In the early days of the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), a rudimentary rank structure based on the United States Navy was in place. In honor of the first organized fleet, many of its personnel still in training, a new rank structure was designed to honor the organization's military ties, but give it its own identity.
Regardless of commission, all personnel are trained into a specialty in which they are expected to perform. Unlike most military rank, the rank itself (O1, E1, etc) is supplemental to the UNSC Specialty. For comparison, a USAF member may be an E5 with a specialty code of 1B471, while an equivalent UNSC member is a COM-E-5. This nomenclature was chosen to simplify the classification of personnel, and focus on the duties of the job rather than the expectations of the rank. Similarly, it is common for shipmates to refer to each other by their specialty rather than the name of their rank.
To further promote a singular, distinct image, a new system of rank insignia was designed for both Officer and Enlisted rank structures. The markings, devised by a committee headed by Brigadier General North, are simple in design, and distinct between individual ranks. The overall goal was to provide a system of rank insignia that was immediately obvious to any observer, in any light, while still respecting the advance in stature that rank provides. The committee arrived at a set of pips for Officers, and a set of stripes and chevrons for Enlisted.
Officer Rank Structure Edit
UNSC Commissioned officers are carefully trained as leaders and decision makers, and are expected to expand their knowledge beyond their specialty as they grow in rank and responsibility. Ideally, a Bridge Officer is knowledgeable in all bridge functions, and can perform in at least a rudimentary role at any given station. Because of this requirement, advancement is based both on recommendation and qualification in a set of standardized function-specific test batteries, having only a minimal amount of time required at each rank. An unofficial but widely accepted idea is that an officer should obtain as many favorable recommendations from higher ranking officers as their grade - an Ensign should seek at least one supporting recommendation, while a Commander should be able to provide 5 higher ranking officers willing to vouch for them. While this is not enforced or acknowledged, Captains of ships and Commanders of units often adopt this method as the de facto standard.
In addition to Specialty training, Officers attend a leadership course which introduces recruits to life or death decision making, long-term interaction with crew, and practical leadership concepts in relation to space travel.
Officer rank insignia for sub-Admiral Officers (O-1 through O-6) is a system of pips initially centered along a bar, and later surrounded by a rectangular frame. Centering the pips along the bar proved to increase recognizability at greater distances than justifying them to the left or right. Admirals (O-7 through O-10) are represented by one to four stars, as is common for most military organizations.
|O-7||Rear Admiral, Lower Half||*|
|O-8||Rear Admiral, Upper Half||**|
Enlisted Rank Structure Edit
UNSC Enlisted personnel represent the pinnacle of knowledge within their Specialty. Enlisted members attend their Specialty school and periodic upgrade training as new technologies/methods develop. While higher Enlisted grades may perform in a leadership capability, most Enlisted members are placed directly or indirectly under the control of an Officer, whose orders they carry out, and to whom they advise in the creation of those orders. Technicians (E-4) and above serve in a supervisory capacity, leading small teams in accomplishment of their goals.
Enlisted promotions take into consideration the time served in the current rank and qualification in standardized function-specific test batteries. Supervisor recommendation/rejection is also considered in cases of truly excellent or truly undeserving comments.
Enlisted rank insignia is an escalating system of stripes, arranged in such a way that each tier of progression is easily distinguished from afar, and easily deduced at a glance even by those not familiar with the UNSC rank structure. E-1 through E-3 are stripes, one for each grade. E-4 through E-6 are chevrons, one for each grade. E-7 through E-9 are crosses ("X"), plus an additional stripe for E-8, and two for E-9.