Starfleet Ranks

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This article is official Star Trek canon.

Starfleet's Ranking System is a direct evolution of the titles and hierarchy of earlier Earth naval forces, and has been relatively consistent throughout both United Earth Starfleet and United Federation of Planets Starfleet.

Contents

Current Rank Charts

Officer Warrant Enlisted
Rank Name Rank Insignia Rank Name Rank Insignia Rank Name Rank Insignia
Fleet Admiral R-a5.png Chief Warrant Officer R-w4.png Master Chief Petty Officer R-e9.png
Admiral R-a4.png Master Warrant Officer R-w3.png Senior Chief Petty Officer R-e8.png
Vice Admiral R-a3.png Staff Warrant Officer R-w2.png Chief Petty Officer R-e7.png
Rear Admiral R-a2.png Warrant Officer R-w1.png Petty Officer First Class R-e6.png
Commodore R-a1.png Petty Officer Second Class R-e5.png
Captain R-o6.png Petty Officer Third Class R-e4.png
Commander R-o5.png Crewman R-e3.png
Lieutenant Commander R-o4.png Crewman Apprentice R-e2.png
Lieutenant R-o3.png Crewman Recruit R-e1.png
Lieutenant JG R-o2.png
Ensign R-o1.png


History and Evolution

United Earth Starfleet

Main article: United Earth Starfleet Ranks

The initial creation of United Earth Starfleet saw the need for a comprehensive, universal rank structure to be utilised, regardless of which country the individual holding the rank initially hailed from. As such, the foundations for the Starfleet rank system were laid down.

The initial ranking system used sewn-on patches for the few enlisted ranks that existed at the time, and a series of silver rectangular pips for the commissioned officers, worn on on the right breast of the uniform. The flag officer ranks - those of Commodore up to Admiral - were a series of smaller pips within a 'box', worn on both breasts of the uniform. The flag officer uniform was also distinctly different to that of a line officer or crewman; a trend which has been continued through the various uniform changes in Starfleet.

Some examples of insignia of the time:

Earth Starfleet Crewman insignia
Crewman 1st class
Earth Starfleet Captain insignia
Captain pips
Earth Starfleet Vice Admiral insignia
Vice Admiral pips

23rd Century

Main article: Starfleet Ranks (23rd Century)

Into the 23rd Century, as early as the 2230s, Starfleet had radically changed not only the design of its starships, but also its uniforms and the way that it displayed its ranks upon it. The new starfleet ranking system consisted of a series of golden braids displayed upon both sleeves of the uniform. Enlisted ranks were often changed throughout this period, with some enlisted personnel having no visible insignia, whilst some in later years displayed some - often the display of enlisted insignia was left to the determination of the individual's commanding officer.

This period in Starfleet's rank system went through a number of phases. Each phase worked around the braid principle, but utilised the braids in different ways. The later ranks used a lot more detail in the braiding;

Examples of 2250s rank insignia: 2250s Starfleet Ensign braids
Ensign
2250s Starfleet Commander braids
Commander
2250s Starfleet Commodore braids
Commodore
Examples of 2260s rank insignia: 2260s Starfleet Lieutenant JG braids
Lieutenant JG
2260s Starfleet Lt. Commander braids
Lieutenant Commander
2260s Starfleet Rear Admiral braids
Rear Admiral

Late-23rd - Mid-24th Century

Main article: Starfleet Ranks (Late 23rd Century)

In the late 23rd Century, Starfleet began making radical changes to its uniform and insignia. The uniforms became much more detailed and statesman-like, with a distinct difference between enlisted rates and commissioned officers, with only a marginal difference between officers and flag officers. The sleeve-based ranks were gone, and instead the rank insignia consisted of a number of detailed pips on a coloured strap over the right shoulder. The enlisted uniforms wore their rank pips - now much more defined than previous decades - on the lower right sleeve.

With the exception of some minor cosmetic changes to officer uniforms, including the introduction of a standard communicator pin around 2344, the uniforms and insignia of the late 23rd century would remain unchanged until approximately the year 2355.

Movie-Era Starfleet Crewman pip
Crewman
Movie-Era Starfleet Petty Officer pip
Petty Officer 1st Class
Movie-Era Starfleet Chief Petty Officer pip
Chief Petty Officer
Movie-Era Starfleet Ensign pip
Ensign
Movie-Era Starfleet Lt. Commander pip
Lieutenant Commander
Movie-Era Starfleet Captain pip
Captain
Movie-Era Starfleet Commodore pip
Commodore
Movie-Era Starfleet Vice Admiral pip
Vice Admiral
Movie-Era Starfleet Fleet Admiral pip
Fleet Admiral

24th Century Onwards

By 2355, Starfleet had changed uniforms quite dramatically once again, after having phased in the addition of a com-badge on the left breast, and gradually removing some of the additional features of the previous uniforms. With these new, more utilitarian uniform designs, came a new, simpler ranking system, which returned to the same format as used by the original United Earth Starfleet, more than 200 years earlier.

The new ranking system was based off of circular, golden pips displayed on the left collar of the uniforms, with detailed silver plates in the same place to denote enlisted rates. This rank system was kept constantly through five uniform changes, and various accidental trips to the future show that the rank insignia continues unchanged well into the 25th Century.


Starfleet Crewman plate
Crewman
Starfleet Petty Officer plate
Petty Officer 1st Class
Starfleet Senior Chief Petty Officer plate
Senior Chief Petty Officer
Starfleet Ensign pip
Ensign
Starfleet Lt. Commander pips
Lieutenant Commander
Starfleet Captain pips
Captain
Movie-Era Starfleet Commodore pip
Commodore
Movie-Era Starfleet Vice Admiral pip
Vice Admiral
Movie-Era Starfleet Fleet Admiral pip
Fleet Admiral