After reading this question, I started to think who will be superior in terms of giving orders: Lt. Commander Data (as the second officer of USS Enterprise D) or Dr Beverly Crusher (Commander and CMO), or any other person holding a higher rank and lower or no position in Command structure of the ship.

Has Data (or any other command structure officer) ever given an order to a superior officer (higher in terms of rank), using his authority as the second officer of the ship?

Concerning officers other than Data, I would like to exclude the case of Captain Picard and Admiral Pressman and his arrest, as Admiral Pressman was not the member of USS Enterprise crew, nor was he the CO of this ship.

  • I don't have the links to things, but I recall an Episode where Data, pretty much "ordered" Captain Picard to "LOWER THE SHIELDS." ... everyone looked blankly at him for a moment, and then Picard complied ... can't remember more details than that, so I'll leave this as a comment and if that helps spark anything for somebody, great :)
    – Ditto
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:38
  • 2
    by definition, a subordinate cannot give an 'order' to a superior - right? (I've not been in the military). In the case of Data, he is a trusted member of the crew and if he is giving an instruction as to the operational safety of the ship, Picard (or another superior) will likely choose to act on that. The episode @Ditto is referencing is Season 5.11 - "Hero Worship" I believe
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:41
  • 3
    If Data is left in command of the ship, can he give an order to Dr Crusher? Can she decline, as she holds a higher rank? Does being a second officer (while CO and XO are absent) gives you superiority over the rest of the crew? (maybe that's how the question should look like). Does being a second officer gives this authority, or is such a person an Acting Captain and this is what gives the authority? Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:46
  • 2
    As the ships Second Officer, he can give direct orders to anyone on the ship who isn't Riker or Picard. He can also countermand any order given by any officer who isn't Riker or Picard.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:47
  • 1
    @Ditto m.youtube.com/watch?v=RHoXUP804vg
    – Mithical
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


TNG: Season 1, Episode 21: "The Arsenal of Freedom"

Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi LaForge is left in command of the ship as all other senior bridge officers beam to the surface. As acting captain, he temporarily outranks Chief Engineer Logan, who commands LaForge to relinquish command to him [Logan]. LaForge refuses saying that he was left in command and will stay in command until relieved.

  • Hmmm... but technically as acting captain he outranked the chief engineer at the time.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 20:07
  • 9
    no, I think that's the entire point of that subplot and of Logan's gripe. Logan categorically outranks LaForge and that is his main argument for calling on LaForge to step down as acting captain and relinquish command to him [Logan]. LaForge was placed in command though, and that order from the captain 'outranks' Logan. Essentially, it's Picard's rank that is backing up LaForge at the moment.
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 20:22


Ensign Kim gives several direct orders to Lieutenant Ayala in this scene from Voy: Renaissance Man while commanding the night shift.

KIM: Report.

AYALA: There's some kind of pulse being directed at our transceiver array. It's coming from the Delta Flyer.

KIM: Hail them.

AYALA: No response.


At the end of TNG: Night Terrors, Acting-Captain Data issues the following shipwide order for the crew to get some sleep. This presumably included any Commanders on the ship (such as Dr. Crusher) along with Riker and Picard.

DATA: Setting a course for Starbase Two-twenty. Sir, as my final duty as Acting Captain, I order you to bed. I shall do the same for all personnel.

As has been pointed out in a comment, this one's a bit of a fudge due to the medical nature of their predicament.


ST:TNG S02E15, Pen Pals

Acting Ensign Wesely Crusher is placed in command of a team assigned to investigate the planet. As commander of this team, he gives orders to the officers he has chosen, including (full-) Ensigns Alans, Hildebrant, and Davies. It is made clear that they obey his orders when, despite disagreeing with the decision, Davies immediately proceeds to carry out Crusher's order:


Wesley, it's a major undertaking to set up that scanner.


We're looking at five hours -- minimum.


I know, I just don't want to do the job halfway.


Wes, there's being thorough and then there's wasting time. It's also the mark of a good officer to recognize the difference.


Well, maybe you're right.



Ensign Davies, I want that Ico-spectrogram run on the Selcundi Drema system.

DAVIES (very light)

You got it.

We also know from the episode Ménage à Troi that full ensigns do in fact outrank Acting Ensigns, because Picard specifically refers to Wesely's new rank as a "promotion":


I've reviewed your service record thoroughly... and I've decided upon the appropriate course. I am granting you a field promotion to full Ensign.

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