Commander is a commissioned rank in many militaries.

In the United Federation Starfleet, the rank name is derived from English-speaking naval tradition.

Due to the growth of the British Royal Navy, senior captains who were outraged at the idea of promoting deserving but far less experienced lieutenants to the rank of captain demanded that the Admiralty create a new office for these inexperienced commanding officers that did not impinge on their rank or dignity. The Admiralty and the Crown appointed these senior lieutenants to the post of "Master and Commander" of the vessels they were given command of, denoting a senior British naval officer's dual role as not only the sailing master of the vessel, but as the bearer of the rightful office of command. In the years that followed, this rank name was simply renamed "commander."

Commanders in the United Federation Starfleet serve as executive officers or department heads in the senior staff of large commands or as the commanding officers of medium-sized commands. They have been trained in a post-graduate command-track environment that allows them to take command of a Starfleet vessel, should the need arise. Commander is also the lowest rank permitted of a Starfleet starbase commanding officer where the base is a major hub of strategic importance.

The equivalent rank in other services is as follows:

Romulan Imperial Navy: Subcommander

Vulcan Defense Force: Subcommander

Klingon Defense Force: la' in Klingonese (ST reference: The Klingon Dictionary)

"Commander" is a translation of the rank in the Romulan Imperial Navy equivalent to "Captain" in Starfleet. Like their counterparts in Starfleet, Commanders of the Romulan Imperial Navy preside over some of the Empire's most prestigious commands. Unlike a Starfleet officer, however, a Romulan commander is often also tasked with specific political powers since ascent to this rank also implies the ability to have a certain level of political charisma. Individual Romulan commanders, such as Keras, have often been tasked directly by the Romulan Praetor to engage in acts of acquisition, directly extending the Romulan sphere of influence on those star systems or areas of space absorbed into the Empire. Imperial commanders are often given the authority to act as military governors, enacting laws and regulations as need be until suitable civilian governors can be appointed through the political machinations of the Romulan Senate.

The same can be said of Commanders of the Klingon Empire who are given the authority to extend the dominions of their Empire or individual House. However, these officers sit at the same level of their Starfleet counterparts at the rank of the Lieutenant Commander and Commander. Commanders of the Klingon Defense Force, or those in the service of individual Houses of The Empire command, perhaps, the widest array of vessels within the Empire and are often judged on their command prestige before being considered for advancement to the rank of Captain. That prestige can take the form of the kind of vessel under their command (as small as a B'Rel class frigate to as large as a Vor'Cha attack cruiser/subdreadnought) as well as the perceived respect afforded to that commander by his crew (often reported as a lack of assassination attempts on the commanding officer's life). Weak commanders do not keep their commands long, at any level, in the Klingon Empire.

