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Established under the Federation Charter of 2161, the Starfleet of the United Federation of Planets was founded as a successor organization to the United Earth Starfleet (2133 – 2161), using many of the original regulations, ranks, and organizational models of this predecessor agency. 

                                                                               Earth Starfleet Flag

The Federation Charter’s authority to create the Starfleet was granted under the Federal Government of the Federation, specifically through civilian control by the Secretary of the Starfleet.  The mission of Starfleet was stated

To explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before”

Under Federation Law, internal security and defense is to be provided by the various military forces of the member worlds, each of which are represented in the legislature of the Federation Council. 

 Starfleet Emblem

Early Starfleet leaders realized, however, that Starfleet would need to have some sort of offensive capabilities, leading to several doctrines allowing Starfleet to conduct military missions and campaigns in the defense of the Federation.  Starfleet is strictly prohibited from waging any type of aggressive war, or participating in long standing occupation operations of non-Federation planets.     

equivalent agencies

In the execution of its mission, Starfleet routinely interacts with other Federation agencies in order to achieve common aims.  The most significant extra-Starfleet agency is the Federation Marine Corps, which operates as a planetary assault force used for initial landings on fortified alien worlds.  The Marine Corps is subordinated to the Secretary of the Starfleet and operates in conjunction with the Starfleet Ground Forces, which are a component of Starfleet Security.

The Federation Merchant Marine is routinely contracted to provide transportation to Starfleet personnel, usually by couriering Starfleet members between assignment postings.  The Secretary of the Starfleet also directly oversees certain merchant vessels such as military transports and shuttle carriers, which are subordinated to the Department of the Starfleet.

A highly significant agency is the United Earth Space Probe Agency, known as “UESPA” for short.  UESPA was founded in the early days of space exploration and initially exercised total authority over Earth’s first exploratory warp capable vessels.  With the founding of the United Earth Starfleet, UESPA became a scientific advisory agency, but also maintained a significant liaison presence in Starfleet Command.  This relationship carried over to the modern day Federation Starfleet, although by the 24th century most of UESPA’s operational control over Starfleet vessels has been rescinded and the agency today occupies a purely advisory role.



Starfleet is commanded by a senior leadership of two Fleet Admirals – the Starfleet Commander-in-Chief and the Commander Starfleet, who oversee broad policy and operational control over all Starfleet units and commands.

Starfleet Command, which acts as a “hub” to channel the directives of the senior leadership, administrates operational control of the four main branches of the Starfleet.  The largest branch, the Starfleet Operational Forces, consist of fleet command staffs which oversee the various starships groups and squadrons, themselves consisting of the basic unit of Starfleet, the starship, as well as Starfleet Regional Commands which hold authority over all Starfleet space and planet installations.

Starfleet Security provide onboard installation defense to both starships and shore facilities alike, while also maintaining several Security Regiments both to garrison key Starfleet facilities and to act as a ground assault force in the event of a planetary attack conducted by Starfleet (the vanguard of such assaults, however, are always conducted by the Federation Marine Corps).

The Starfleet Shore Forces consist of the various Starfleet starbases, outposts, and planetary bases throughout the Federation.  A special class of shore unit, known as a Headquarters Facility is generally under nominal command of an individual Starfleet branch whose needs the headquarters serves.  The last Starfleet branch, the Starfleet Support Forces, consists of the various staff branches of the Starfleet.  These include Starfleet Intelligence, Starfleet Engineering, Starfleet Medical, as well as several other staff offices of Starfleet.


manpower and personnel

The relative manpower strength of Starfleet is codified in Federation law.  By statue, Starfleet is granted an operating peacetime strength of approximately three thousand starships, as well as a set strength for support personnel and variable manpower strength in order to operate the various starbases, outposts, and planetary bases required for the support of Starfleet’s space missions.  The manpower of Starfleet Security is codified in a separate Federation statue – specifically, in addition to security personnel required to patrol Federation starships and space installations, the Starfleet Security Forces are granted a peacetime strength of six full security corps of approximately sixty thousand security troops a piece. 

On average, the regular manning of the entire Starfleet of the United Federation of Planets rests at just over three million active duty personnel.  This “low” number, as compared to other interstellar space forces, draws from most of the Federation’s internal defense provided by the military forces of the member planet worlds.  Starfleet’s primary mission remains one of space exploration, yet Starfleet is capable of performing limited military operations when necessary.  Federation foreign policy, however, strictly prohibits the waging of aggressive war and Starfleet is neither capable nor equipped to perform long term conquest type operations.

Amongst the various branches of Starfleet, starship personnel are by far the most numerous.  As of 2360, there were 1.5 million Starfleet personnel deployed onboard over three thousand starships.  As of the 2370s, Starfleet also operated 435 starbases, 130 outposts, as well as various planetary base installations; in all, close to 800,000 Starfleet personnel were stationed at various shore assignments throughout the Federation.  The full time support personnel of Starfleet numbered close to the same (six hundred and eighty five thousand), while the forces of Starfleet Security numbered approximately half a million.

Starfleet manpower and recruiting, especially during times of war, is a delicate balance between preserving the peaceful mission of the Federation and providing a military force capable of handling a foreign war.  At the height of the Klingon Cold War, for instance, over five million served in Starfleet.  A hundred years later, during the Dominion War, Starfleet strength was approaching seven million.


Approximately one eighth of Starfleet personnel serve as commissioned officers, while the remainder serves in the crewman, petty officer, and warrant officer ranks.  On average, between one to two percent of Starfleet personnel are discharged or retired each year requiring an equal amount of enlistments or commissions to maintain manpower strength.  During times of war, attrition requires this percentage to be higher.  Even so, Federation law prohibits conscription, although many member planet worlds require mandatory military service in their own local armed forces.