Command Division jobs

What do the command staff do on your starship?

I mean, we understand what the Captain and First Officer do. And the Flight Controller. We can probably imagine that the shuttlebay has a bunch of command folks flying shuttles (and maybe staffing other positions). But what about the others? In particular, what do the command division non-comms do?

Just watching the number of folks walking around the halls it seems like there are a fair number of command division folks, and it’s not really clear what they all do on the ship.


Aren’t Starfleet’s command officers similiar to the line officers of the Earth’s navies?

i have five players only one of whom plays a command character (the captain), so far the support characters they have used are mostly science and engineering

This take may be garbage but it’s all I’ve got.

Once a Command Division officer has moved beyond helm duties, if they choose to remain on the path to command, it’s important for them to build a large general knowledge of all roles aboard ship. There may be a fair bit of admin work to fill gaps in their work. They may be transferred off ship and assigned to senior Command Division personnel (the Commander who acts as a PA to an Admiral springs to mind).

Ultimately, if there’s no notable space for a traditional command role, an officer wishing to find a place in a crew may want to consider transferring to another division and take the opportunity to expand their knowledge and gain valuable management skills once their knowledge and skill allow them to serve as supervisors within their chosen department.

I know it’s not a satisfying answer but I can’t think of anything that would make these decisions any easier.

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In my campaign, I have a Chief Helm, XO and Captain in Command Division positions. Our players are a mix of very experienced Star Trek RPGers, and new players. Our knowledge of all things Trek spans from a player who has never seen any episodes, to life long Trek fans. Our group alternates positions and GM’s between different campaigns, rotating so everyone gets to play and nobody gets overly stressed to run beyond their tolerance. We are a unique group, in that we have been together playing for nearly 15 years.

Gotta state that I think Pragmort’s standpoint ain’t bad. The Command Division - such as it is - is and really should be just about the most flexible and adaptable of all three of Starfleet’s major points of professional application. To offer a classical - and possibly irrelevant, but that’s up to the indivdual reader to decide - analogue, Plato believed that the Philospher Kings should, rather than living in ivory towers, be getting down in the dirt with the ditch-diggers so that they could have a full view of the consequences and real-world impact of their decisions for real-world people. Similarly, the Command Division personnel should be down on the Engineering decks and shovelling coal - or anti-matter - into the warp core so that they can see what the heck matters are like for the basic working guy or girl. The point is to reinforce the central lesson that Command Division ain’t better than anyone else just 'cuz they’re wearing gold (TOS) or red (TNG). In fact, it should be hammered in that they’re the bottom of the pile and the opportunity to take that cushy seat on the bridge is a mere coming-up-for-air moment before they go back and start working with those shovels and/or pick-axes again.

The character I constructed and am using in our TOS campaign - a starship Captain - has Command 5, Security 4 and Science 4. I did this deliberately so that he would have (in addition to first-rate hand-to-hand skills, which Star Trek characters should always have so that the K7 Klingon scraps are halfway fair) a thorough basis from which he could make decisions and insights that would keep the crew’s welfare - not to mention the Federation as a whole - always first in mind. Being able to listen to the crew members - from the lowliest yeoman to the EXO - is one thing, being able to appreciate and make insights into their positions is another. Command Divsion personnel should be scattered and seeded through the departments as regularly and as thoroughly as possible, and subject to continual rotation between those departments so that they become knowledgable generalists as opposed to specialized.

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Please take a note on Worf’s and Geordi’s appointments on first season of TNG. They are bridge officers without any specific station and both wear command-red uniforms. Just as Captain and XO, they also are engaged in a variety of tasks, whenever they can be helpful (mostly they are not :wink: ).

I believe this is the only canonical example of having bridge officers without distinct department but if Star Trek was more realistic, we should see more of them. :slight_smile:

You could even count the division heads as command division. CoEng specialised in command and engineering as example…
They may tend to delegate more to their crews.

I imagin Gold(TOS)/Red(TNG) Uniforms are worn by

  • Admirals
  • Captains
  • First Officers
  • Flight Controlers / Shuttle-Pilots / Navigators
  • The people in the Administration Department of a Star Ship
  • Staff Officers (Adjudants, Aids, other Staff Specialists)
  • JAG Officers
  • Intelligence Officers
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I’m not so sure on Intelligence, since they also could be allocated to the Security Department (TOS red / TNG gold) or wear the colour of their specialisation (i.e. blue for MEDINT specialists etc.). But intelligence in general would be Command Division, imho.

