In addition to the basic rank structure, the Colonial Fleet is organized into various departments and various Military Positions, jobs which are held within those departments.
The Command Staff is the upper tier of persons that make sure the ship functions but don't clearly fall into any other department simply because their responsibilities are so broad and include the entire ship.
An Admiral commands an entire group of vessels rather than just one individual ship. His duties focus on long term strategy, fleetwide logistics, policy and politics, etc.
An Admiral might also serve as the CO of a vessel or he might simply have "his flag" on the ship. He will command the entire group while the CO commands the vessel the Admiral happens to be on.
The Commanding Officer (CO) is in command of the entire ship and all those who serve on it. He is the ultimate authority on-board, the master of the vessel. His duties range from leading the ship in battle to filling paperwork, acting as strong role model to keeping a watch on the CIC.
For a large ship like a Battlestar, the CO's rank will typically be Commander. For a smaller vessel the CO might be a Colonel or even a Lieutenant Colonel. As mentioned above, an Admiral might also serve as CO. There is only one CO per ship.
The Executive Officer (XO) serves as the link between Commander and crew. If the need arises, he is also next in line to replace the CO. His duties largely consist of administrative work which includes a large amount of disciplinary oversight and other personnel issues.
The XO is typically a Colonel but can range from a Lieutenant Colonel (or even Major) to Commander depending on the rank of the CO and the circumstances of one's appointment to the position. There is only one XO per ship
An adjutant in a junior officer that assists a more senior officer. Typically this means acting as an aide for administrative duties but may also see the adjutant filling in for his senior officer's other duties.
An adjutant will typically be two to four ranks lower than the officer they serve. There may be numerous Adjutants.
A Judge Advocate is a military lawyer that is tasked with handling court martials and other legal proceedings that may occur. They serve all roles in the criminal justice process including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges.
All Judge Advocates are officers but their ranks may range from a low Ensign even up to Lieutenant Colonel. Judge Advocates may be from either the Marines or from the Fleet Proper. There may be numerous Judge Advocates.
The CIC Staff is the group that mans the Combat Information Center and generally serve as the nerve center for the entire ship, directing and monitoring all other activities.
Officer of the Deck
The OOD is the head of the CIC staff. He takes the third watch (the CO and XO having the other two) and thus monitors the CIC and controls the deck during his shift. While the CO and XO command from the CIC as well, those two have other duties that take them beyond just the command center. The OOD's duties on the other hand focus solely on the CIC.
In the absence of the CO or XO he is in charge of the CIC and by extension the entire ship. The OOD will make most standard decisions and follow the CO's standing orders. In the event that a major decision is required for which there is no precedent to follow, the OOD will typically call the CO and either request his presence or request authorization for an action. Generally, the OOD will also be third in line to take full command of the vessel (e.g. if the CO and XO are killed or incapacitated) but sometimes another member of the crew will be more senior.
The OOD is typically a Lieutenant Colonel but can range from all the way from Lieutenant to Colonel. There is only one OOD per ship (or even no OOD on smaller ships).
The Tactical Officer's main field of oversight is DRADIS. He is charged with monitoring contacts both in calm and in combat. He then relays incoming information to the CO or other officer of the watch as to those developments.
Tactical is also responsible to an extent with Cyberwarfare and computer security, key areas of oversight when fighting against an enemy like the Cylons. Finally, the tactical officer also plots the ship's course both in sub-light and FTL jumps as well as coordinating with the movements of other ships and smaller craft.
The Tactical officer is typically a Lieutenant Senior Grade but may range from Lieutenant Junior Grade to Major. Other than the officers of the watch (CO, XO, and OOD) the Tactical Officer is typically the most senior officer. Depending on the ship there are between one and three Tactical Officers aboard.
The Helmsman physically drives the ship. The CO will give orders and the Tactical Officer will roughly plot courses and provide jump coordinates, but it is the Helmsman who gets the ship from point A to point B.
Helmsmen are often junior CIC officers. Their ranks can typically range from Petty Officer 2nd Class to Lieutenant Junior Grade. Depending on the ship there are between two and twelve Helmsmen aboard.
The Communications Officer naturally handles all communications on the ship. This includes communication across the intercom and phone networks internally through the ship, wireless communication to Vipers and other smaller craft dispatched from the ship, communication between other ships of the Fleet, communication to other fleets entirely, communication to planets or stations, and even communications to the enemy.
