Karriviki



Starfleet serves as the instrument of policy for the Federation, as well as safeguarding its borders and expanding the boundaries of knowledge through exploration and research. No other organization in the UFP embodies its principles of brotherhood and peace as Starfleet does. Serving among Starfleet's ranks is one of the highest aspirations for citizens (and many noncitizens) of the UFP.

Control over the fleet is centralized at Starfleet Command, located in San Francisco near the Federation Council hall. Because of the vast distances involved in space exploration, starship crews answer to their captain, who in turn reports to a fleet admiral, in order to coordinate operations and maintain cohesion. The Chief-in-Command of Starfleet oversees a staff of fleet admirals charged with various responsibilities ranging from a specific region of space to a related set of operations (such as exploration and research, or intelligence gathering). The C-in-C answers directly to the Federation President, though he is also answerable to the Federation Council.

Each Starfleet officer, from a lowly cadet to a fleet admiral, is expected to follow Starfleet regulations. While a starship crew may find itself two weeks' journey from the nearest starbase and have wide latitude in dealing with unexpected circumstances, it does not have carte blanche. Starfleet's regulations are meant to ensure a standard code of conduct, and serve as guidelines for how a Starfleet officer is expected to behave. The Starfleet Manual of General Orders and Regulations contains rules governing virtually every facet of starship operation, from manual checks of warp core efficiency and dilithium crystal degeneration to the behavior of flag officers during diplomatic dinners. These rules come in three types: General Orders, Orders, and Regulations. General Orders are broad, sweeping rules of primary importance to the continued functioning and security of Starfleet, the most famous of which is the Prime Directive. Orders cover more mundane operational rules, such as outlining a vessel's chain of command and establishing officer responsibilities aboard ship. Regulations detail specific codes of conduct and procedures, such as mandating the ship go to yellow alert when detecting an unidentified ship or establishing a weekly check of deuterium tanks. Violations of the Regulations could be met with a simple reprimand (for neglecting a Regulation) to a court-martial (for violations of a General Order).

The Function of Starfleet

Starfleet's two basic functions, defense and exploration, manifest themselves in a wide variety of mission types. A given ship may, over the course of the year, undertake several of each mission type. Other ships serve for long periods in one mission posting—threat alert or deep-space exploration, for instance. Indeed, entire fleets are sometimes posted to a narrow category of duties because of the specific strengths of the fleet's ships—Starfleet's Extended Exploration fleet, for example, comprised mostly of Nova-class science ships. The basic mission types are listed below.


In every era, exploration comprises the bulk of ship missions. Every ship in the fleet, in every era, over the course of a five-year tour of duty, adds immeasurably to the sum total of Federation knowledge of its own space and that of the frontier. Consider the discoveries made by the Enterprise over the course of two TV series. The Tholians, the Gorn, the Iconians, and over a dozen more races and countless planets and systems were encountered and explored by the Enterprise. Multiply that by the hundreds of ships in Starfleet, and you gain some notion of the role of exploration in Starfleet. Each ship is responsible for volumes of new information every year, yet at the same time Starfleet has explored only a tiny fraction of the galaxy. There are two broadly defined types of exploration mission:

DEEP-SPACE EXPLORATION: These missions involve cataloguing planetary systems, nebulae, black holes, and other stellar phenomena. A deep-space exploration mission might catalog the location of a planetary solar system. The number of planets, their types, locations, and number of moons, and any comets or asteroids would be filed for examination by Starfleet's Department of Astronomical Phenomena.

PLANETARY EXPLORATION: Starfleet's primary goal is the search for new worlds, life-forms, and civilizations. Once a noteworthy planet has been discovered, Starfleet dispatches a ship to explore its surface. Planetary missions begin with extensive sensor scans of the surface, cataloguing atmosphere, hydrosphere, geology, and abundance of plant life. Modern sensors can accumulate a wealth of information before an away team beams down. Often, after the sensor scans are completed and the planet's surface is fully mapped, survey teams are sent to examine the world more closely. This might mean traveling through the upper atmospheric layers of a gas giant in a shuttlecraft, or actually setting foot on the planet's soil. Most observation of intelligent life occurs during planetary missions. Extensively trained first contact teams can spend weeks studying a new species without their subjects' awareness. Warp-capable cultures, however, are usually contacted by the deep-space survey crews, since most warp-capable cultures are able to detect Starfleet warp signatures.


The second half of Starfleet's mission statement as set forth in the Federation Constitution, defense missions fall into one of four basic categories:

PATROL MISSIONS: These form the bulk of all nonexploration missions. Some areas of space contain known threats, others contain recently discovered species who may pose a threat. Patrol missions intentionally give Starfleet a high profile in these areas, to ensure hostile and potentially hostile species understand Starfleet's commitment to defense, and to maintain a ready defense force should any potentially hostile species attack.

THREAT ALERT MISSIONS: Patrols along currently hostile borders, such as the Romulan Neutral Zone or, in some eras, the Klingon border, and responses to acts of aggression against the Federation constitute threat alert missions. If a starbase or colony is attacked, a ship is dispatched on threat alert to respond.

TACTICAL MISSIONS: These missions almost always involve combat or the threat of combat. Federation lives or the lives of its allies are at stake and ships are required to defend against the aggressors. These include everything from the incursion of alien probes intentionally or unintentionally threatening the Federation to full-fledged war.

CONVOY AND ESCORT: Universally considered the most uneventful of defense missions, convoy and escort missions require a starship to follow along with a fleet of freighters or serve as hosts to important dignitaries on their way to an important diplomatic function. Despite the "babysitting" aspect of these kinds of mission, their completion is often vital, and starship crews remain on alert for potential threats. In the event of trouble, a starship's primary duty is to avoid danger and get its charges through safely.


As instruments of Federation policy, starships and their crews are often called upon to handle diplomatic affairs, from attending state ceremonies such as the inauguration of a new leader to representing the Federation's position at an intergalactic conference, from negotiating peace treaties to simply demonstrating the Federation's concern. In this capacity, every starship serves as a floating embassy and every crewmember represents Starfleet.

FIRST CONTACT: Starfleet officers, in their capacity as explorers, are often the first to establish contact with a previously unknown species. In the case of prewarp societies, a first contact mission is meant to evaluate the culture secretly, so as not to contaminate the society's natural evolution. While this may seem a facet of exploration missions, because of the delicacy of such missions Starfleet considers it a matter of diplomacy. In the case of species already possessing warp drive capability, a first contact mission is intended to reveal the existence of life on other planets and welcome them into the interstellar family of nations.

INTERGALACTIC AFFAIRS: The bulk of diplomatic missions fall under this category—negotiating trade agreements, arbitrating local disputes, participating in diplomatic conferences, and demonstrating the Federation's interest as a neutral observer. These missions involve tact, courtesy, and a fine understanding of interstellar politics. Starship crews are often the first on the scene of emerging diplomatic situations and can be dispatched much more quickly than a mission from Earth. Starship captains often have wide latitude to represent the Federation's interests and are authorized to speak on behalf of the Federation.

Emergencies and Natural Disasters

Whenever a planet or system undergoes a cataclysmic upheaval—giant solar flares, geological or meteorological disturbances, potential asteroid impacts, outbreaks of disease or famine—Starfleet is called in. These kinds of mission include:

AID AND RELIEF: This mission profile involves any of a number of related solutions to planetwide disaster, such as transporting critical medical supplies to a world engulfed by plague, ferrying food to a world affected by famine, destroying approaching asteroids, and relieving tectonic stress using the ship's phasers.

EVACUATION: When a mission to provide relief fails or nothing can be done to save a planet, starships are called upon to evacuate as much of the population as possible. A flotilla of Starfleet's largest spaceships takes on hundreds or thousands of people and transports them to the nearest starbase or refugee world.