I totally agree on the rest and would like to add:

  • press officers (probably included within the Staff Officers as mentioned by @LucasCunningham )
  • CIMIC (Civil-Military Co-Operation) officers (probably included within the Staff Officers as mentioned by @LucasCunningham )
  • operational planners
  • logistics and resource management officers (but, again, those would also be found within staffs)

At least one commodore wears Red in TOS… Commodore Stone.

You don’t become command branch just because you get promoted to the admiralty.
Nor even for getting a command slot.


That does not have to mean anything.

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Also Commodore Stocker in “The Deadly Years” wore red.

Well, it indicates that, while command (TOS gold / TNG red) is common for flag officers (i.e. many flag officers are from command division), one does not necessarily need to change for command division from other divisions to advance to flag officers’ ranks.

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Some chuckles on this, because this subject thread has gone way off topic and is starting to turn into a commentary on Federation/Starfleet fashion - What sort of uniform really does look best when scrapping Borg hand-to-hand? Command red makes the blood less obvious, but Operations gold makes it clear how bad you can get wounded and still take it head-on with the programmed so-and-so’s - but nonetheless, still brings up some interesting points. Regarding Commodore Stone, I think we’d have to speak to the actual cast and crew of the episode before coming to any hard conclusions, and it could turn out that it was a case of nothing more complicated than, “Meh - we all, including Percy Rodriguez, decided that he looked better in red than gold and went with that.” Anything we come up with at this point would likely be little more than an act of rationalization, and has little to no bearing on how damn good the episode itself was.

I do believe it’d be possible to turn the uniform question into a plot issue and/or point - “What color uniform was the killer wearing? We’ll use that to start isolating suspects.” - but otherwise, color is just color: something to keep the eye interested and establish some professional clarification and diversity. While the Romulans - TOS version, at least - seem to have some indications the same way, it’s interesting that the Klingons have one suit of uniformed armor for all divisions…might be an indication as to how they measure all warriors as equal, both honorable or dispensable, regardless of field of application.

Color of uniform in TOS, TAS, and TNG DOES mean something. It indicates the specialty of the character within Starfleet.
In the movies 2-9 (Maroons and TNG movies), the undershirt color and the strap color indicates specialty.

Most militaries use color for specialty, and have done so since the 1800’s or before, at least on dress and office uniforms; field and battle not so much since WW I.
Many use different base colors for different services, and in some cases, with the same color coding of insignia to indicate specialties. (In the US, for example, the USCG and USN have different base color dress/office uniforms, but the accent colors of E1-E3 stripes on uniforms where they’re a patch indicate department the person is assigned to.) The UK Royal Navy used color flashing on officer insignia, between the stripes, to indicate officer fields. The Canadian forces all wear the same uniform in different base colors, and enlisted stripes in different colors, to indicate which service the person is serving in. Current USN carriers use colored turtlenecks to indicated role of crewmen in shipboard uniform, especially the deck crews.

On the main topic, I’ve always assumed that the command division was probably one of the smaller departments on a ship, but would likely to be home to a lot of administrative roles. A ship with thousands of people on it definately needs a HR manager for example…

The only times I’ve really used the department are for roles such as mission advisor or some sort of legal/political advisor or aide. Generally speaking those roles don’t make for the best star trek tv, but there’s certainly more room to play with it in an rpg setting.

Betazoid: He keeps fantasizing about me!
HR: I’m sorry, you can’t file an HR complaint based on what a person is thinking.

Vulcan: I would prefer it if you would eat your gagh privately rather than at your cubicle.
Klingon: I would prefer you to eat your disgusting salad elsewhere as well!
HR mediator: Let’s stay calm and I’m sure we can resolve this civilly.

We get more proof of this from the second episode of ST: Picard… Commodore Oh is addressed onscreen, as head of starfleet security, and shown with 1 boxed pip. She’s in mustard yellow…
And we see the head of Starfleet is in boxed five pips red uniform.

It also shows a Romulan Spy can make it to head at least the SFHQ’s security detachment…

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Earlier than that even. Admiral Todman wore gold when he threatened to promote Sisko for taking the Defiant to rescue Odo and Garak.