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I was introduced to Section 31 in Star Trek: Discovery and since learned that it's not a new thing in terms of Star Trek canon and other shows.

Wikipedia shows the origin of the name:

The name, Section 31, was taken from the fictional Starfleet Charter: Article 14, Section 31

Although this may explain why there are not at least another 30 sections, it doesn't exclude the possibility of other sections existing.

So, are there any other "Sections", and if so what are their purpose?

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As this quote implies, Section 31 is as a group merely named themselves after a section of Article 14 of the Starfleet charter. "Section 31" does not refer to some kind of organisation unit but is simply a name.

That said, obviously there are other subgroups of Starfleet. Prominent examples are Starfleet Corps of Engineers or Starfleet Medical.

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The other 30 sections, (and possibly sections with numbers greater than 31) are in Article 14 of the Starfleet Charter, i.e. they are all (including section 31) passages of text. As far as we know, only section 31 gave rise to an organisation. The organisation chose to name itself after the section in the Charter.

All the sections are passages of text. We know of only one that has an organisation named after it.

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  • Right, like the DOJ has a team that does 2257 enforcement. That does not imply there are thousands of teams. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 27 '19 at 13:55
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It is most probably the only covert unit with the title: "Section"


Terry J. Erdmann, one of the authors/publicists who helped to create the marketing campaigns of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and also co-authored Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, mentioned Section 31 in his book "Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, and Why". He writes:

Just as Washington has the CIA, Starfleet has a covert intelligence unit: Section 31. [...]

implying that like the CIA, Section 31 is a one-of-a-kind covert unit. He also compares it to other covert organizations:

Starfleet isn't the only organization that conducts covert activities through a secret agency. There's also the Romulans' Tal Shiar and Cardassia's Obsidian Order

both of which are intelligence agencies and are the only ones of their race.

As far as its name is concerned, Section 31 is supposedly named after Section 31 of Article 14 of the original Starfleet Charter, which allowed this organization (Section 31) extraordinary measures to be taken in times of extreme threat.

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    Section 31 is a name which only makes sense in context, similar to the British security services MI5 and MI6 - why no MI1-4? Context gives the answer. Same here. And note that the comparison to the CIA doesn’t really imply there’s only one Starfleet covert agency as the CIA isn’t the only US one - NSA, NRO, DIA OIA, OIC, Twenty Fifth Airforce... – Moo Oct 26 '19 at 5:23
  • @Moo It's named after a section in the charter. The other charters don't need their own section. – Mast Oct 26 '19 at 10:41
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    @Mast as I said, it makes sense when you are given the context. There’s no “Section 01” to “Section 30” because the name is not taken from a series of sections, but rather the section of a legal document which grants authority to its existence. Context. – Moo Oct 26 '19 at 10:59
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    @Moo, well, it appears MI1 through MI4 at least used to exist – ilkkachu Oct 26 '19 at 11:51
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    Section 31 is not the analogue of the CIA. That would be Starfleet Intelligence. Section 31 is more like supersecret black ops whose name we don't even know. – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 26 '19 at 18:30
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As one might expect of any bureaucracy, there are very many "sections" within the organisation. None of them have the romance of a fascistic supersecret intelligence group, but you know, sòmeone has to pack out the trash and clean the toilets, right?

If we look in the Technical Manual (© 1975 Franz Josef Designs), we find several hierarchical organisational charts for Star Fleet Armed Forces. We find that most of the "sections" --- divisions officially --- are rather mundane: Fleet Operations, Base Operations, Logistics Support, Personnel Division, Security Division, Science Division, Engineering Division, Medical Division, Technology Support, Colonial Operations, Justice Division, Galaxy Exploration, Space Safety Board, General Accounting, Star Fleet Academy, Planetary Relations.

Each of these broad divisions has sub-offices as well. For example, under the Inspector General we find (inter alia) Fleet Security Forces, U.F.P. Court Officers, U.F.P. Penal Forces, Planetary Marshalls, Internal Investigation, Colonial Security, Information Security.

Refs: pp53 & ff of the Tech Manual can be explored in this PDF.

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