Tactical/Security Query

I’m curious as to how often and ‘when’ you guys split the Tactical Officer and Security Officer positions on your ships.

In some instances they’re the same person. In others they’re two distinct positions independent of one another.

So I’m curious as to when you guys have one officer holding both, and when you split them, and why?

Size of ship/Crew compliment? If so what size/how many crew before you split them?

I think they should be a different officer. The skill set is completely different. My opinion possibly stems from Chekov - good tactical officer, terrible security officer (just look as STIV an STVI).

I like them to be separate positions as well. I’d have a security office next to the bridge where I’d station the security chief, much like Odo’s office.

As I mentioned on Facebook this morning, I tend to assume that the ship’s Commanding Officer chooses how their ship is staffed, and who is amongst the senior staff. In-game, I tend to leave that thing up to the group and whatever roles the group themselves picks (and how they construct their bridge).

Personally speaking, I don’t regard “Tactical Officer” as a full-time distinct role in the same way as “Chief of Security” is - the Chief of Security is always in charge of the ship’s Security department, but the Tactical Officer is only really the Tactical Officer when they’re stood at the Tactical station on the bridge. In both TNG and Voyager, the vessel’s primary Tactical Officer (the person normally at Tactical) is the Chief of Security, who is relieved by one of the relief bridge officers when they step away (same as with the Conn or Ops), and their Tactical stations allow them access to various Security oversight functions as well as communications systems (because a starship sends and receives secure or encrypted communications… and Worf’s normally the one answering or sending hails in TNG). Worf also seems to be responsible for training and supervising junior bridge officers.

TOS didn’t have a dedicated Tactical officer either - weapons were handled from either helm or navigation - and while Enterprise is the closest to having a ‘pure’ Tactical officer, Reed’s role is Armoury Officer, so operating the ship’s weapons is an extension of his responsibility for all weapons aboard the ship… and even then, he still oversees ship security until the MACOs arrive.

When we get to DS9 (the weird one), the station doesn’t have a dedicated tactical officer at all - one of Kira, O’Brien, or Dax operates the station’s weapons, with Odo’s security/law enforcement side emphasised in part because of the civilian and mercantile nature of the station. On the Defiant, there are two tactical stations, with both Worf (Strategic Operations Officer) and Kira (Station XO) commonly staffing one or both at various points… even on a tiny ship with an overabundance of weapons, there’s no dedicated Tactical Officer (though the Defiant’s crew is a bit ad-hoc, with characters taking on whatever jobs they need to at any given moment).

Overall, though, I assume that Starfleet officers, especially Main Character ones, are absurdly omnicompetent, able to rise to the occasion and do the jobs demanded of them, so lots of officers have more than one job aboard their ship. It’s a universe where ten year old children complain about having to learn Calculus, building a subspace radio is an unremarkable thing for a teenager to do (as mentioned by O’Brien), and individual medical officers are skilled in treating dozens of different species.


It depends on the starship compliment and the commanding officer for us. For our larger ships and given our universe which has existed since FASA first published the RPG generally has them separate.

Our newer games outside of that universe depends on what positions the players want and what era they are in.

This sounds like the most reasonable interpretation to me, especially given the requirement for multiple officers to rotate through the bridge positions as watches hand off, and emergent tasks/Landing Parties take people away.

So in TOS, I’d interpret the Tactical Officer to be whoever has control of the ship’s weapons at the time, either Helm or Navigation.

Chief of Security would be the head cop on board. Overseeing brig and armouries, internal security repelling boarding parties, forming a boarding party, Close Protection for a Landing Party, promoting the Red Shirt Widow’s fund…

Personally I split it.
"MP’ (Security Chief) and “Tactical Officer” are two different things in my mind.

I am well aware that on screen they often seem to double up.

In my mind though, there’s a large difference between “Top cop” of the MPs, dealing with ship security and preservation of ‘law’ on the ship.

And “Tactical Officer” Who’s going to be opening fire on other starships/things and leading a capital ship into combat.

For example, on a battle ship, you might have MP’s to guard the munitions or weapon stores, or to guard the ship while in port to keep every tom ■■■■ and harry from just coming on board,

But you’re not going to let that same MP “Fight the ship” They’re not the one’s calling out orders on who and what to shoot with the cannons.

On facebook I went into some detail about separation of duty between the MP’s and “Marines”.

Personally I tend to combine them, but that’s as much for convenient role play as it is lore reasons. After all, splitting the job in half would remove half of the opportunities to be involved in a scene.

That said, I could happily argue it either way. There’s no reason an elite trained security officer (which you’d assume most chiefs are) wouldn’t be able to operate the largely automated weapons systems. On the other hand, I would expect a tactical officer to have a lot more responsibility than just standing at the console (effectively the armoury office role).

There are many points in this thread that I agree with for different reason, but ultimately it’s got to come down to one simple question - what works best for your group to allow them to have the most fun?


Very nicely said sir!

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