Starfleet is the exploratory and military arm of the United Federation of Planets, with functions including the exploration of space both within and without the Federation, the practice of peacekeeping and diplomacy, the armed defence of the Federation, and the advancement of Federation science and technology. It is often compared to the British Antarctic Survey, the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service, and the United States Coast Guard.


Starfleet was formed in 2161, as one of the first acts of the Federation Council upon its formation, and consisted of the combined military forces of all member worlds. Its early role combined the scientific and the military, and the service has continued to advance both causes over the last two centuries. As the largest contributor, Earth had a significant formative influence on the organisation of Starfleet, which in itself owed a debt to the space probe agencies of the past, such as NASA and UESPA. Starfleet has engaged in several conflicts throughout its history, including the Four Year War, the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Kzin Wars, and the Orion Wars, but remains primarily an instrument of peace.


The Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet is the President of the United Federation of Planets, subject to the scrutiny of the Federation Council. On a day-to-day basis, Starfleet Command serves as the organisational authority of the service, with key positions including the Starfleet Commander, Chief of Starfleet Operations, and Chief of Staff. Starfleet Command is headquartered in San Francisco. On a more local level, the Federation is divided into Sectors, with each Sector's activities co-ordinated from a Starbase; there are nearly a hundred such Starbases across the Federation. Also, Starfleet is divided into twelve fleets, each of which is commanded by a Fleet Admiral from a designated flagship.

Starfleet Academy

Starfleet Academy is the training facility for Starfleet officers, with its main campus also located in San Francisco, but with other facilities located throughout Federation space. Cadets receive extensive training in all manner of Starfleet life and duties over an extended period, culminating in a six-month cadet placement in an actual duty posting, where they are known as midshipmen. Successful graduates are commissioned as officers in Starfleet, with the rank of Ensign, Junior Grade. (In rare cases, officers can be commissioned as full Ensigns or even at the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, though this usually indicates an exceptional performance in a cadet assignment, or prior Starfleet experience in the enlisted ranks.)

Military Operations Command

One of the primary duties of Starfleet is the protection of the Federation, from potential enemies such as the Imperial Klingon State, Kzinti, or the Gorn Alliance. This command, which operates five fleets (First, Second, Fifth, Seventh and Tenth), acts both as a defensive force and as the Federation's peace-keepers.

Galaxy Exploration Command

This command, which operates two fleets (Third and Ninth), is responsible for the exploration of unknown areas of the galaxy. These ships tend to take independent action, largely as they operate far from higher command authority. They map the galaxy, discover new planets for colonisation, and act as ambassadors. This is considered the 'prestige' service of the fleet, and has the newest and most advanced vessels assigned it.

Colonial Operations Command

The Colonial Operations Command, which operates two fleets (Fourth and Eighth), is tasked with both establishing colonies on suitable planets and supporting these colonies in the early years of their development, with medical support, scientific studies, defence, and lawkeeping on such worlds. This command generally has older vessels assigned it, including the bulk of the scientific operations.

Merchant Marine Command

This command operates three fleets (Sixth, Eleventh and Twelfth), and was originally responsible for logistic support and cargo transportation; this command has evolved over the years to instead monitor the cargo lanes of the Federation, providing convoy escorts, regulating interstellar law and preventing hazards to navigation. Though considered the least prestigious command, it saw the bulk of the action during the conflicts with the Orion Pirates.

Starfleet Intelligence

Starfleet Intelligence is one of two primary intelligence-gathering organisations operating in the Federation (the other being the Federation Intelligence Service). Its mandate is for foreign and domestic espionage and counterintelligence.

Starfleet Marine Corps

The Starfleet Marine Corps are descended from the soliders which served on Earth starships during the Romulan War, and other similar organisations from Andor and Cait. These form an elite ground operations arm, generally operating at the platoon and company level. They are considered – and consider themselves – the elite of the service, and identify strongly with the 'Green Berets' of the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries.