Imperial Navy Ranks
rank collar insignia and title notes monthly pay
The Admiral ranks (sometimes called the "Stars"). The most senior Admiral present (including any Commodores, but not counting a Grand Admiral) is usually referred to just as "Admiral". Any other officers of these ranks present are then referred to as "Vice Admiral" or "Rear Admiral".
Grand Admiral
The Grand Admiral is the top general rank. The Imperial Navy has only one Grand Admiral. Partially an honourary rank, rather than a practical field rank, the Grand Admiral concerns himself with long-range strategic policy making and overall procurement programs. Cr12,000 - Cr16,800
Sector Admiral
Historically, an Admiral commanded the main body of a Imperial fleet. As the Imperial Navy grew, and "fleet" came to mean many small fleets, Admirals would assume the largest commands. The highest combat organisation of the Imperial Navy is by theater (originally sector-wide), thus Admirals are now called "Sector Admirals". They are also sometimes referred to as "Two-Star Admirals" due to their rank insignia. Cr10,800 - Cr15,120
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admirals command Fleets (groups of squadrons) or Task Forces (which would be ships assembled for a specific operation). They are also sometimes referred to as "One-Star Admirals" (as opposed to "Two-Star Admirals") or "Black-Star Admirals" (as opposed to "Gold-Star Admirals") due to their rank insignia. Cr9,600 - Cr13,440
A Commodore was originally a Captain who was given flag command over other ships as well as his own. Today the Imperial Navy uses Commodores to command squadrons ... Batrons, Crurons, etc ... where the ship captains are actual captains. Cr8,400 - Cr11,760
Below the "Stars" are the "Bars": officers whose rank insignia are made up of bars of metal. Ranks O1-O3 have gold bars, ranks O4-O6 have iridium bars (supposedly representing the power of the Iridium Throne). Iridium officers either command capital ships or are executive officers of a more senior officer.
A Captain commands the basic unit of naval strength, a capital ship. Capital ships are meant to fight in the Line of Battle (Battleships), escort battleships or merchant convoys (Cruisers), or are Carriers. A Captain has sole responsibility for his ship. An Admiral can give him orders for what to do with the ship but is otherwise no more than a passenger. Only the Captain can give orders to the crew. The term Captain is from the Latin "caput" meaning "head".

Captains also command Destroyer Flotillas (about eight ships), and groups of similar ships where all the ship captains would actually only be Commanders or Lieutenant Commanders.
Cr7,200 - Cr10,080
A Commander was originally the appropriate rank for command of a Frigate (the forerunner of the modern cruiser). In the modern Imperial Navy, Commanders have taken over screening ships, like destroyers, that performed many of the escort or raiding functions previously performed by Frigates (though modern destroyers are as large now as the frigates were in the early Imperium). Commanders might serve as the Executive Officer in the command of a Captain. Cr6,000 - Cr8,400
Lieutenant Commander
In the modern Imperial Navy, a Lieutenant Commander might serve as the Executive Officer in the command of a Commander, or he might command a Corvette, or a Destroyer Escort. (Corvettes are scaled up Destroyer Escorts and are being reintroduced by the Imperial Navy). Cr4,800 - Cr6,720
The second group of "Bars" are the Gold officers. Gold officers are assistants and officer trainees.
The term "lieutenant" comes from "Lieu" (as in "in lieu of,"), and "tenant" (from Latin for "to hold"). A Lieutenant "holds the place" for, represents, the superior officer. A Lieutenant as such holds the place for a Captain.

Traditionally a Lieutenant stands watch on the bridge in lieu of the Captain. Since a ship is in operation all the time there must be an officer in charge. But the Captain usually has other things to do. Even if the Captain is present he may leave the Lieutenant in charge and merely give him orders.

A Lieutenant may also command a minor (sub-1000 dton) starship.
Cr4,800 - Cr6,720
A Sublieutenant has the same duties, at least in training, as a full Lieutenant. A Sublieutenant is sometimes called a "Lieutenant Junior Grade".

Although rare, a Sublieutenant may sometimes command a minor (sub-1000 dton) starship. But only for specific missions of limited duration. A Sublieutenant in command of other Sublieutenants is called a "Sublieutenant Ranking".
Cr3,600 - Cr5,040
An Ensign is a Reserve Officer or someone coming up the ranks through Officer Candidate School. The rank is also used when a teenager is trained as an officer in space (and is therefore the officer equivalent to an E2). The rank carries few real command responsibilities. Cr1,200 - Cr1,680
The "Pips" are the Petty Officers (naval non-commissioned officers), so called for the pips of their rank insignia. Rank insignia pips are made of an iridium alloy, except for those of Petty Officer Third Class (gold) and Petty Officer Second Class (two part - gold and iridium)
Master Chief
Petty Officer
This exhalted position is somewhat rare, there may be only one in every other fleet. A Master Chief Petty Officer achieves his position after many years of exemplary service. Master Chief Petty Officers often review naval academy training material and even author some of that material themselves. Cr4,500 - Cr6,300
Senior Chief
Petty Officer
A Chief Petty Officer is a Petty Officer with limited command responsibilities, often in charge of an engineering gang or similar work detail. But a capital ship may have dozens of Chief Petty Officers serving aboard, and the Senior Chief Petty Officer is the one with the most seniority. The Senior Chief Petty Officer usually reports directly to the ship's captain, other Chief Petty Officers wanting to bring a matter to the captain's attention do so through the Senior Chief.

