Departmental Roles & Responsibilities

Created by Captain Alexander Kurtz on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 @ 7:15pm

Department responsibilities

Commanding Officer

The ship's commanding officer is responsible for leading the crew and ensuring operations under their command are carried out in accordance with Starfleet regulations, and the authority delegated to them at the time they accepted command. They are responsible for the welfare and morale of the crew as well.

The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute, except when, and to the extent to which, he or she has been relieved therefrom by competent authority, or as provided otherwise in regulations. The authority of the commanding officer is commensurate with his or her responsibility. While the commanding officer may, at his or her discretion, and when not contrary to law or regulations, delegate authority to subordinates for the execution of details, such delegation or authority shall in no way relieve the commanding officer of continued responsibility for the safety, well-being and efficiency of the entire command.

A commanding officer who departs from orders or instructions, or takes official action which is not in accordance with such orders or instructions, does so upon his or her own responsibility and shall report immediately the circumstances to the officer from whom the prior orders or instructions were received. Of particular importance is the commanding officer’s duty to take all necessary and appropriate action in self-defense of the command.

The commanding officer and his or her subordinates shall exercise leadership through personal example, moral responsibility and judicious attention to the welfare or persons under their control or supervision. Such leadership shall be exercised in order to achieve a positive, dominant influence on the performance of persons in Starfleet.

In general, the CO is responsible for the safety, well-being, and efficiency of the command. The commanding officer’s responsibilities include the safe navigation of the ship, condition and appearance of material and personnel, stationing of trained lookouts, and preparation of the ship for battle. COs may delegate authority in these matters, but such delegation does not relieve them of responsibility. The officer of the deck (OOD), for example, has the authority to run the ship; but if the ship has a incident, the CO and the OOD are both held responsible. The CO issues directions to the executive officer (XO).

During combat, the CO directs the ship to engage the enemy and fight to the best of its ability until the action is complete. In case of the loss of the ship, both custom and regulations require the commanding officer to ensure personnel complete abandon ship procedures. All personnel should be off the ship before the commanding officer leaves the ship. For centuries, the commanding officer has had complete authoritative power. With ultimate responsibility for the ship and everything pertaining to it, the CO obviously requires the authority to go with it. The CO must have the power to enforce prompt obedience to orders to maintain efficiency and discipline.

As set forth in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ),the commanding officer has the power to impose limited punishment. This power to impose punishment is a part of command and may not be delegated. The commanding officer shoulders constant concern for the welfare, morale, and living conditions of the crew. The CO receives help in these areas from an enlisted adviser known as the command master chief (CM/C). A master chief detailed by Starfleet to the command or a master chief, senior chief, or chief petty officer appointed by the CO, as appropriate, serves as the senior enlisted adviser. This person has direct access to the commanding officer. In addition, the enlisted adviser maintains contact with the master chief petty officer of Starfleet (MCPOSf), normally through the force or fleet master chief (FM/C), to ensure that ideas and recommendations are properly transmitted.

If the commanding officer is absent, disabled, relieved from duty, or detached without relief, the next senior line officer eligible for command in space attached to and aboard the ship assumes command. In most cases, that person will be the executive officer (XO).

Executive Officer

The Executive Officer is the direct representative of the Commanding Officer. All orders issued by him/her will have the same force and effect as though issued by the Commanding Officer. The Executive Officer will conform to and carry out the policies and orders of the Commanding Officer and shall keep him/her informed of all significant matters pertaining to the command. The Executive Officer shall be primarily responsible under the Commanding Officer for the organization, performance of duty, and good order and discipline of the entire command. He/she will recognize the right and duty of a Head of Department to confer directly with the Commanding Officer on matters specifically relating to his/her department. An officer acting as Executive Officer during the temporary absence or disability of that officer will have the same authority and responsibility as the Executive Officer; but he/she will make no change in the existing organization, unless ordered to do so, and will endeavor to have the routine and other affairs of the unit carried out in the usual manner.

The Executive Officer will assume command should the need arise. During action, he/she will be stationed where he/she can best aid the Commanding Officer and if practicable, where he/she would probably escape the effects of a casualty disabling the Commanding Officer and yet be able to assume command promptly and effectively.