The communications officer acts as an operator directing and transferring calls where they need to go, a secretary taking messages and summarizing information to give to the CIC staff, and a direct mouth piece issuing the CIC's orders to the various recipients in the fleet. In calm, just as the Tactical Officer continuously monitors the DRADIS, the Communications Officer will constantly monitor wireless traffic even if no calls are headed directly to the CIC. During combat the communications officer also attempts to track enemy communications and monitors ship transponders to Identify Friend of Foe (IFF).
Like Helm, the Communications Officers are typically junior members of the CIC. Their ranks can typically range from Petty Officer 2nd Class to Lieutenant Junior Grade. Depending on the ship there are between one and six Communications Officers aboard.
Weapons Control Officer
The CO and other officers issue broad orders about what to shoot and when. The Weapons Control (WC) officers decide how to do that shooting. They are the ones that give firing solutions to the ship's main cannons, direct the protective flak screen, launch any nuclear weapons, and control defensive countermeasures. Most of these weapons, however, are operated by gun crews deployed around the ship who further interpret the orders from WC when physically firing the weapons.
The Weapons Control Officers are also typically junior with ranks typically ranging from Petty Officer 2nd Class to Lieutenant Junior Grade. Depending on the ship there are between one and nine WC Officers aboard.
Damage Control Officer
Damage Control (DC) Officers naturally coordinate Damage Control. DC is a fairly boring job 99.9% of the time but it becomes the most exciting and important job for that 0.1%. Damage Control Officers have the ability to initiate fire suppression systems, seal off specific areas in the event of a breach (or even boarding action), etc. They also coordinate damage control and repair teams operating throughout the ship. When everyone else is worried about firing guns, the DC team is concerned with patching up the hull so those guns can keep firing.
Damage Control Officers are also junior officers with ranks ranging from Petty Officer 2nd Class to Lieutenant Senior Grade. Depending on the ship there are between one and six DC Officers aboard.
Commander of the Air Group
The Commander of the Air Group (CAG) is the department head of the Flight Staff. He is responsible for all Viper and Raptor pilots on board. His duties include managing those personnel beneath him, preparing strategies and tactics, briefing the pilots, and directly leading the pilots into combat. Often, the CAG will as assume the duties of Squadron Leader.
The CAG reports directly to the Command Staff and is typically a senior officer of the ship. The CAG's rank can range from Captain to Lieutenant Colonel with Major being the most likely of the three. There is only one CAG per ship (or no CAG if there is no Air Group).
Deputy Commander of the Air Group
Larger ships with massive Air Groups (such as the Hyperion will have a Deputy Commander of the Air Group (Deputy CAG). The Deputy CAG is the CAG's second. He assists the CAG in his duties and occasionally stands in for the CAG. Like the CAG, the Deputy CAG may have his own squadron or might simply fly the CAG's wing.
The Deputy CAG will typically range from Lieutenant Senior Grade to Major but is most likely to be a Captain. This is only one Deputy CAG per ship (or no Deputy CAG is there is no Air Group or the Air Group is small and does not require one).
The Squadron Leader naturally leads a squadron (no more than twenty craft), either of Raptors or Vipers. Compared to the CAG, a squadron leader's duties are light. He is responsible for directly looking after his men and generally leading them in training and combat.
A Squadron Leader is typically but not always the most senior pilot in his squadron. His rank can range from Lieutenant Senior Grade to Captain (the CAG and Deputy CAG acting as Squadron Leaders may have higher ranks). There is one Squadron Leader per Squadron aboard ship.
Viper Pilots are the "fighter" pilots in the Air Wing. Their Vipers are space superiority fighters and thus these pilots have a purely combat focus. Outside of combat, Viper Pilots have few duties aboard ship other than staying fit, brushing up on their Viper manuals, and attending briefings. Their "real" duties include flying the Combat Air Patrol (CAP), standing by as part of the "Alert Fighters" to launch with only seconds notice, and of course to all fight when required in full scale battles.
Pilot ranks will range from Cadets in training to Lieutenant Senior Grade or even occasionally Captain without also being a Squadron Leader. There are numerous Viper Pilots aboard ship (or none on ships that have no Air Group).