Scientific missions are often considered as going hand in hand with exploration missions. What good is it to discover a new world if nothing is learned from its unique environment? What good is identifying a new class of pulsar without performing a spectrographic analysis? Scientific missions include:

EXPERIMENTATION: These missions involve testing new theories or new equipment. The starship and her crew host a visiting scientific team with the intention of putting their work to the test—trying a new warp field geometry, observing the collapse of a red giant star. Alternatively, the starship pays a call on a research station and serves as witness to a scientific experiment.

INVESTIGATION: At any given time, the many laboratories on board a starship engage in various inquiries related to the phenomena they encounter over their operational lifetime. A starship, by virtue of its extensive travels, encounters a wide variety of specimens (sometimes never before seen) and can gather a wealth of information across a broad spectrum, from a comparative study of primitive cultures to a detailed investigation into supernovae.

Starfleet General Orders

Over 24 General Orders form Starfleet's guiding principles. Below is an abbreviated list covering those orders of most interest to players.

GENERAL ORDER ONE: THE PRIME DIRECTIVE: Prohibits interference in the normal development of any society and mandates that any Starfleet vessel or crew member is expendable to prevent violation of this rule. In most cases, this rule applies to civilizations that have not yet developed warp drive. Even learning of the existence of other life-forms can damage a developing culture, so great care must be taken to ensure first contact teams remain well hidden.

GENERAL ORDER TWO: PROTECT FEDERATION CITIZENS: One of Starfleet's two mandates is the defense of the Federation. This order allows Starfleet officers to violate orders or duty requirements in order to assist Federation citizens in need. For instance, the captain of a Starfleet vessel en route to a starbase for a regulation inspection invokes General Order Two to break off and assist a Federation colony under attack from the Tholians. Usually this order need not be referenced. Simply noting the incident in the captain's log is sufficient.

GENERAL ORDER THREE: DESTRUCT SEQUENCE: Starships are unbelievably potent and sophisticated devices, arguably the most sophisticated machines man has ever built. The danger should a ship fall into the wrong hands is not merely that the enemy may gain vital technologies to improve his own fleet, but that the enemy gains a new weapon of powerful destructive force. To prevent this, the third General Order permits the captain to enable the ship's destruct systems when capture of the vessel appears imminent or the ship constitutes a danger to Federation security. If the captain is dead or unable to evaluate the situation, the acting captain is authorized to do so.

GENERAL ORDER FOUR: NOTWITHSTANDING PROTOCOL: This order allows commanding officers to countermand Starfleet regulations in the event of extreme threat to Federation security (though not General Orders).

GENERAL ORDER FIVE: WELFARE OF THE CREW: This Order allows a captain to disregard regulations and mission priorities in order to save the lives of a crewman or crewmen. It also prevents commanding officers from taking actions that would unnecessarily jeopardize the lives of those under their command. General Orders One and Four supercede this order.

The regular Orders are more general, governing the behavior of most Starfleet officers.

ORDER 104.B: CHAIN OF COMMAND: This section describes Starfleet's rank structure, establishing the requirements of junior officers to respond promptly to the commands of senior officers.

ORDER 104.C: FITNESS FOR DUTY: Section 104.C grants to the Chief Medical Officer the right to relieve the commander on duty if the CMO can demonstrate the commanding officer is physically or mentally unfit. The CMO must log in his medical records the test results that led to this conclusion.

ORDER 118: MISSION PRIORITIES: Section 118 categorizes all mission types by priority, enabling commanding officers to determine which mission requirements supercede other mission requirements. Order 118 allows a commander to break off a routine mission (type D) to undertake an urgent mission (type B.) The four mission types are:

• CATEGORY A: VITAL MISSIONS: Also known as a Priority One command, a Category A mission supercedes all other mission types and overrides all orders and regulations under General Order Four. The fate of the Federation rests on this mission, and all Starfleet lives are considered expendable for its completion.

• CATEGORY B: URGENT MISSIONS: Urgent missions usually involve rescuing or protecting the lives of thousands, if not millions, of Federation citizens. A ship carrying the cure for a plague threatening to wipe out large populations undertakes an urgent mission. Typically, only vital missions supercede these.

• CATEGORY C: STRATEGIC MISSIONS: These missions usually involve securing or defending resources or Starfleet outposts. Missions of high threat factor during peacetime, such as patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone, are Category C missions because of the high probability of danger, as are escort duties.

• CATEGORY D: ROUTINE MISSIONS: Encompassing the majority of Starfleet missions, a starship crew may undertake dozens of routine assignments at the same time: categorizing gaseous anomalies, measuring pulsar fluctuations, researching the life cycle of the Gamelan root beast, conducting soil analyses, and putting in an appearance at Caldos Colony, for example. Routine missions include most patrols, exploration, and research duties.

Divisions of Starfleet

Just as a starship, Starfleet Command is organized into various departments. Officers posted to a starship technically serve within the Department of Fleet Operations. Some departments serve in a purely organizational role, as with the Office of Fleet Operations, while others oversee various operations, such as Starfleet Intelligence and the Office of Planetary Exploration. Often, a mission objective transmitted from Starfleet Command originates from one of these departments. A starship dispatched to escort the Dolmen of Elas to a conference comes from the Starfleet Diplomatic Corps, while a mission to defend a mining colony from possible Ferengi attack comes from the Office of Strategic Operations.

THE JOINT CHIEFS: With its far-flung operations across vast distances of space, Starfleet is too large to be overseen by one person. The Joint Chiefs—comprised of the Chief-in-Command, Chief of Fleet Operations, Chief of Research and Exploration, Chief of Strategic Operations, and Chief of Interplanetary Affairs—represent the five major departments in Starfleet Command. Chosen from among Starfleet's most capable admirals, the Joint Chiefs are collectively responsible for setting policy and guiding operations.

FLEET OPERATIONS: The office of the chief of Fleet Operations manages the deployment and mission rosters of all ships in the fleet. Other departments task Fleet Operations with mission profiles, with Fleet Operations selecting the best ships for the missions. Starfleet organizes its ships into 27 separate fleets, with each assigned to a particular region of space and with its own numerical designation. The First Fleet, for instance, stationed at and around Alpha Centauri, protects Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, and the rest of sector 001. Each fleet is commanded by a fleet admiral, who oversees the ships under his command and serves as the linchpin between the fleet and Fleet Operations. Fleet Operations keeps track of the present locations of every ship in the fleet and can quickly ascertain which ship is available to respond to emergencies. Departments under the Office of Fleet Operations include Starbase Operations, the Judge Advocate General's office, and the Corps of Engineers.

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS: while Fleet Operations manages the routine deployment of ships in large areas, Strategic Operations manages the planning of strategic defense. One of the smallest divisions of Starfleet, Strategic Operations is nonetheless the most vital in maintaining the defense of the Federation. This division draws up Starfleet's battle plans, conducts threat assessments, and reviews the fleet's preparedness for defense. It monitors emerging threats and, through the Strategic Planning Council, devises new tactics and strategies. Defense missions originate with the Strategic Operations office. Departments under the Office of Strategic Operations include the Strategic Planning Council and Starfleet Intelligence.

RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION: One of the most important divisions within Starfleet Command, this office supervises and coordinates the fleet's exploration efforts—from surveying newly discovered planets to studying the effects of warp fields on chroniton particles. Missions to explore a sector, survey a planet's surface, or study a black hole come from this department. It collates incoming information, reviews various discoveries, and prioritizes scientific endeavors. Departments under this office include Starfleet Medical, Planetary Science Operations, and Astronomical Science Operations.

INTERPLANETARY AFFAIRS: Responsible for coordinating Starfleet's diplomatic efforts, the Office of Interplanetary Affairs oversees first contact efforts, colonization programs, and interplanetary affairs. This office dispatches experts to attend diplomatic conferences, evaluates species for possible contact, instructs starship captains in negotiating strategies, and coordinates diplomatic responses with the Federation Council. Diplomatic missions ranging from establishing contact with the Malcorians to ferrying diplomats to Babel typically originate here. The office of Colonial Affairs, First Contact Division, and Starfleet's Diplomatic Corps fall under this division.