The Executive Officer, subject to the orders of the Commanding Officer and assisted by subordinates, will: (1) Ensure the Commanding Officer is advised of casualties, deficiencies, and anticipated difficulties which may affect operational readiness or administrative efficiency of the command. (2) Make frequent inspections in company, when practicable, with the subordinates concerned; and take remedial action to correct defects. (3) Maintain high morale within the command. The discipline, welfare, and privileges of the individuals of the command will be chief concerns of the Executive Officer; and, he/she will administer these and related matters in a just and uniform manner. (4) Pursue a program of equipment accountability and conservation, and promote consciousness within the command. (5) Keep command advised of the status of the ship's damage control readiness. Carry out the requirements of command regarding damage control training and the ship's readiness to combat all casualties which threaten the ship. (6) Prepare and maintain the bills and orders for the organization and administration of the command. (7) Assign the personnel who have completed indoctrination to departments or other major subdivisions of the command. (8) Maintain the records of personnel, except those records assigned as the responsibility of some other officer. Monitor, review, and maintain the command's private interest disclosure system, as required by Starfleet Regulations. (9) Supervise and coordinate the work, exercises, training, and education of the personnel command of the command. (10) Supervise and coordinate the operational plans and schedules of the command. (11) Prepare and issue a daily schedule of employment and such other advance schedules as may aid subordinates in planning their work.

(12) Ensure that all prescribed or necessary security measures and safety precautions are understood and strictly observed. (13) Evaluate the performance of officers and enlisted personnel and make recommendations to the Commanding Officer concerning their promotion and advancement. (14) Regulate liberty and leave. (15) Carry on a program of recreation and athletics. (16) Direct the investigation of alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Starfleet Regulations, unit's regulations, and other military and civil laws; and recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the Commanding Officer when necessary. (17) Act on personal requests (which may be addressed to the Commanding Officer) that do not involve policy formulation or require action of higher authority. (18) Ensure adequate supplies and services are available to the executive assistants within the allotment of maintenance and operating funds. (19) Direct the unit's public affairs program. (20) Supervise the reception of unit visitors. (21) Serve as the senior member of the Planning Board for Training. (22) Supervise the organization and operation of the unit's Maintenance and Material Management System (3-M) program. (23) Establish a management control program as described in paragraph 142.1. Establish management controls to provide reasonable assurance that programs and functions meet mission objectives and operate effectively. Continuously monitor, document, and evaluate the implementation of management control systems to include assessable units, management control assessments, training, and tracking systems. (24) Serve as a senior member of the Safety Council. (25) Administer the Command Retention Program. (26) Perform such other duties as may be assigned.

The Executive Officer is directly responsible to the Commanding Officer. All Department Heads and Executive Assistants report to the Executive Officer regarding internal administration of the command. The prescribed duties of the Executive Officer will not be construed to relieve a subordinate from any part of his/her assigned responsibilities.

An executive officer about to be detached will prepare a comprehensive report for the Commanding Officer listing any unsatisfactory conditions within the command having the potential to affect adversely the safety, well-being readiness, fiscal integrity, or command performance and specify a proposed plan to correct them. The relieving officer will endorse this report. If the relieving Officer does not concur in the report, that officer will specify wherein the report is inaccurate or incomplete and will provide the officer being relieved the opportunity to make explanation. The relieving officer will report assumption of duty as executive officer in the endorsement. The original report of detachment and endorsement will be forwarded expeditiously to the commanding officer. A copy of the report will be retained by each of the officers.

Second Officer

A function aboard a starship, a Second Officer assumes command of the ship when both the Captain and First Officer are unavailable. It is common for a Second Officer on a Starfleet vessel to hold the rank of Commander or Lieutenant Commander.

It is also common for a Second Officer to be a Department Head aboard the ship first, since the role of Second Officer is typically considered a secondary role. He or she is rarely involved in the day to day Command of the starship the way the Captain or First Officer are, however the Second Officer may be tasked with additional duties to help supplement the Command Team in the event additional help is needed. The Second Officer is also brought in to weigh opinions and concerns when the Captain is making certain decisions that affect the entire ship and crew. Although the Second Officer is less involved in the day to day administration of the ship, they are still regarded to be one of the senior advisors to the Captain and Executive Officer. If the Captain and First Officer are incapacitated or killed, the Second Officer will assume command.

Command Master Chief

The Master Chief Petty Officer is the senior enlisted adviser, and is the only command master chief on a ship, making all recommendations for the enlisted personnel directly to the command staff. They also are purely administrative at this point but are a vital liaison between the enlisted and officers. They also are the final recommender for non judicial or more harsh punishment towards individuals that have been recommended for action. They also oversee the senior chief’s to help ensure their departments are at the highest levels of morale possible.