Though technically a rating, unofficially they are considered to be equivalent to a lieutenant.
Cr4,000 - Cr5,600
Petty Officer
A Chief Petty Officer is a Petty Officer with limited command responsibilities, often in charge of an engineering gang or similar work detail. They usually report to a junior officer.

Though technically a rating, unofficially they are considered to be equivalent to a sublieutenant
Cr3,500 - Cr4,900
Petty Officer
First Class
A Petty Officer is a spacehand considered 'skilled' in some area of proficiency (gunnery, astrogation, m-drives, life support systems, etc). A Petty Officer First Class is considered to have superior knowledge of their speciality skill area and be an expert. Cr3,000 - Cr4,200
Petty Officer
Second Class
A Petty Officer is a spacehand considered 'skilled' in some area of proficiency (gunnery, astrogation, m-drives, life support systems, etc).

Sometimes called "Sunrise officers" due to the somewhat unique pip design (this is seen as a derogotory expression). Sunrise officers often hate their pips as they have a tendancy to break.
Cr2,500 - Cr3,500
Petty Officer
Third Class
A Petty Officer is a spacehand considered 'skilled' in some area of proficiency (gunnery, astrogation, m-drives, life support systems, etc). A Petty Officer Third Class is considered to have only basic knowledge of their speciality skill area. Cr2,000 - Cr2,800
The lowest of the ranks: the "Tabs" (so called as their rank insignia are embroidered cloth tabs).
Able Spacehand
This is the rank and file starman of the Imperial Navy. Not an officer or an NCO, but not considered a danger to themselves and others either. Cr1,500 - Cr1,760
Spacehand Apprentice
This is worn by naval personal during their first term of service (after basic training). Cr1,000 - Cr1,400
Spacehand Recruit
Awarded to naval personel during their basic training. Cr500 - Cr700
(Note on pay: This will cover clothing, food, and incidental expenses while on shore leave. Ordinary level food and average clothing for enlisted personnel typically costs around Cr300 per month; luxury level food and luxury clothing for officers (required to maintain the proper appearence) typically costs around Cr1100 per month.)
Staff Officers

The standard rank structure of the Imperial Navy gives an impression of a straight forward hierarchy: ships of the line are controlled by Captains, ships are organised into squadrons controlled by Commodores, squadrons are organised into fleets controlled by Fleet Admirals, fleets are assigned to theatres controlled by Sector Admirals, and the whole thing is controlled by the Grand Admiral. However, the reality is far more complex.

Historically, a sector admiral controlled the fleets of a sector. More recently the Imperial Navy has tried to alter its policy to take into account more local issues. Thus a sector admiral now controls all the fleets in a 'theatre' (usually only 3 or 4 subsectors), yet the name remains unchanged. This has created a gap between the Admiralty and the Sector Admirals, the Admiralty is considering a proposal to create a new rank: Domain Admirals.

In the upper ranks the Imperial Navy hierarchy in not so much a hierarchy of individuals as it is a hierarchy of staffs: the Grand Admiral has a staff (the Admiralty), every Sector Admiral and Fleet Admiral on down has a staff, until you reach ship crews (and even then the Captain of a ship of the line would have a staff). And each of these staffs has its position anchored by the rank of the officer they support.

So, for example, a Fleet Admiral would have a staff of several Captains (specialising in areas such as security, intelligence, logistics, JAG, planetary liaison, etc) as well as more junior planners. And though technically only Captains as far as pay scale is concerned their staff position gives them 'advisory superiority' over the fleet's Commodores and other ship Captains in their respective areas of expertise.

Then there are parallel lines of reporting. Only during combat does the standard hierarchy have primacy (providing the unambiguous chain of command required by those situations). At other times, for example, the Intelligence Officer of a Fleet Admiral's staff not only reports to the Fleet Admiral but also to the Director of Naval Intelligence (in the Admiralty).

Other ...

In addition to rank, an officer may hold a position which grants special powers. Staff Officers have already been discussed above. Other examples include:

A Sentry has limited authority over anyone else, regardless of rank.

An officer detailed to the role of 'Custody Officer' is charged with the care and physical well-being of prisoners or war and other detained persons. Said Custody Officer is answerable only to the detailing officer and his superiors. So, for example, a Captain might detail an Ensign to be a Custody Officer aboard his ship: in matters relating to those in custody that Ensign now has superiority over Commanders, Lieutenants, etc.



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