Tours of Duty: Serving in Starfleet

The most sought-after posting in Starfleet is an assignment to a starship. What more glamorous image is there than traveling the galaxy (even in the smallest class of starship), seeing what no one else has seen, going where no one has gone before? Yet Starfleet is more than state-of-the art spacecraft, and includes postings to starbases, Starfleet Command, scientific outposts, sensor arrays, and more. No matter where an officer is destined, he selects a particular branch, which loosely describes his duties.

Branches and Duties

Starfleet divides its operations into three basic categories—command, operations, and science. Members of Starfleet enjoy some latitude when moving between its branches. It is not unusual for an officer to transfer from the science division to command, or for a command officer to move into operations. Starfleet in the 23rd century identified these branches by a particular service uniform color—red for command, yellow for operations, and blue for science.


Command personnel are responsible for the smooth operation and administration of people under their command, from science labs to management of the entire crew. While starship captains and starbase commanders are the most apparent members of this branch, command officers can be found throughout a facility's ranks. Officers involved in flight control (navigators, helmsmen) are also counted among the command ranks, because of their importance in guiding a starship, for example, while command officers in various departments coordinate activities and supervise smaller teams. Junior command officers report to the First Officer on matters related to the ship's smooth operation and coordinate with various department heads. For example, a command officer might supervise repairs on the main deflector array, contributing his organizational talents and reporting to both the First Officer and the Chief Engineer. Command personnel are trained in crisis management, diplomacy, leadership, and tactics. Positions include such well known areas as helm, navigation, flight control, first officer, and captain, along with lesser-known jobs such as quartermaster, strategic operations, and shuttlecraft pilot.


From the science officer on the bridge to the lab technician belowdecks, Starfleet facilities are heavily staffed with science personnel. Every ship maintains several laboratories (and even the smallest vessel has at least one multipurpose lab) where vital experiments and investigations take place. In orbit over a newly discovered planet, for instance, plant surveys are handled by the botany lab, weather studies are conducted by the meteorology department, the chemistry lab conducts an analysis of everything from soil composition to atmospheric gas composition, and so forth. Starships and starbases include among their crews experts in the hard sciences (astronomers, chemists, geologists) and "soft" sciences (like the ship's historian and A&A [archaeology and anthropology] officer). The Chief Science Officer supervises all scientific efforts on board, prioritizes tasks, and interprets data for the captain. Individual scientists are often called in to advise the command staff on particular matters, as when an astrometrics officer advises on a wormhole's potential threats. The medical department, responsible for the health and well-being of the ship's crew, falls under the Chief Medical Officer, who holds equal rank with the Chief Science Officer. Science personnel are trained in at least one science, sensor use, computers, and deductive reasoning.


Responsible for the daily operation of the starship or starbase, members of the Ops branch repair and maintain equipment, provide security for ship and crew, and operate various critical systems. Operations is a catch-all for a wide range of duties.

ENGINEERS maintain the physical operation of ship or starbase. From the environmental controls to the warp core itself, the engineering crew diagnoses, maintains, and repairs every piece of equipment on board, making sure everything is ship-shape in Bristol fashion. Engineering duties range from structural engineering (maintaining the integrity of the hull) and servo systems (maintaining the operation of the ship's moving parts, such as the doors) to propulsion engineering (monitoring and operating the ship's warp and impulse drives) and various systems engineering (transporter, phaser, computer, and sensor specialists). Each engineer is assigned to a team, related to his area of expertise, and teams either collectively tackle complex problems or make repair calls where needed. The Chief Engineer, who reports directly to the commanding officer, supervises the engineering department.

SECURITY personnel guard the ship from threats both internal and external. Internal security includes responding to altercations on board, answering intruder alerts and boarding actions, beaming into potentially hostile landing zones, protecting dignitaries, and guarding prisoners in the brig. Security officers charged with defending against external threats man the ship's tactical systems—the phasers, photon torpedo bays, and deflector grids. While this function is traditionally thought of as the sole responsibility of the Chief Security Officer on the bridge, tactical experts staff each phaser array and deflector emitter, supervising and coordinating the ship's tactical response. The Chief Security Officer supervises both types of security officer.

Crew collectively known as OPERATIONS officers handle additional operation duties not included above. While an engineer keeps the transporters in tip-top working condition, transporter specialists actually operate the equipment. Each operations officer receives extensive training in one area of expertise, though they are capable of serving anywhere in a pinch. In the 24th century, an important position was added to the bridge crew—the Operations Manager. This position is responsible for monitoring a vessel's resources, as well as nominally overseeing all operations personnel on board. Positions generally relate to specific systems, such as computer ops, environmental ops, and transporter ops.

Rank and Responsibility

The chain of command establishes clear lines of authority and responsibility. Each level in the chain of command answers to the level above it. Because of the unexpected situations a Starfleet crew may encounter, Starfleet encourages flexibility in the chain of command. What does that mean? Ideas or solutions can come from any quarter, and even the most junior officer may find himself handling a vital assignment.

Ranks in Starfleet

Flag officers administer the larger operations of Starfleet. Their duties stretch beyond the running of a single ship. Commodores, for instance, often work from starbases in areas with large local contingents of Starfleet vessels, serving somewhat as regional commanders. Fleet captains, vice admirals, and admirals direct the various branches of Starfleet. Some direct the operations of entire fleets, usually doing so from the command chair of a given ship. Fleet admirals run Starfleet itself from positions within Starfleet Command.

Ranks flag officers.jpg
Fleet Admiral (FADM)
Admiral (ADM)
Vice Admiral (VADM)
Rear Admiral (RADM)

Line officers carry out the orders of the flag officers. They direct the daily operation of starships, starbases, and other Starfleet facilities.

Captain (CAPT)
Commander (CDR)
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)
Lieutenant (LT)
Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)
Ensign (ENS)
Commanding Officer

On a starship, starbase, or other Starfleet installation, the commanding officer is the person in charge. This person often holds the rank of commander or higher, though on smaller installations the commanding officer can rank as low as lieutenant. On starships, no matter their size, the commanding officer is traditionally called Captain, no matter his true rank. The commanding officer takes responsibility for the operation of his starship or starbase and the behavior and performance of his crew.

First Officer

The First Officer, also known as the Executive Officer, is the commanding officer's right hand. When the captain leaves the bridge, the First Officer takes over command in his absence. First Officers often accompany the captain on important away missions, though to safeguard the captain they usually lead missions off-ship. Typically responsible for routine operations such as maintaining duty rosters and supervising the department heads, the XO maintains the most visible presence on board a starship or starbase. Many crewmembers never see the captain in a given week, but often see their department heads conferring with the First Officer. First Officers usually hold the rank of commander, though there have been instances of captains serving as executive officers to other captains.

Senior Officers

Senior officers supervise various departments and include positions such as Chief Medical Officer, Chief Engineer, and Chief Science Officer. These officers oversee activities falling within their departments, determining things such as duty rosters and mission assignments. These department heads report directly to the commanding officer and first officer, and ensure that orders are carried out efficiently.

Line Officer Ranks
Captain (CAPT)

Captain is the highest line-officer rank used in Starfleet, immediately superior commander. A captain may be a department head or commanding officer of a starship or starbase, an aide-de-camp, executive officer, or adjutant of a flag officer, or a fleet captain.

The commanding officer of a vessel is addressed as "captain" while on their ship, regardless of rank.

Commander (CDR)

Commander is a military rank used in Starfleet, superior to lieutenant and lieutenant commander and subordinate to captain. A commander may be a department head, aide-de-camp or executive officer on a large vessel or starbase, or may be commanding officer or first officer of a smaller vessel.

Following naval tradition, the commanding officer of a vessel is addressed as "captain" while on their own vessel, regardless of rank.