The command master chief exists to help stimulate free-flowing communications, and ensure the highest standards of professionalism are upheld at all levels within the chain of command. Command master chiefs strengthen the chain of command by keeping the commanding officer aware of existing or potential situations as well as procedures and practices which affect the mission, readiness, welfare and morale of the crewman in the command. CMCs are the senior enlisted leaders who report directly to their respective commanding officers. They formulate and implement policies concerning morale, welfare, job satisfaction, discipline, utilization and training of Starfleet personnel. By reporting directly to their commanding officer, the CMCs keep their chain of command aware and informed of sensitive and current issues.

In addition, the Command Master Chief servers as the "First Lieutenant" in regards to the billet and position title, rather than that of a rank. It is held by the officer in command of the deck department. On submarines and carriers, where the deck department may only have a many less unrated junior sailors, the first lieutenant may be an enlisted member, such as a master chief petty officer or command master chief. The 1st lieutenant division is usually composed of junior sailors (E-3 and below) who are completing their 90 days of temporary assigned duty, or TAD, that all enlisted personal are required to do when initially assigned to a command. The primary mission of the division is servicing, cleaning, organizing and inventorying items within a command. They also assist with damage control and are supplementary personnel in the event of an emergency.

Flight Control

Flight Control Operations (or CONN) encompasses piloting and plotting courses for both the primary starship and any shuttles assigned to the craft. The general fitness of flight capability of these ships is also their responsibility.

This includes:
- Maintaining auxiliary craft in a ready state.
- Maintaining supplies necessary for the operation of the crafts.
- Maintaining all shuttle bays in which the craft are kept, as well as the Cerberus module systems

Crewmembers in Flight Control are to be kept up to date on piloting all flight capable craft on the starship they are assigned to. Knowing the capabilities of each so that they can advise about possible problems to the command staff for missions. They should also know how to use all systems aboard (including weapons, transporters, etc.) that may be necessary while piloting a stock craft. They should also be prepared to train others in the use of auxiliary craft to certify them as pilots when needed.

While not expected to be Engineers or Operations officers, basic repair skills are expected to be known. Mainly emergency repairs to get a ship flight capable if damage happens during a mission so that the mission can be completed.

If damage has been inflicted beyond emergency repair capability, it is the CONN crewman’s responsibility to liaise with either Operations or Engineering (depending on the repair necessary) to get the repair completed.

CONN crewmembers are expected to study star charts to know possible flight risks along a given course as well as work with astrometrics in analyzing new star charts to identify any risks. While possible for unknown phenomenon to happen, it is the Flight Control’s job to minimize any possible risks to the ship or craft on the ship.

Flight Control also continues further training of their piloting staff in piloting skills, works to handle refueling procedures of non fighter type auxiliary craft as necessary, standard craft maintenance and repair, oversight of Command and Control Operations of all Non Fighter type Auxiliary craft, Flight Carrier support services (Such as supply sorties and evacuations, equipment and vehicle deployments, etc.), securing and storing all auxiliary craft throughout the ship (Non Fighter type), and maintenance and load out changes for the Cerberus system.


Tactical as a department encompasses everything regarding tactical awareness in space and local shipboard security.

This includes more specifically:

This includes:
- Analyze space traffic around the ship.
- Deployment of all starship weapons and defensive measures.
- Maintaining all starship weapon and defensive measures.
- Provide and maintain training for security personnel as well as proper offensive and defensive armaments.

Analyzing the space traffic around the ship includes all friendly and non-friendly ships, space debris and natural phenomenon that may cause tactical complications. Organizing this information and having plans on how to manage these items should they be necessary to interact with.

Deployment of all starship weapons and defensive measures includes all combat duties. Targeting and firing of phaser banks and torpedo-like projectiles. This also includes any non-standard devices that are being used in an offensive or defensive measure in which there is time to set up control at a tactical operations location (any impromptu devices used spur of the moment may be targeted and fired by other departments by discretion of the captain or other command officers). This also includes deployment of shields or other defensive measures.

Maintaining all starship weapon and defenses includes the computers and connections down to the weapon areas themselves. Actual maintenance of weapons or shield hardware will be done by Engineers, however, the day to day maintenance to ensure optimal efficiency is to be done by Tactical crew members.

Providing security personnel to secure necessary areas of the ship as well as provide proper tactical response both on and off ship against all forms of opposition accordingly. Escalation of force is recommended accordingly to help ensure resources are properly expended and not wasted.