Commander insignia

Starfleet commmander insignia
era general wear command division operations division sciences division
command tactical/military flight-engineering
(admin, pilot, engineer)
security special services sci-ops
(ops, sci & tac ops)
medical
Earth Starfleet ranks Earth cmd cmdr.png Earth ops cmdr.png Earth sci cmdr.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2160s) Sec cmr 2160s.png Cmd cmr 2160s.png Eng-ops cmr 2160s.png Sci cmr 2160s.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2230s) 2230s cmd cdr.png 2230s yel cdr.png 2230s gray cdr.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2240s)
(insignia for all officer grades)
2240s gray officer.png 2240s gold officer.png 2240s red officer.png 2240s coral officer.png 2240s blue officer.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2250s)
(insignia for all officer grades)
Gray officer sleeve.png 2250s conn officer sleeve.png 2250s cmd green officer sleeve.png 2250s red ops sleeve.png 2250s ops officer sleeve.png 2250s sci officer sleeve.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2260s) 2260s cmdr.png Yel Cmdr 2266.png 2260s cmd green cmdr.png Red Cmdr 2266.png 2260s cmd beige cmdr.png Blu Cmdr 2266.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2270s) 2270s cmdr sleeve.png 2270s cmd cmdr.png 2270s helm cmdr.png 2270s eng cmdr.png 2270s sec cmdr.png 2270s sci cmdr.png 2270s med cmdr.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2270s-2350s) 2270s-2350 cmdr sleeve.png TWOK commander.png 2270s-2350 mil cmdr.png 2270s-2350 flight cmdr.png 2270s-2350 sec cmdr.png 2270s-2350 sup cmdr.png Rank starfleet 2270s-2350s sciences-operations commander shoulder.png 2285 Cmdr Med.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2350s-2366) 2350s gray cmdr.png 2350s cmd cmdr.png 2350s ops cmdr.png 2350s sci cmdr.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2366-2373) 2350s gray cmdr.png Red Cmdr 2364.png Red Cmdr 2371.png Yel Cmdr 2364.png Yel Cmdr 2371.png Blu Cmdr 2364.png Blu Cmdr 2371.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2373-2386) 2370s cmd cmdr.png Yel Cmdr 2373.png 2370s sci cmdr.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2386-2410) Red Cmdr 2400s.png Yel Cmdr 2400s.png Blu Cmdr 2400s.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2800s) 2800s cmd cmdr.png 2800s ops cmdr.png 2800s sci cmdr.png

Alternate commander insignia

Starfleet alternate commander insignia
era command division operations division sciences division
Federation Starfleet ranks (2250s) alt 2250s alt cmd cmdr.png 2250s alt ops cmdr.png 2250s alt sci cmdr.png
Federation Starfleet ranks (2386-2410) alt Alt future cmd cmdr.png Alt future ops cmdr.png Alt future sci cmdr.png

Positions and Lists

Grades are noted where known.

Starfleet

The Starfleet rank is above Lieutenant Commander and below Captain.

Romulan Star Empire

The Romulan rank is above Subcommander and below General. It is equivalent to a Starfleet Captain.

Chronology

Dates listed are first appearance or mention at that rank except as noted. Personnel are Starfleet except as noted.

2263

2265

2268

2303

2311

2357

2355

2361

2362

2364

  • William T. Riker promoted to Commander
  • Lieutenant Commander Deanna Troi

2366

2369

2370

2372

2373

2375

2376

2379

  • Tuvok promoted to Commander

2379

Connections

Enlisted ranks Commissioned ranks Flag ranks
Earth SF CREW PO2

PO1

CPO

SCPO


MCPO

ENS LT CMDR CAPT

FCAPT


VICE CDORE

CDORE RADM / 2ADM VADM / 3ADM 4ADM FADM / 5ADM

GADM

Starfleet & SFMC ENS JG

ENS


ENS 1C

LT JG LT LT CMDR CDR CDORE

1ADM

PVT CPL SGT

MASTER SGT

SUBLT

2ND LT

1ST LT CAPT MAJOR LT COL COL BRIG GEN
Klingon Defense Force
naval & marine
ENL (bekk) PO/LDR (DevwI')

CPO/TROOP LDR (QaS-DevwI')

ENS (lagh) LT JG LT (Sogh) LT CMDR CMDR (la') CAPT (HoD) CDORE (totlh) ADM ('aj) FADM
ENL (mang) 2C

ENL (mang) 1C


LCPL

CPL (Da') SGT (bu')

SGT MAJ

LT JG LT (Sogh) CAPT MAJ LT COL COL BRIG ('ech) MAJ GEN GEN (Sa')
Romulan naval
&
Tal Shiar
(where known)
UHLAN DECURION ANTE CENTURION (erein) SUBLT SUBCMDR (erei'riov) CMDR (rh'iov) CMDR GEN (khre'riov) ADMIRAL
LT MAJOR TRIBUNE COLONEL GENERAL (enriov)
CENTURION (arrain) LEGATE SR CENTURION (enarrain) HIGH CENTURION
EQUITORIAM SECONDAM TRINAM FIELD PRIMUS PRIMUS GRAND PRIMUS
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