(covers information from Vanguard universe)
Mandate and functionsEdit
Starfleet's principal functions were:
- To explore unknown territory and advance Federation knowledge about the galaxy and its inhabitants on the behalf of the Federation government,
- To advance Federation knowledge of science and technology
- To militarily defend the Federation and its allies from threats,
- To further Federation policies and interests throughout interstellar space, and,
- To initiate first contact with newly-discovered worlds and to engage in diplomatic negotiations on the behalf of the Federation, when applicable.
The foremost purpose of Starfleet from its establishment was to "...seek out new life and new civilizations." and "...go boldly where no man has gone before." (Zefram Cochrane)
As per its mandate of deep-space exploration, its personnel were frequently brought into contact with cultures and sentient species whose existences were unknown to the Federation. Federation Starfleet officers therefore acted as official representatives of the Federation in these cases. Also, Federation Starfleet vessels were frequently used to ferry ambassadors on diplomatic missions.
Starfleet was the primary space defense and exploration organization of the United Earth in the early-to-mid-22nd century before 2161. A charter was written and an institution for the training of the Federation Starfleet officer corps, Starfleet Academy, was established. With the formation of the Federation in 2161, as per the Federation Charter, Starfleet and the deep-space exploratory and quasi-military services of the other member worlds were combined to form the Federation Starfleet. It was created from the space and science programs and militaries of the Federation's founding Member States, including the United Earth Starfleet (founded only about twenty to thirty years earlier), the Andorian Imperial Guard, and the Vulcan, Tellarite, and Alpha Centauri military forces.
Direct commanding authority over the Federation Starfleet was a power of the Federation President. In addition, the Federation Council, the Federation's legislature, often directly influenced the service's operations.
Starfleet Headquarters, the primary hub of Starfleet Command, was built near the Presidio in San Francisco on Earth, as the United Earth Starfleet Command complex had been, as was the Academy. The day-to-day operations of the service were managed by Starfleet Command, under the Starfleet Commander-in-Chief.
As a quasi-military service, Federation Starfleet personnel were organized using a military rank structure into a chain of command, even though its main role was scientific development and exploration. Ranks within Starfleet closely follow the traditions of the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy.
Starfleet officers functioned as commanders and directors of the service’s operations at all levels. The most senior officers ranks were known as Flag officer ranks. Officers holding these ranks functioned at the highest levels of command in the service. Flag officer ranks, in descending order of the chain of command, are as follows:
- Fleet admiral
- Vice admiral
- Rear admiral (upper half/grade)
- Rear admiral (lower half/grade), or Commodore
Below flag officer ranks were other commissioned officer ranks. Officers holding these ranks usually served in field command positions, such as commanding officers and senior staff on the service’s vessels. These ranks, in descending order of the chain of command, were as follows:
Graduates of Starfleet Academy were commissioned to the rank of Ensign, the most junior officer’s rank, and were promoted to higher ranks over the courses of their time in the service. Physicians who graduated from Starfleet Medical Academy and Starfleet Academy graduates who have enrolled for another year or two to take additional advanced or command courses were commissioned to the rank of Lieutenant junior grade.
These personnel functioned under the command of the officers, usually serving aboard Federation Starfleet vessels or other facilities. Instead of officers’ training, enlisted personnel received basic training for whatever position they served in. The most junior enlisted rank was that of crewman. The service’s enlisted rank structure, in descending order of the chain of command, was as follows:
The enlisted ranks above that of crewman were not commissioned officer ranks. To distinguish them from commissioned officer ranks, the term 'non-commissioned officer' was used. All enlisted personnel were subordinate to commissioned officers in the chain of command.