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

Lieutenant commander is a military rank used in Starfleet, superior to lieutenant and subordinate to commander. A lieutenant commander may be a senior officer in a department on a large vessel or starbase, or may be commanding officer or first officer of a smaller vessel.

A lieutenant commander is normally addressed as commander except in ceremonial contexts or printed orders.

Lieutenant (LT)

Lieutenant is a military rank used in Starfleet, superior to ensign and lieutenant junior grade and subordinate to lieutenant commander and commander. Lieutenants are often technical specialists (navigator, communications officer), heads of small sections, or second-in-command of larger sections (under a lieutenant commander).

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)

Lieutenant junior grade (also called junior lieutenant, lieutenant j.g., or just j.g.) is a military rank used in Starfleet from the 2280s through the 24th century, immediately superior to ensign and immediately subordinate to lieutenant. Officers with rank lieutenant j.g. are addressed as 'lieutenant'.

Ensign (ENS)

Ensign is a rank used in Starfleet. Ensign is the most junior officer grade subordinate to lieutenant and lieutenant junior grade. Most graduates of Starfleet Academy are assigned this rank and spend their first year or two earning their promotion to the lieutenant grade.

Enlisted Ranks

The Starfleet rank system has a long history dating back to early space explorers of the Earth Starfleet and its predecessor naval and military forces. Enlisted personnel (also called rates, crew, or men) are people in Earth Starfleet or Federation Starfleet vessel who are not commissioned officers—meaning they have not taken and passed the full four-year Starfleet Academy course, only a shorter basic training course.

Ranks enlisted.jpg
Master Chief Petty Officer of Starfleet (MCPOSF)
Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer (FMCPO)
Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMCPO)
Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)
Chief Petty Officer (CPO)
Petty Officer First Class (PO1)
Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)
Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)
Crewman First Class (CN1)
Crewman Second Class (CN2)
Crewman Recruit (CR)
Master Chief Petty Officer of Starfleet (MCPOSF)

The Master Chief Petty Officer of Starfleet is a unique non-commisioned rank in the Federation Starfleet. The holder of this post is the senior enlisted member of Starfleet. They are appointed by the Chief of Starfleet Operations to serve as a spokesperson to address the issues of enlisted personnel to the highest positions in Starfleet. As such, they are the senior enlisted advisor to the CSO. Their exact duties vary, depending on the CSO, though they generally devote much of their time to traveling throughout Starfleet observing training and talking to enlisted crewmembers and their families.

Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer (FMCPO)

Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer (FMCPO) is a Starfleet rank given to the senior enlisted crewmember in a fleet. The crewmember holding this position is the liaison between the fleet's commanding officer and the enlisted crew in the fleet.

Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMCPO)

Personnel who hold the rank of Command master chief petty officer are the most senior enlisted personnel on starships and starbases. They serve as the primary liaison between the commanding officer and the enlisted crew. On starships, the Command Master Chief is known as the Chief of the Boat.

Chief of the Boat (COB)

Usually, the most senior chief on board ship is designated the Chief of the Boat (nicknamed "COB"). In many ways, the Chief of the Boat serves as the enlisted counterpart to the ship's first officer. His responsibilities include ensuring that the other chiefs and the duty sections they are responsible for are properly carrying out their duties, carrying out crew evaluations of enlisted personnel, handling minor disciplinary infractions that do not require the first officer or captain's direct attention, and otherwise liaising with the captain and first officer to ensure the smooth running of the ship.

Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)

The highest ranking in the enlisted branch, the Master Chief has served with distinction for many years. A handful of master chiefs serve within Starfleet, all acknowledged leaders in their fields and commanding the respect of those beneath them. Such NCOs oversee important departments and can enjoy treatment almost like that of a distinguished officer.

While nominally subordinate to all commissioned officers, master chiefs wield far more influence and authority than most junior officers and act as mentors and advisors to senior officers. Master chiefs have decades of practical experience and are an indispensable source of technical skill and leadership on Starfleet vessels.

When there are individual grades of chief petty officers, senior chief petty officer (SCPO) is subordinate to MCPO.

In 2286, when a probe projecting humpback whale signals threatened to destroy Earth, MCPO Janice Rand was one of the personnel in Admiral Cartwright's command area.

Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)

Much like the Chief Petty Officer, the Senior Chief oversees departments of large numbers of enblisted personnel. Senior chief petty officers are few in number, have served in Starfleet for a long time, and are experts in their fields. A senior chief could be viewed as the enlisted equivalent of a commander.

Chief Petty Officer (CPO)

The Chief Petty Officer oversees large groups of petty officers and departments underneath him. These NCOs have typically served within Starfleet for some time and are quite skilled. When one becomes "chief" he garners a measure of respect for his accomplishments and proficiency. Chief petty officers are sought out for their specialized knowledge.

A chief or senior chief is addressed as Chief (with surname, as in Chief O'Brien in the first instance, and as plain Chief thereafter). A master chief is addressed as Master Chief.

While chiefs are subordinate to all commissioned officers, intelligent ensigns or lieutenants will listen to their chiefs, as these non-commissioned officers frequently have far greater experience than the junior officers under whom they serve. Even senior officers recognize the value of a good chief petty officer and will take their suggestions and advice seriously.

Petty Officer First Class (PO1)

Petty officer first class is the sixth enlisted rank in Starfleet, just above petty officer second class and below chief petty officer, and is a non-commissioned officer.

Petty Officers are referred to as non-commissioned officers, or NCOs, because they frequently oversee several enlisted crewmen in their departments, and are trained to do so. Most petty officers report to a Chief Petty Officer or sometimes a commissioned officer. A petty officer undergoes more rigorous training, or has risen from the enlisted ranks to his current position.

Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)

Petty officer second class is the fifth enlisted rank in Starfleet, just above petty officer third class and below petty officer first class, and is a non-commissioned officer.

Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)

Petty officer third class is the fourth enlisted rank in Starfleet, just above crewman and below petty officer second class, and is the lowest form of non-commissioned officer, equivalent to a corporal in the Marines or senior airman in the Starfighter Corps.

Crewman First Class (CN1)

Similar to Crewman Second Class, these crewmen are given slightly more responsibility and are more knowledgeable in their fields. Crewmen do not oversee any other enlisted personnel and report to petty officers above them.

Crewman Second Class (CN2)

The lowest rank of the enlisted personnel, the crewman can also be referred to as "Specialist." Upon graduating Starfleet Academy all enlisted personnel hold this rank. The crewman is overseen by petty officers and has limited duties, usually seeing to a specific system or area of function.

Crewman Recruit (CR)

Recruits are only found withing Starfleet Academy while personnel undergo training. Upon completion of the year-long training program, they receive an automatic promotion to the rank of Crewman Second Class, and in some cases can quickly distinguish themselves and attain the rank of Crewman First Class straight out of the Academy.

Enlisted Crewmen Duties

Enlisted personnel of various ranks round out most of a ship's or facility's crew complement. Among other things, they handle routine repairs, round out security teams, maintain ship functions, monitor scientific experiments, and act as specialists for certain missions. For every Chief Engineer and Chief Tactical Officer, hundreds of enlisted crewmen see to the daily operations with their departments—computer systems analysts, phaser technicians, and physicians' assistants, to name a few.

Though specifically trained in fields relative to his job function, through experience an enlisted crewmember could expand his expertise into other fields. Often, this is how such characters advance to Chief and attain higher ranks.

