As I channel surfed the other day, I accidentally found an episode of Star Trek TOS, and I settled in to watch it. As always, it was a bad day to be a landing party Red Shirt Security person.

Their apparent lack of skill (training?) made me wonder: Was Red Shirt Security a rotating detail, like K.P. (Kitchen Patrol), that crew members with regular assigned duties were ordered to do when it was their turn, or was it a dedicated branch of Star Fleet like the M.P's (Military Police) are to the US Army?

1 Answer 1


Acting as a Security Officer on a starship was a prestige detail and one that required considerable training and expertise. It was one that was promoted to recruits as being filled with excitement and the potential to save the lives of others while furthering the aims and values of Starfleet and the Federation.

It was a route into space for those who sought to "go boldly" but lacked the cool intellect required for scientific work or the management skills and ambition for a Command role.

Images from Star Trek Ongoing #13

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  • Was this ALWAYS the case, going back to the original series, or a development later on (and then perhaps retconned back into TOS)? Just curious.
    – Jason K
    Jun 9, 2016 at 19:21
  • @JasonK - According to the Star Fleet Technical Manual (relating to TOS), the security forces of the (Kirk) Enterprise were a dedicated department with their own chain of command, progression and facilities within the ship.
    – Valorum
    Jun 9, 2016 at 19:31
  • It seems like that TOS technical manual would be a good addition to the answer. I just read the comic you cited, and my only complaint about it is that it's set in the Jar-jar-verse. Still, it's the first extended universe story I've read and I certainly enjoyed it.
    – Molag Bal
    Jun 10, 2016 at 4:49
  • @armadillo - I'll have a prod at finding some additional sources
    – Valorum
    Jun 10, 2016 at 6:45
  • @Valorum so while in the comic you posted the red shirt denotes a wider range of jobs (computer techs, engineering, as well as security) in the TOS it was JUST security?
    – Jason K
    Jun 10, 2016 at 13:50

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