Engineering crew members are in general responsible for the repair and maintenance of all ship or station systems.

This includes:
- Scheduled Maintenance
- System Upgrades
- Repairing Malfunctioning Systems
- Repairing Damaged Systems

The normal functioning of a starship or starbase requires maintenance of countless circuits and systems. It is the responsibility of the engineering crew members to maintain these systems. This makes the engineering department the most demanding to work for.

Normal communication with all other departments to know about any malfunctioning systems is critical. Generally the Chief of Engineering will work as a director, giving out tasks to teams of crew members to get tasks taken care of, though will be more hands on to tasks that are more immediate or critical to a mission.

Scheduled maintenance of all ship systems includes, but is not limited to, warp core maintenance (dilithium crystallization, matter/antimatter flow, etc), power systems (ODN lines and connections), weapons systems, sensor arrays, secondary power systems, transporter systems, replicators, warp nacelle stability, and holographic system controls.

System upgrades can be completed on any system on board and can come at any time there is a notable improvement in a piece of technology.

Repairing malfunctioning systems and repairing damaged systems differ only in the cause of the break. Whether the damage is from a faulty circuit or from battle damage it is the engineer’s responsibility to repair or replace any component that is not working at or above specifications in a timely and efficient manner.


The Operations department is responsible for everything on the ship/station that isn’t directly controlled through Engineering, Tactical, Flight Control or Medical.

This includes:
- Sensor Control
- Power Flow
- Ship/Station Administration
- Transporter Control
- Communications
- Damage Control

Controlling the sensors includes continual scans for ships, both friendly and hostile, as well as any cosmological inconsistencies. These inconsistencies could be spatial rifts, subspace eddies, planetary bodies, or anything else unexpected. In addition to the normal scans they are also in charge of running scans during scientific discoveries or combat situations for whatever is requested of them.

Power flow is maintained by the Operations department. A ship has basic power levels by their warp core that must be directed to different areas of the ship for day to day function. When a particular area needs more than its normal power level, it is the Operations department that redirects power to that area. This is particularly necessary in emergency or combat situations where engines, shields or weapons could need the extra power directed to them continually back and forth.

Ship or Station administration includes such things as maintaining cargo manifests and assigning crew quarters.

The Operations department is in charge of the day to day function of the transporter systems. They are also generally called upon for advanced transporter functions as they are usually the most versed in the systems unless there is a specific need for another department to handle it.

Communications are controlled through the Operations department as well. This includes basic bridge communication with other ships, planets and stations; internal comms systems; away team communication; and also communication for crew and passengers to friends, family, etc.

Operations are one of the primary Damage Control contributors. They help with the damage assessment, debris clearing and if possible minor repairs. Though Engineering is in charge of ship systems, Operations can and will manage small repair tasks when Engineering is busy with other things.


Medical officers are responsible for the physical and mental well being of the crew of their ship or station.

This includes:
- Routine checkups of physical health
- Providing emergency care to crew that have become sick or injured
- Conferring with the command staff about possible health risks on a mission
- Managing normal medical supplies as well as being responsible for mission specific supplies
- Managing missions that are primarily medical relief in nature

Medical officers can be doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, etc. These are the people that are responsible for making sure that the other crew members are in good physical and mental shape to do their duties. This includes regular checkups that are to be enforced by the medical teams.

Of course should someone receive an injury or become sick beyond the basic sniffles or scrape, the medical team will be responsible for these cases as well. Care of patients will be solely at the discretion of the medical team.

Should a mission involve situations or materials that can affect the health of the crew, the medical team will be called upon to assist. This can include planning the mission, preparing special medications to counter possible problems, as well as briefing away team members on things they may need to know in these regards.

A medical crewmember will be expected to know about their chosen focus so that when they are needed, they can assist without delay. To this end medical crewmembers are often studying and experimenting to increase their knowledge when there is not a more immediate need.

All medical supplies are managed by this team. That includes any possible cargo that may have effects on the crew. They will be responsible for cataloging and maintaining these supplies until they are consumed or removed from the ship.

In addition to furnishing medical care and treatment to ship’s personnel, the medical department conducts routine inspections to ascertain the sanitary conditions of certain spaces. It inspects the ship’s messing, food service, living, berthing, and working spaces.

Document created by Nate Stryker, Matthew Mueller & Sara Torrsen. Please contact them for permission to use.

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