Enlisted Crew Positions

Computer Specialist — monitors computer core
Sensor Specialist — calibrates main deflector array and lateral sensor platforms; maintains probes
Shuttlecraft Pilot — operates shuttlecraft

Computer Technician — maintains computer operations; repairs LCARS terminals and control panels; maintains ODN network
Environmental Technician — maintains inertial dampeners, gravity systems, and life support
Shuttlecraft Technician — maintains all shuttlecraft (shipboard and visiting) and hangar bays
Structural Technician — maintains the space frame, superstructure, hulls, and bulkheads
Transporter Specialist — maintains and repairs transporter systems; operate transporters
Warp Drive Technician — calibrates the matter/antimatter flow matrix; maintains the deuterium tanks and antimatter pods; or repairs plasma transfer conduits

Security Guard — patrols sensitive areas; provides security in appropriate situations
Phaser Specialist — mans phaser banks; provides maintenance and repair to phasers and related systems
Photon Torpedo Specialist — mans photon torpedo bays; catalogs photon torpedo inventory; maintains and repairs launchers and related systems

Administrative Specialist — maintains records, pushes trough "paperwork," is Captain's Yeoman on board a starship
Diplomatic Aide Specialist — assists diplomats and ambassadors, acts as couriers
Supply and Requisition Specialist — fills the order and has the components on hand that cannot be replicated, sees proper loading, unloading, and storage of materials when a vessel or facility takes on cargo


By far the largest percentage of the enlisted ranks is devoted to operations, the people who run any number of key systems aboard a starship. From a shuttlecraft pilot to the transporter chief, the operations specialists are intimately familiar with their equipment. The communications specialist knows the intricacies of the communications array, while the sensor specialist maintains the various long-range, lateral, and navigational sensor arrays on board a ship. Although Starfleet officers are familiar with wide range of operational equipment, the operations specialist is dedicated to a specific area of expertise.

Engineering, a subdivision of Operations, is responsible for maintaining ships' systems at peak efficiency. From the simple job of keeping hallways lit to replacing faulty gravity deck plating, the maintenance specialits and their teams go over their starship on a daily basis, fixing the smallest item. It requires hard work and dedication for a career below deck, but every time a system runs withouth a hitch, it's a personal affirmation to the technician who last repaired it. An engineering technician often becomes quite attached to his area of a ship, taking it personally anytime it suffers a disparaging comment.

Finally, Security, another subdivision of Operations, sees to the security of the vessel or facility, as well as its personnel. Enlisted perosns in this section form the bulk of the security details and staff the various defensive systems on board. These individuals bravely risk their lives to ensure the safety of their fellow crewmates.


Starships and bases typically host a wide variety of scientific experiments, and thus usually berth a number of Starfleet scientists across many disciplines. Officers in the science division typically oversee a specific department—exobiology, vulcanology, anthropology—or perform experiments crucial to the advancement of knowledge in their field. Lab technicians and science specialists support these scientific activities by monitoring experiments, logging data, and performing research. Typically these specialists have a background in science (the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science) and join Starfleet's enlisted ranks to obtain valuable experience.

Like science specialists, medical specialists use their Starfleet experience to expand their own skills. A young, hopeful medical student, unable to enter Starfleet's Medical Academy, could instead enlist and serve aboard a starbase, using his valuable training knowledge to gain practical experience. Medical technicians and specialists serve as orderlies and nurses, perform triage, running tests, and treating minor injuries and ailments; some become corpsmen, enlisted crewmen trained to provide basic emergency medical care and general first aid.


Administrative specialists can be found in nearly any department, from sickbay to main engineering to the Judge Advocate General's office, performing any number of administrative tasks. They file reports, act as clerks, and generally keep everything running smoothly.

Starships have more than their fair share of administrative specialists, even a special assistant to the captain, called they yeoman. Supply and requisition personnel specialize in logistics, obtaining valuable sparr part and supplies difficult to replicate, as well as staff a starship's or starbase's cargo bays. Finally, much as yeomen assist their captains, diplomatic aides support officers as couriers, assistants, and secretaries.


Christopher Pike Medal of Honor

Considered by most Starfleet officers to be the highest award Starfleet can bestow, the "Pike" is given to officers who display bravery, valor, and devotion to the aims and ideals of Starfleet above and beyond the call of duty. The Pike is very rarely awarded.

Gold Palm

The Gold Palm is awarded to crewmen (primarily enlisted men) who stay at their stations and do their duty even in times of extreme peril and personal danger. Especially meritorious service earns the further distinction of a cluster. An enlisted man who receives a Gold Palm is usually regarded as "on his way up" into the ranks of officers (usually Command).

Grankite Order of Tactics

This award is given to Starfleet officers who display clever and creative tactical thinking in battle, thus enabling Starfleet to win battles it might otherwise have lost (or which would have cost it more lives). For particular noteworthy accomplishments, or multiple clever tactical actions during a single battle, the "Class of Excellence" ribbon may be appended to the award.

Kragite Order of Heroism

Starfleet gives this commendation to officers who display special bravery or courage during conflict. The name comes from a possibly mythic Tellarite battle against a people called the Krag, who were defeated only because of the great martial prowess displayed and sacrifices made by Tellarite warriors at the final Battle of the Krags.

Legion of Honor

Officers who display devotion to Starfleet above and beyond the call of duty, and who, through flawless performance of their jobs, improve the lives of Federation citizens often receive this award.

Medal of Honor

Starfleet awards the Medal of Honor to officers who have taken command following the death or incapacitation of their commanding officer and carried on with the duties of command in a manner reflecting positively on both their ormer commander and Starfleet. It may also be awarded in similar instances where an officer displayed unusual initiative and drive in carrying out his duties during a crisis (such as a medical officer who takes the initiative and finds a cure to a plague rather than just treating the victims). For particularly noteworthy service, clusters may be added. Because this medal resembles an open hand inside a sun, Starfleet officers often call it the "Sunny."

Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission

Named after the gallant, and ultimately successful, effort to bring peace to the Federation and preserve its union following the Battle of Axanar in the 2250s. It is given to Starfleet officers who serve with distinction on crucial diplomatic missions and whose personal efforts help to ensure the success of the mission.

Preantares Ribbon of Commendation =

Named for an early Starfleet captain, Ertor Preantares of Alpha Centauri, the Preantares Ribbon is awarded to officers (primarily captains and first officers) who show extreme devotion to the welfare of their ship and crew and thus, by extension, to the Federation as well. The typical award is the Second Class ribbon. The First Class ribbon is normally awarded posthumously to officers who sacrificed their lives to save their ships, but may also be awarded to those who display a willingness to do so, even if they live through the experience.

Service Award

This award is similar to the Preantares Ribbon in nature, but is awarded to any crewman, and often for somewhat lesser deeds. Like the Preantares, it is often given posthumously.

Silver Palm

Officers who make important scientific, technical, military, or other discoveries are often awarded the Silver Palm in recognition of their accomplishments. Particularly noteworthy or valuable discoveries are noted with a cluster.

Space Exploration Medallion

Generally considered the most easily obtainable commendation awarded by Starfleet, the Space Exploration Medallion is given to virtually every officer after he completes two years in Starfleet without having received any black marks on his record. Because it resembles (in a highly stylized fashion) a bird set against the stars, officers jokingly call it the "Great Bird of the Galaxy."

Star Cross

This award recognizes the ability to solve problems (especially military problems) with unusual and creative solutions. While sometimes awarded for a single incident, it is usually given to officers who have shown years of initiative and insight in carrying out important and dangerous duties. Made of gold-pressed latinum set with diamonds, it is Starfleet's most eye-catching commendation.

Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry

As its name indicates, the "red badge of courage" (so called because it consists of a red barlike device) is given for displays of gallantry, bravery, and valor.

UFP Medal of Valor

This award is something like the Starfleet Citation and the Medal of Honor, all rolled into one. The Federation Council awards it to recognize years of valorous service to Starfleet and the Federation.