Raptor Pilots have the less glamorous but more versatile job of flying Raptors. These pilots perform reconnaissance, transport of goods as well as passengers (both routine transports and combat landings), supporting the Vipers and other craft with Electronic Countermeasures, and sometimes being equipped with heavy weaponry such as missile pods, cannons, and even nuclear weapons to add a little extra punch when required in combat
Like the Vipers, Raptor Pilot ranks will range from Cadets in training to Lieutenant Senior Grade or even occasionally Captain without also being a Squadron Leader. There are numerous Raptor Pilots aboard ship (or none on ships that have no Air Group).
The Electronic Countermeasures Officer (ECO) rides "shotgun" in the Raptor. He is responsible for just about everything that isn't flying (although if required the duties can be performed by either crew member). He thus is primarily responsible for controlling the weapon systems and deploying counter measures when necessary including flares, chaff, drones, and decoys. In addition, the ECOs can jam enemy signals and also go silent to simply detect enemy signals. All ECOs are also given some level of flight training and thus double as co-pilots.
Like pilots, ECO ranks range from Cadets in training to Lieutenant Senior Grade or even occasionally Captain. Often they are of a junior rank to the pilot with whom they fly. An ECO will likely never be Raptor Squadron Leader and certainly not CAG. One would have to transfer to Raptor Pilot first before being promoted to such a position. There are numerous ECOs aboard ship (or none on ships that have no Air Group).
The Deck Staff (Deck Gang) are those crew members that work in the Flight Pods to maintain and launch the Air Group.
Landing Signal Officer
The Landing Signal Officer (LSO) is the only officer stationed on the deck (other than pilots of course). He can be compared to an Air Traffic Controller on steroids with one of the most difficult jobs on the ship, a job which in real world militaries is generally split into four separate positions. He supervises all landings and takeoffs personally with control over launch tubes and elevators. Nothing enters or leaves the deck without his authorization (or at least his notice).
The LSO is typically among the most senior officers of the crew. The LSO ranks range from Lieutenant Senior Grade to Major with Captain as the standard rank. Depending on the ship there are between one and three LSOs aboard (or none if there is no Deck).
Chief of the Deck
The Chief of the Deck ("Chief") is arguably the most powerful NCO on the ship. He controls everything that happens on the deck(s). He is responsible for all the deckhands and through them the rearming, refitting, resupplying, and repairing of all small craft including but not limited to Vipers, Raptors, and shuttles. He and his crews maintain the air wing, launch the air wing, and recover the air wing.
On a large ship like Hyperion, the Chief may be responsible for over three hundred craft and over eight hundred subordinates. Although the LSOs are commissioned officers on the Deck, they have no real authority over the Chief and his deckhands. For all intents and purposes, the Chief is the only NCO department head on the ship and largely operates independently of any officer oversight except once handing the craft over to the LSO and pilots for launch.
The Chief of the Deck is either a Chief Petty Officer or a Master Chief Petty Officer. There is only one Chief of the Deck per ship (or none if there is no Deck).
Deckhands are those crew members that keep the Air Group flying and ready for action. From refueling and rearming to completely rebuilding Vipers and Raptors, the deckhands do it all.
Deckhand ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Petty Officer First Class, and occasionally Chief Petty Officer. Depending on the ship there may be a few dozen or nearly a thousand Deckhands aboard (or none if there is no Deck).
Launch Technicians are a cross between Deckhand and LSO. They perform the basic duties of the Deckhands of repair and resupply during calm, but during launch operations they are responsible for the launch tubes. Launch Technicians will direct craft to and from the elevators. For Vipers, they will direct the fighters into launch tubes and then, after cleared from the LSO, will physically launch them from the launch booth beside the tube.
Whereas regular Deckhands wear orange, Launch Technicians wear yellow to distinguish their role aboard the confusion of the Deck so pilots can more readily recognize them.
Launch Technician ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Petty Officer First Class. Depending on the ship there are between one and fifty Launch Technicians aboard (or none if there is no Deck).
Engineering Staff makes sure that the ship itself works properly. From the actual engine room to life support systems, Damage Control stations to elevators, and CIC systems to nuclear missile tubes they repair and maintain it all.
Chief Engineering Officer
The Chief Engineering Officer (Chief Engineer) is the senior officer charged with this department. He supervises those under him as they tirelessly work to keep the ship in working order. He's often the type that gets his own hands dirty too frequently working right beside his men.
The Chief Engineer's rank range from Lieutenant Senior Grade to Major with Captain as the most likely rank. There is only one Chief Engineer per ship.
The Engineering Officer is a junior officer that aids the Chief Engineer in running his department. Each officer is typically assigned one post in the ship and is responsible for making sure their area of oversight is functioning properly.
