Commanding Officer

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A commanding officer (or CO) is a term used to describe one's rank in relation to others within the same environment.

Military units

One meaning of commanding officer is the highest-ranking officer and commander of a unit. On Federation starships, the CO usually has the rank of captain, though sometimes a commodore or fleet captain may also hold this position. On starbases, the CO is sometimes referred to as "portmaster" and was usually a flag officer. Some bases, however, are commanded by captains or commanders. On vessels of the Romulan Star Empire, commanding officers typically have the rank of erei'Riov or Riov, though it is not unusual for an Enriov to command their own ship.

It is also possible for lower ranks to be the commanding officer aboard a starship, such as the case with Lieutenant Commander Tom Markel aboard the USS Ariel. Other examples include Star Fleet Command temporarily assigning a number of officers to command vessels that blockaded the Romulan support of the House of Duras in 2368. Lieutenant Commander Piersall commanded the USS Prometheus NCC-71201 in 237]. Major Kira Nerys and Lieutenant Commanders Jadzia Dax and Worf commanded the USS Defiant NX-74205 on a number of occasions. In 2373, Major Kira commanded the Defiant to destroy a Klingon minefield near the Bajor system. Commander Worf assisted Captain Sisko in 2372 by bringing the Defiant to Earth to help quash Admiral Leyton's attempted coup d'état. Later, Worf helped is former commanding officer, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, in the Battle of Sector 001. Commander Dax commanded the Defiant in 2374 while operating out of Starbase 375. Her mission was to destroy a Dominion sensor array hidden in the Argolis Cluster.

On Federation starships, it is general practice to address the commanding officer as "Captain," regardless of their actual rank or position. On Romulan vessels, the commanding officer is addressed by their actual rank, though the word "leih" is the general term for the position.

In general, Federation commanding officers are dressed in the colors of the command division, but there are some exceptions in Star Fleet uniform usage. Romulans commanding officers wear the same uniform as their crew, with only their rank pips and division symbol to identify them.

In rare occasions, the commanding officer need not be a ranking officer, especially in dire circumstances.

Dukat once claimed it was Cardassian tradition for the commanding officer to entertain his guests.

Chain of command

The term "commanding officer" can also be used to refer to the officer whom one directly reports to in the chain of command or in a department. Occasionally, it simply identifies an officer of higher rank in comparison to another, or the officer with the most experience if more than one officer holds the highest rank at the time, although this is usually referred to as a ranking officer.

Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge once referred to himself as the commanding officer of Lieutenant Reginald Barclay.

Commander William T. Riker was adamant about following the orders of one's commanding officer when confronting his transporter duplicate Thomas Riker.

The Romulan defector "Setal" admitted to William Riker that his commanding officer was Admiral Alidar Jarok.

Worf acknowledged the fact that Riker was his commanding officer before the latter agreed to the former joining him on an "unannounced visit" to the J'naii planet.

Riker again brought up the issue of one's commanding officer when he, under threats by Arctus Baran, demanded that Data withdraw the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D from their attempt to stop Baran's mercenary ship.

Current Commanding Officers

<ncl max depth=1>Category:Roster-Commanding Officer</ncl>

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