Commendation Edge
Christopher Pike Medal of Honor Commendation 2
Gold Palm Commendation 1
Gold Palm (with Cluster) Commendation 2
Grankite Order of Tactics
Grankite Order of Tactics (Class of Excellence) Commendation 1
Kragite Order of Heroism
Legion of Honor Commendation 1
Medal of Honor Commendation 1
Medal of Honor (with Clusters) Commendation 2
Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission Commendation 1
Preantares Ribbon of Commendation (Second Class)
Preantares Ribbon of Commendation (First Class) Commendation 1
Service Award Commendation 1
Silver Palm Commendation 1
Silver Palm (with Cluster) Commendation 2
Space Exploration Medallion
Star Cross Commendation 2
Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry
UFP Medal of Honor Commendation 2
A Day in the Life

Life on board a starship or starbase involves routine. Everyone, from the captain to the ensign on deck 34, has a schedule outlining his duties for the day. Starfleet officers have tasks to accomplish according to a deadline, to keep things running in an orderly fashion. A look at the duty roster for Lieutenant Commander Alex Gonzalez, Chief Engineer on the U.S.S. Resolute, provides a good idea of a day in the life of a Starfleet officer.

0700 End Sleep Period
0730 Breakfast
0800 Begin Duty—Alpha Watch
0900 Daily Department Review
0930 Scheduled Servicing: Ablative Armor
1000 Senior Staff Meeting: Warp Drive Maintenance Schedule
1130 Tactical Defense Division: Review Phaser Enhancements
1200 Meal Break (Captain MacKenzie)
1300 Prepare Maintenance Schedule: Stardate 51266
1400 Supervise Shuttlecraft Maintenance: Ensigns J. Vittetow and Z. Vittetow
1600 End Alpha Watch
1615 Review: Sensor Performance
1800 Evening Meal (Lt. Cmdr. Ivari)
2300 Begin Sleep Period

This is essentially a "to do" list for Alex Gonzalez, a list of things Alex must do on this particular stardate. The duty roster is regimented to manage his time effectively and ensure that he gets to everything on his list. The language is a bit formal because each officer's daily schedule is part of his daily report and the ship's log. It is a combination of elements both personal and professional, set by Alex and his superior officer.

For example, Lieutenant Commander Gonzalez's day begins at 7:00 a.m., with breakfast scheduled for 7:30. Although his schedule lists 7:00 a.m. as his time to wake up, this is something Alex chooses for himself (it's not as though the first officer cares what time Alex wakes up); this is the time he chooses to awaken, and when he likes breakfast. While his schedule says "0730 Breakfast", it's not a rule. He doesn't sit alone in his quarters with a knife and fork waiting for a bell to ring so he can start eating. He can eat and get ready in any order; the entry simply denotes how he spent his time during that hour. Similarly, although his schedule lists 2300 hours as his bed time, this is simply the time Alex generally goes to bed. He also chooses to review sensor performance logs in his off-duty time and schedules dinner for himself with Lieutenant Commander Ivari.

His professional day is less about his personal choices and more about the responsibilities of his job. After breakfast, Alex reports for his duty shift at 0800 hours. This is the time when he begins his work day, established by the crew's duty roster. The duty roster is usually developed by Alex's supervisor, the First Officer, who logs the report. Work on a starship is broken down into three shifts, each eight hours long, referred to as Alpha, Beta, and Gamma watches. During extended periods of critical performance, the shifts are usually shortened to four six-hour shifts to relieve stress on the crew.

Alex begins his duty shift by spending an hour reviewing the ship's status and answering questions or handling problems. Afterward (0900 hours) he holds a staff meeting in which he debriefs everyone in his department on the ship's status and their duties. This is typically brief, since everyone usually knows what their jobs for the day are, but if someone's going to be assigned a new task, he learns about it at this meeting. This is also the place where any unforeseen difficulties can be discussed and clarifications can be made. At 0930 hours Alex supervises an inspection of the Resolute's ablative armor, something mandated by Starfleet regulations. Afterward, at 1 000 hours, he meets with the other senior staff members, where they discuss issues that might impact the other departments. Alex, for instance, informs everyone that his crew plans on performing the monthly warp drive maintenance, which means running on impulse power for a few hours.

After the meeting, Alex talks with one of the many teams on his staff, the Tactical Defense Division. These junior officers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the Resolute's shipboard weapons systems. Alex has made a note to talk to them about the performance of the phasers and projected modifications to enhance their effectiveness. Afterward, he'll have lunch with the Resolute's captain, Matthew MacKenzie (scheduled by Captain MacKenzie).

And so on through the day until the end of Alex's duty roster and a return to his personal schedule.

Standard Operations

What keeps the starships flying? Not dilithium, or warp nacelles, or even miracle-working engineers. What keeps starships flying is order and organization. Starships embody science and rationality; Starfleet standard operating procedure aims to do the same.

Operational Practice

Once a ship leaves spacedock, its crew should be prepared for anything the galaxy can throw at it, from rogue Klingon madmen to enormous Iconian berserkers. Starfleet ships maintain a regular schedule of operational practices to ensure readiness; the Crew will have responsibilities to this schedule both during their eight hour on-duty watch and outside it. Ion storms don't take the evening off, after all.

Under Weigh

A starship between ports of call planets, starbases, etc. is "under weigh", a term dating back to the old water navies of Earth. A starship under weigh usually travels at its cruising speed or slower on condition green, the lowest alert status. However, even while not on alert, a competent Starfleet crew is always ready for a sudden contact, whether with a dangerous intruder or a new scientific wonder to catalog and explore. General Order Thirteen mandates that Starfleet personnel are obligated to investigate any unusual phenomenon where possible.

While "under weigh," ships primarily run on long-range navigational sensors and a full array of passive sensor systems. (Passive sensors like gravimeters only receive; active sensors lie radar both transmit and receive.) Depending on the mission, the captain may order a full sensor sweep (including active sensors) every eight hours. On survey and scientific missions, the sensors are usually continuously active on all wavelengths. This makes the ship much easier to detect, but also adjusts the chance of detecting another ship at long range. If another ship is detected, the tactical officer or science officer identifies it if possible. If the ship is unknown, or is from a known culture but has an unknown intent, standard Starfleet ship contact protocols come into play.

In Orbit

While in orbit around a planet, the starship should monitor planetary communications where possible, maintain sensor scans for energy discharges or hostile life forms, and scan the system for other ships, especially incoming ships under warp. If the ship is orbiting a Federation, allied, or neutral world, the commanding officer should respect the planetary orbital control system (except in cases of emergency). If the ship is orbiting a world without warp travel, the Prime Directive may restrict all ship emissions to those not detectable at that world's Tech Level; ships orbiting a Tech Level 5 or 6 world may have to secure for silent running.

On the Planet

While planetside, Starfleet officers remain bound by Starfleet directives and guidelines. Starfleet officers on other planets should assume that they are under that planet's legal jurisdiction. In some cases, Starfleet Command has acquiesced to an officer's execution by local authorities if convinced of local capital crimes—however Starfleet expects officers on the scene to do everything they can within the local law to preserve fellow officers' lives and freedom. Starfleet officers on planets without warp travel must remain cognizant of the Prime Directive, and Starfleet officers in general should follow the Away Team Guidelines.

Alert Status

The standard peacetime status of all Starfleet vessels. Crew members perform their regular routine duties; while off-duty they may engage in personal hobbies, continue research on their own time, fraternize, utilize the holodeck, enjoy the ship's library, or sleep. The mandatory bridge crew on a capital ship on condition green consists of a command officer, a flight control officer (or helmsman), a sensor operator (usually a science officer or operations manager), and (if the Federation is in a state of emergency) a weapons or tactical officer (who can also serve as navigator or operations manager on some ships). Some captains maintain a full bridge crew even on condition green.

Even on condition green, navigational deflectors are up, forty percent of the ship's weapons are on standby status able to power up in two minutes, and one shuttle remains ready for launch in five minutes. While on condition green, the operations manager or first officer runs a level 4 diagnostic check of primary ship systems every eight hours.

