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In TNG "chain of command" part 1, when Picard transfers command of the Enterprise to Jellico, he reads the order and states that he is requested and required to give up command. Why the "requested" part? If he's required to do it that seems like it's unnecessary. Is it possible to be required but not requested?

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    I believe this is a call-back to the style of earlier wet navy (British?) orders, but I can't find an authoritative reference ATM.
    – DavidW
    Sep 29 '21 at 22:15
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    It was always the phrase used when Hornblower received official orders. Sep 29 '21 at 22:16
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    Agree. It’s intended to facilitate good order and morale; chain-of-command doesn’t have to hammer people over their head all the time, especially captains who are entrusted with a larger degree of discretion. This gives impression they have more leeway than they do. Sep 29 '21 at 22:41
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    It's in your passport as well (if you're British). 'Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.' Sep 30 '21 at 1:12
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    In Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan novels, “requests and requires” is used to denote a formal command from the emperor.
    – cjm
    Sep 30 '21 at 6:31
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This phrasing is straight from The UK's Admiralty orders. So yes, it is an anachronism, but it is also a very functional and precise wording. This is an homage the TNG pays to the wet navy times, which would imply that StarFleet upholds the best traditions of the past. Of course, really it all depends on the general naval knowledge levels of the writers, who are, in all of Star Trek, sometimes so egregiously off that it's cringeworthy.

I think Stewart might actually be the one to suggest it - it would be a sort of "Shakespearean moment", and very well placed...

As for the wording itself, it is an old Royal Navy custom. It is, on one hand, a way to say "Here are your orders", on the other hand it was born out of necessity... Royal Navy was not an egalitarian service, so I believe this form was adopted as an option to order around people who would be subordinate to the person issuing order as an officer of the Royal Navy, but may very well be superior in terms of social position, without saying "you are hereby ordered".

The use of the word "required" (in various written forms) is well documented back to the Middle English, so it is not hard to make the claim that the form "requested and required" in naval orders was the left over from really old times, from various legal documents and correspondence.

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    it also appears on UK passports which include the phrase "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."
    – Tristan
    Sep 30 '21 at 9:55
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    In this instance, I think it's because the order could be transmitted via someone of the same rank who would (therefore) be unable to require them but could request them.
    – Valorum
    Sep 30 '21 at 11:01
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    Does the US Navy have a formal phrasing of this type for admiralty instructions too? Sep 30 '21 at 11:28
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    @Tristan - It actually seems like a pretty useful term for a situation where it is someone's prerogative to ask for something, but when they do ask for it, the other party is not allowed to refuse. A simple "required" would imply an automatic situation where the request itself need not be (and should not have had to be) made.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 30 '21 at 13:13
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    @ClaraDiazSanchez same gist but without any of the fancy words. It'd just be "To Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Surrender command NCC-1701 Enterprise to Captain Edward Jellico as of (date) and report..." The formality they have in common is the "I relieve you" / "I stand relieved".
    – hobbs
    Sep 30 '21 at 14:10
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Legal documents frequently use this kind of double-barrelled terminology; e.g., heirs and assigns, cease and desist. They are called legal doublets.

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    It definitely has that vibe, but legal doublets are usually synonyms or near synonyms. "requested" and "required" mean very different things. Sep 30 '21 at 1:34
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    As mentioned in a previous comment, this is the phrasing used in the Hornblower novels as well (Napoleonic-era British Navy). This would seem to indicate that it's a fossil phrase and that there's no real distinction between the two. Sep 30 '21 at 2:15
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    Legal doubles often present as synonyms, but that is only a side effect of English absorption of other languages. The intent of doubles/triples is to use words from all lineages to ensure broadest possible understanding. So the double/triple will include derivations from the English, French, or German lineages. In this case, require is English and requeste is French, both deriving from Latin requirere.
    – bishop
    Sep 30 '21 at 4:33
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    This answer appears true and correct. Sep 30 '21 at 5:28
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    One could argue that cease means to stop, and desist means don't do it again.
    – CigarDoug
    Sep 30 '21 at 13:16
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Adding to the above, because historically, something may be an order, but its also expected an officer will want to do the right thing anyway, so theres no need to be hard headed about it.

So its a polite request to hand over command, as well as a requirement as an order. In a way, its the same reason your boss at work says "can you do X today?" not "I order you to do X today". They could just order harshly, after all, they are your boss and you're their employee. But can you see how, even despite that, the softer version feels nicer and works better?

Command is a tool. Its always there. But you dont need to be a dick with it, and use it unnecessarily harshly, with experienced willing subordinates. The soft skills matter a lot more.

And so, like his military predecessors, Picard is cordially asked to hand over command using a tried and accepted formula, that recognises he will (very probably) wish to do the right things once he knows whats wanted by his commanding officers, not just the equivalent of "Here are your orders! Obey, drone!"

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Picard is required because a valid order has been issued to him by a person vested with relevant authority. But he is requested because the Captain of a ship is, in many senses, its absolute master, and his authority is not so easily brushed aside - even if, in the world off his ship, he answers to others. At least on a symbolic level, he cannot merely be ordered around on board of his own command.

As @AcePL notes this is a well-known anarchronism from wet Earth-navy times.

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    This isn't accurate. People of lower ranks are also required and requested to do things. It's tempting to say that it's because he could theoretically refuse the order, but that's not how the navy works.
    – Valorum
    Sep 30 '21 at 14:45
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    @Valorum: I never said he can refuse. Nor did I say anything about his rank. He happens to have Captain rank but he could have been Captaining the vessel with any other rank.
    – einpoklum
    Sep 30 '21 at 17:02
  • @Valorum - I sort of agree with OP here, but also you are correct. I mean, this situation is not usual - Picard is going undercover, so he's not being relieved of command (and this if it's not a result of promotion nor a result of him being court-martialed has serious repercussions for an officer's career), he's being reassigned temporarily. I considered that when putting my answer, but decided against it - to quote you: It's tempting to say that it's because he could theoretically refuse the order, but that's not how the navy works...
    – AcePL
    Oct 5 '21 at 6:48
  • @AcePL - The first part is right ("Picard is required because a valid order has been issued to him") but shows no real insight. The second part is plain wrong ("he is requested because the Captain of a ship is, in many senses, its absolute master"). That's not true anywhere. Captains can't refuse valid orders.
    – Valorum
    Oct 5 '21 at 7:08
  • @Valorum - correct. But theoretically those orders are a scam... He's not really leaving Enterprise, it's all a part of building a cover for him... In a way he's being transferred to Intelligence, and those are usually voluntary moves. Or better yet: you usually have to request a transfer to another branch. That is why it's tempting to say he can refuse them, because in this instance it sure looks like it. But your point still stands. And after all I say the formula is just a polite way to say "here are your orders, shut up and obey"...
    – AcePL
    Oct 5 '21 at 7:14

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