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We know that a Galaxy-class starship has a crew complement of about 1,000 members, (see What is the crew complement and capacity of the Galaxy class?), but what about the distribution of these 1,000 people - in principle, or on the Enterprise-D - with regard to rank?

I know, I know - most specific positions have a range of possible ranks: the Chief of Engineering or Ship's Doctor might not even have to be an officer; the Chief of Security can be as low as a Lieutenant (perhaps even a Lieutenant JG, although I doubt it) etc. Which is why I focused on the Enterprise-D.

What do we know about the numbers of each of the following?

  • Officers (Commanders, Lt. Commanders, Lieutenants, Lieutenants Junior Grade, Ensigns)
  • Petty Officers (Master, Senior, Chief, 1st class, 2nd class)
  • Crewmen (1st, 2nd, 3rd class)
  • Civilian crew members (i.e. not passengers/crew families etc., but not members of Starfleet)
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    There's 1 captain.
    – Valorum
    Feb 22, 2020 at 21:24
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    @Valorum: You'll notice I didn't ask about captains...
    – einpoklum
    Feb 22, 2020 at 21:25
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    I thought it might be helpful to note.
    – Valorum
    Feb 22, 2020 at 21:30
  • I know that in one episode one of the servers in 10-Forward specifically mentions he's not Starfleet, but various Navies actually have crewmen barbers, etc, so it's not unreasonable for Mr Mott to be Starfleet crew, for example.
    – HorusKol
    Feb 22, 2020 at 22:43
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    As for the ratio of Officers, I have been doing some research on this very subject for a project of mine in a different fandom. I do not know the specific ratios for specific ranks (or Ratings) in Star Trek, another Fandom, or even reality. But,in my research, I have learned in the current US Navy structure, the average ratio of (all) Officers to Enlisted is 1 officer for every 10 enlisted. This of course is just an average, the size, purpose, or even budget of the ship can change that ratio to anywhere between 8% and 15%. Jan 6 at 5:39

1 Answer 1

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Rank structure in Star Trek has been severely "retconned" multiple times. So I don't think there can be an answer.

On the Enterprise D, we had one Lieutenant Commander popping out of the woodwork and disappearing again after having a speaking role in a single episode. That implies that Lieutenant Commanders are a dime a dozen -- nobody asks about Della Naren's opinions during Chains of Command, a just a few episodes earlier.

  • In TOS, the most junior rank on the Enterprise was Ensign. Supposedly that was a reference to the astronauts of the era, commissioned officers in the USAF, USN, or USMC. With the possible exception of Yeoman Rand, an artifact of the time when the series was made.
  • TNG got us Miles O'Brien, who was called Chief. After some wobbling (scroll down to trivia) with "Chief of the Transporter Department," it was made clear that he was an NCO.
  • Since then, other enlisted crew were introduced.
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  • I'm not asking about the exact posts - I want the distribution of crew by rank. Even the ratio of officers to (non-NCO) crewmen is interesting!
    – einpoklum
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:47
  • Lieutenant Commander rank certainly never disappeared. Data held that rank during all seven seasons. Geordi is promoted to L.C. in Season 3. Troi held it until promotion to Commander in Season 7. Worf is promoted to it on the Holodeck scene in Star Trek: Generations.
    – Tronman
    Feb 23, 2020 at 21:44
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    @Tronman, what I meant is that one lieutenant commander could remain invisible/unremarkable until a specific episode, show up, and then return into obscurity. That implies she wasn't senior enough to to matter, before and after.
    – o.m.
    Feb 24, 2020 at 5:54
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    O'Brien was the Tactical Officer on the Rutledge, a position held by a Lieutenant on the Enterprise. It just needs to be accepted that the scriptwriters don't know anything about how ranks work.
    – Gaius
    Mar 19, 2021 at 17:40
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    @Gaius, in many navies, the position held by an officer on a large ship, will often be held by a more junior officer on a smaller ship. If the Rutledge was significantly smaller than the Enterprise, it would be probable an NCO did the same job on the Rutledge, that a Lieutenant did on the Enterprise. This even applies to ship captains, smaller ships are often "Captained" by Commanders or Lieutenants (Commander Cisco and the Defiant are a perfect example). Jan 6 at 5:39

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