The senior bridge officer (or the captain or first officer at any time) can place the ship on yellow alert. A yellow alert signals the possibility of combat, hazardous flight conditions, or ship system malfunction. On yellow alert, sleeping personnel wake, dress, and equip themselves. Off-duty personnel stand in quarters for assignment to their departments. Senior bridge crew report for duty. On some ships, or during wartime, unarmed on-duty security personnel arm themselves. All crew members keep a special eye out for anything out of the ordinary, reporting any strange readings, damage, or occurrences. Ship's weapons arm, and the operations manager clears the decks of low-priority systems use such as holodecks, scientific experiments or surveys, and so forth. The operations manager or first officer runs a level 4 diagnostic check of the entire ship immediately.

Only the captain or the senior officer can order red alert. In theory, ships should go to yellow alert first, which should bring the captain to the bridge to decide on red alert status. In practice, crises don't always wait for turbolifts. On red alert,, all personnel head to battle stations. Security personnel fan out to transporter rooms and other strategic locations throughout the ship. Medical personnel report to sickbay and other duty stations. Engineers check and wait near critical systems. All shuttle crews report to shuttlebays, and all shuttles warm up. Weapons arm and load; shields come up. Active sensors begin sweeps at all ranges. The computer automatically runs a level 4 diagnostic check continuously.

This operational mode is similar to yellow alert but focuses on an internal breach of security. During an intruder alert, all nonessential personnel are confined to their quarters or duty stations for the duration of the emergency. Movement through the ship requires the authorization of an immediate superior officer and all turbolifts key to authorization codes only. Armed security teams patrol each deck, with teams stationed at sensitive areas of the ship (e.g., transporter rooms, shuttlebays, torpedo bays, main engineering, computer core, armory, and the bridges). The securtity officer mounts a full internal scan of the ship, ready to seal bulkheads, flood the decks with anaesthezine, or any other response required.

In the event of an outbreak, this operational mode confines all personnel to their current locations, while environmental controls isolate life support systems for each deck. This ensures the contagion does not spread throughout the starship or facility. Priority power is routed to sickbay, and the chief medical officer runs a full internal scan of the ship to locate and deal with any contagion.

If the commanding officer considers a vessel lost, he may give the order to abandon ship. All shuttle crews ready their craft and prepare for immediate departure. If a habitable planet is in range, ship's power transfers to all working transports. All personnel report to a designated mustering station in the event of the abandon ship order being given, with the key supplies on their evacuation roster. Lifeboats are enabled, and launched either by the bridge of by their occupants. A microwarp buoy is launched, containing a subspace transmitter and a copy of the ship's logs. The operations manage or first officer oversees the evacuation of the ship while the rest of the bridge crew works to contain the emergency that caused this drastic measure.

Starfleet Ship Contact Protocols

If the contact remains unidentified:

  • Shields remain at standby mode.
  • Sensors use is restricted to passive sensors. If the contact is from a completely unknown culture, even navigational sensors go on standby.
  • Immediately attempt communication by opening hailing frequencies; activate adaptive communications to detect the unknown ship's beacon or guidance frequency and begin universal translator search of EM background.
  • Response should be measured and equivalent; if the contact actively scans your ship, you may return the scan using analogous technology where possible. If the contact raises shields, you may raise shields. If the contact powers weapons, you are encouraged (by Regulation 8A) to raise shields.
  • As per General Order Ten, a Starfleet vessel never fires first, except when faced with a known enemy vessel during wartime.

If the contact fires on your starship:

  • If the contact if from an unknown culture, the captain's first responsibility is to the safety of his ship and crew (per General Order Five) unless the contact poses an immediate threat to other Federation citizens (as per General Order Two).
  • The safety of both his ship and the Federation will often depend on breaking the engagement and retreating to report the contact and the full on-site assessment to Starfleet Command. Where this is impossible, the captain must use his best judgement as governed by general Starfleet tactical doctrine.
  • If the contact is from a known culture, the captain may use his best judgement in responding, governed by general tactical doctrine and wartime status, if any, of the Federation.

Starfleet Tactical Doctrine

  • If the ship's shields are capable of handling the opponent's full primary weapon, the opponent should not be destroyed unless completely unavoidable.
  • Only the commanding officer or first officer can order weapons fire; firing weapons without orders is a court-martial offense.
  • Phasers should be used for pinpoint attacks to immobilize and disarm where possible.
  • Photon torpedoes should be used when phasers are insufficient to end the engagement rapidly and with limited loss of life. All photon torpedoes should be inventoried and secured except when actually in firing mode.

Away Team Guidelines

These are among the guidelines established for away team conduct in the 2340s. Before that time, Starfleet officers remain guided by Starfleet directives. Even in the late 24th century, Starfleet directives can trump these guidelines in emergency or crisis situations. Landing party or away team officers must think on their feet; this, after all, is why such groups normally contain at least some (and sometimes all) of the ship's senior staff.

  • Treat all encountered beings with respect and dignity.
  • Maintain complete and accurate tricorder records of all actions and observations.
  • Remain within eyesight or communicator contact at all times, and establish communication protocols with the ship and with the commanding officer or Mission Ops.
  • Take only essential items of vital scientific or security interest; leave nothing behind if at all possible.
  • Do everything in your power to avoid hostilities. Never fire first.
  • If hostilities are unavoidable, end the combat as soon and with as little damage as possible. Avoid lethal damage.
  • Establish containment and decontamination protocols based on biological surveys both from the ship and on the planet; do not transport potentially infectious agents to an unsecured area of the ship.

Mission Operations

Starfleet sends it ships on many and varied missions and duty tours to every corner of the known galaxy. For each mission type, there are certain reliable patterns of operation and standard practices that Starfleet officers should at least begin with. This can often rapidly narrow the field down to the real crisis at hand, which may not have anything to do with the ship's ostensible assignment!

Exploration Missions

Deep-Space Exploration

For these missions, continuous attention to every detail of the long-range sensors pays off. Deep space contains dangerous interstellar phenomena, bizarre radiation fields, and even entirely unknown spacegoing civilizations; it's worth knowing everything you possibly can before you meet any of them. Keep an eye out for departures from accepted scientific knowledge, for sensor ghosts paralleling your course, and for system malfunctions on your own ship.

Planetary Exploration

These missions can involve all levels of planetary sciences, but don't neglect the A&D officer! On a planet with intelligent life, knowing the ins and outs of their culture can help avoid gladiatorial combats or dangerous logic games with all-knowing supercomputers—and if it can't help you avoid them, it can help you win them. Sensor scans should be especially alert for Romulans or other threat races; statistically, a planet is seldom in only one set of spacelanes.

Defense Missions


Like planetary exploration, patrolling dangerous or under-policed sectors tends to turn up threat ships, or Ferengi or Orion pirates who will report your existence to rival nations. Consider working with these third force ships and using them as your own eyes and ears. Even if they still betray you, you may get some useful intelligence out of their sensor logs.

Threat Alert

Be wary of being drawn into a compromising position. Enemies and rivals of the Federation often attempt to embarrass starship officers into aggression, high-handedness, or other violations of standard Federation practice. While patrolling the frontier of a known rival, always remember that you are diplomats first and naval officers second.


Review the tactics of your likely opposition, and be ready for anything. Some captains use tactical deployments to practice drill and space combat skills at a measured pace; others prefer to move in at top speed to hopefully get a jump on the crisis before it boils over. Be ready to look for the force multiplier option, a place where a few key personnel can make all the difference by deactivating a planetary deflector shield, switching the locals to the Federation side, or getting detailed sensor scans to find the weakness of some unprecedented threat.

Convoy and Escort

Treat these missions like deep-space explorations; have sensors on full and be ready for anything. Keep your charges in line and in phaser range; one missing ship can wreck the whole mission. This is the time for phaser drill and tactical training.

Diplomatic Missions

First Contact

Here, again, the role of the A&A officer or first contact specialist is paramount. Every culture has something worthwhile to offer the Federation; identify that thing and encourage it where you can (assuming the Prime Directive will let you, that is). Keep in mind that not all cultures obey the Prime Directive, however; unscrupulous merchants or enemy soldiers can do much more damage than you can.

Intergalactic Affairs

When involved in intergalactic diplomacy, the key is to maintain sight of your own objectives. Do not get drawn into diplomatic horse-trading, or (worse yet) personal squabbles; you are constrained by regulations and Starfleet practice in a way that envoys aren't. However, when you are the envoys on the scene, get the best deal you can and advance Starfleet directives where possible.

Emergency Missions

Aid and Relief

There is almost always more to the crisis than meets the eye. Keep a sharp lookout for scavengers (such as mercenaries or merchants) preying on the misery around you, and for complications to the ongoing emergency. Sometimes the two are connected. Always remember that nobody's pride is worth the lives of innocent people—not yours, and not the so-called experts on the scene. Trust your opinion; that's why Starfleet sends you there.


These missions resemble diplomatic missions or convoy missions to the tenth power. Strict rules, personal neutrality, and focus on the key goal (saving lives) must be your lodestones during a logistical nightmare such as this.

Scientific Missions


Experiments always go wrong; it's the key to the scientific method. As with deep-space survey missions, keep an eye on the sensors, and run diagnostics on ship systems whenever possible. Pay attention during briefings, and try to get a familiar handle on the underlying scientific theories being tested. Work out which ship systems you could adapt to fix the first four things you can think of that might go wrong.


As contrasted with official experimentation missions, the chances are that you won't hear about specific investigations unless they are assigned to your branch or they go wrong. Try to get to know the personality of the lead investigator; be ready to use that knowledge to replicate, abort, or assist her investigations. (This is also good advice for experimenters.) Use the ship's library computer liberally; at the worst, you'll help close off some dead ends.

Intelligence Missions

The Federation places primary responsibility for espionage, counterespionage, and other covert activities in the hands of Starfleet Intelligence. This remains a source of some discomfort for Starfleet as a whole; Starfleet's primary scientific goal has obvious intelligence applications, and the meshing of intelligence and defense responsibilities in the same agency can occasionally cause interdepartmental friction. Starfleet understandably prefers to emphasize its open actions for science and defense—but when the safety of the Federation requires some cloaking-device-and-dagger work, they do their duty as they have always done. Intelligence missions include:


An infiltration mission calls on Starfleet personnel to covertly (or under false pretenses) enter a dangerous or interdicted location, perform some action, and exfiltrate or escape, ideally unnoticed by the opposition. Captain Kirk's 2268 mission to cross into the Romulan Neutral Zone, steal a cloaking device, and return with it is a classic infiltration mission.

Performing an infiltration mission requires a solid plan—and inspired improvisation when it falls apart. Like diplomatic missions (with which they have some surprising commonalities), keeping mission goals in mind and not becoming distracted by personalities are the key to limiting complications in an infiltration mission. Often, infiltration missions are classic force multiplier situations where a single landing party does more good than a whole starship crew. Sine you don't always have access to your whole starship, this is a comforting thought.


By contrast, an assessment mission is one in which Starfleet Intelligence suspects something is up but doesn't know where to go, or what to do when you get there. Assessment missions generally start with an anomaly—a vanished agent, a rumor of sabotage, a political shakeup—that requires expert analysis by Starfleet personnel can be inserted under the cover of another mission, such as a scientific or diplomatic mission.

Where infiltration missions resemble diplomatic missions, assessment missions resemble scientific missions. The key is data, and checking it for anomalous patterns. Always have two backup plans for getting out of whatever trouble you stir up; be ready to react on the fly. After all, Starfleet Intelligence wouldn't send you to check things out if the situation was normal.


A counterintelligence mission is one that thwarts an intelligence (or military) mission by a foreign power or internal radical group. Starfleet officers usually stumble into these missions while pursuing other goals, although often an assessment mission becomes a counterintelligence op halfway through.

Counterintelligence missions require initiative; if Starfleet Command knew about the situation, they would already have sent someone else to deal with it. In speed and complexity, they resemble emergency missions, but in solution they often times become tactical missions. With counterintelligence missions, decisive and correct use of force is often your only option; better to stop the plot early than wait too long and discover that you no longer can.

Starfleet Uniforms

Starfleet Uniform 1.jpg

Starfleet's first uniforms, created before the Federation for Earth's space exploration service, began with the practical tradition of the astronaut's jumpsuit. On early spacecraft, a jumpsuit and sealed helmet would serve to keep crewmen alive if air loss threatened the ship; this design conservatism carried over well past the era when single micropunctures could evacuate a ship's air supply.

With the founding of the Federation, Starfleet duty uniforms changed to a different tunic and trousers model, although technicians stayed in the comfortable jumpsuits. For a non-military organization, Starfleet uniforms have shown general continuity, although individual officers and ships have adapted various fatigues, undress uniforms, and other styles for maximum comfort and efficiency on given missions.

Uniforms in Transition

With the introduction of cheap, reliable replication technology, Starfleet uniforms went through a period of repeated re-design beginning in 2266. This uniform (which, unlike other Starfleet uniforms before or since, differentiated between male and female crewmen) was comfortable and efficient, and proved very popular with Starfleet personnel. In 2270, Starfleet regularized the Enterprise "arrowhead" insignia as standard throughout the fleet, and redesigned uniforms on the Enterprise and at Starfleet Command to indicate the new status of the ship. The pastel blue-and-gray tunics worn on the Enterprise during Captain Kirk's second five-year mission never caught on elsewhere in the fleet, so Starfleet Command redesigned the uniform again in 2275, returning to the 2266 model, changing the color scheme slightly, and adding a crimson jacket for all branches of Starfleet.

This uniform lasted through the end of the Klingon cold war and into the new era of cooperation and exploration in the early 24th century. Only after the fleet reorganization by Admiral Taneko in 2350 did the uniforms change again. (The "field operation" uniform, a fatigue uniform for ground-based personnel, remained the same.) Duty uniforms returned to the three branch colors, reversing engineering and security (now called operations) with command, and the general "jumpsuit" look from Starfleet's earliest days returned as well. Slight design variations again crept in between ships, issue years, fabrication plants, and among Starfleet's highly independent and individual officers.

Starfleet Uniform 2.jpg Starfleet Uniform 3.jpg Starfleet Uniform 4.jpg


Three different disciplinary procedures apply to offenses by Starfleet personnel. The more serious the offense, the more forbidding and formal the disciplinary procedure.

Command Discipline

Any non-senior officer can be directly disciplined by his commander. Department heads may use command discipline with their subordinates. Most command discipline takes the form of a reprimand, a verbal dressing-down during which the offender stands at attention. Reprimands appear in the offender's record. More serious reprimands include confinement to quarters (for 24 or 48 hours), and some result in demotion, the loss of rank. Extremely serious offenses can result in brig time, but outside states of emergency, most such cases require a board of inquiry.

Board of Inquiry

A board of inquiry is a panel of ranking officers (usually the ship or base's command staff) who sit in judgement of serious, but non-criminal offenses. They may acquit the defendant, or subject him to any sanction which does not deprive him of is liberty, including a dishonorable discharge from Starfleet. In addition to these sanctions, they may issue a non-binding recommendation that the defendant's commanding officer sentence him to a brief stay in the brig.

Any charge against a senior, commanding, or flag officer is referred to a board of inquiry. If the board determines that the charge is unworthy of consideration, or lacks sufficient evidence, it dismisses the case without hearing witnesses. This happens more often than not. If the board decides that the offense is criminal in nature, it refers the case to a court martial.

Court Martial

Court martial are formal trials, with Starfleet judges (a minimum of three of captain's rank or higher), prosecutors, and defense attorneys. Rigorous standards of evidence apply. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and afforded due process of law. Guilty verdicts can result in anything from demotion to dishonorable discharge to penal colony time to death (for violating General Order Seven only). Court martials of senior officers are exceedingly rare; the first court martial of a serving captain occurred in 2267, when Captain James T. Kirk was tried for causing the death of Lieutenant Commander Ben Finney.