Engineering Officer ranks range from Ensign to Captain (so long as they are no more senior than the Chief Engineer). Depending on the ship there may be no junior Engineering Officers or up to thirty.
Engineering Crew Chief
An Engineering Crew Chief (Crew Chief) leads a team of engineers generally for a specific purpose (e.g. maintaining an engine, or life support, etc.) contrasted to an Engineering Officer who supervises a specific location. Crew Chiefs are specialized and go where needed while Officers man their post and make sure that their specific assigned location is functioning.
Crew Chief ranks range from Petty Officer 1st Class to Senior Chief Petty Officer. Depending on the ship there may be just one or up to forty Crew Chiefs aboard.
Engineers are the unsung heroes (which are hardly ever seen in BSG) who make sure the engines keep working, life support doesn't turn off, etc. They maintain the ship's primary functions and when needed completely replace and repair damaged sections often in the heat of combat as part of the DC teams. Some might be experts in a specific field or will have a general knowledge and familiarity with all systems.
Engineer ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Petty Officer First Class. Depending on the ship there may be a dozen or four hundred aboard.
Large ships like Hyperion are equipped with manufacturing facilities that help supplement their wartime needs. These micro factories are tooled to produce replacement Viper parts (and even complete Vipers) and other parts for the larger ship. Most importantly, they have large munitions facilities to produce all types of ammunition except for nuclear arms. These manufacturing facilities are of course limited by the raw material available but assuming the ship has a steady supply, it can fabricate replacement material and ammunition for a very long time and thus delay proper resupply.
This department is staffed with what can only be described as factory workers in uniform. They are semi-skilled laborers a step below deckhands and engineers in their skill and knowledge. They can be used in a pinch to help those departments in emergencies but typically they stick to their department. This is a common post for new civilian recruits to the war effort as it does not require as much training nor is there any direct combat element required.
Manufacturing personnel ranks range from Crewman Apprentice up to the department head at Lieutenant Senior Grade. There are three hundred manufacturing personnel on the Hyperion.
The Medical Staff mans the main sickbay, auxiliary casualty clearing locations, and also includes Marine Medics as well. As one would expect, this department is tasked with preserving life aboard ship.
Chief Medical Officer
The Chief Medical Officer is the senior officer and department head of the Medical staff. He is responsible for overseeing the general health of the crew both physical and mental. He is often also the most skilled doctor and thus performs those duties rather than just overseeing subordinates.
The Chief Medical Officer's rank ranges from Captain to Lieutenant Colonel. There is only one Chief Medical Officer per ship.
Medical Officers are doctors with well rounded general medical knowledge and skills. They spend their time treating the sick, performing minor operations, and of course treating battlefield injuries.
Medical Officer ranks range from Ensign to Captain. Depending on the ship there may be no junior Medical Officers (i.e. there is just the one Chief) or fifty aboard.
Surgeons are specialized doctors that deal primarily with major operations and combat surgeries.
Surgeon ranks range from Ensign to Captain. Depending on the ship there may be no Surgeons or a dozen aboard.
Specialists are specialized doctors (other than surgeons) who may be present in a well staffed sick bay. Specializations may include cardiology, oncology, radiology, etc.
Specialist ranks range from Ensign to Captain. Depending on the ship there may be no Specialists or a dozen aboard.
Psychiatrists finish out the medical officers. War can be emotionally draining and stressful. These professionals treat the unseen injuries of battle.
Psychiatrist ranks range from Ensign to Lieutenant Senior Grade. Depending on the ship there may be no Psychiatrists or a half dozen aboard.
Nurses make up the bulk of the medical staff. There's a lot more to medical care than writing prescriptions, setting bones, and removing tumors. For all the "smaller" but certainly more numerous needs there are nurses, and of course the officers are always assisted in their primary duties by attending nurses.
Nurse ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Master Chief Petty Officer. Depending on the ship there may be from three to one hundred nurses aboard.
Technicians are skilled enlisted personnel that operate the major medical equipment found in larger sick bays. They work the "lab" section of the department as well as specialized machinery to actively treat or scan patients.
Technician ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Lieutenant Senior Grade (only a handful being officers). Depending on the ship there may be no Technicians or up to fifty aboard.
Combat Medics are marines who specialize in first aid and basic field surgeries. They are generally proficient in both combat and medicine but fall short of full doctors and marines in both. They spend most of their time training with their marine units but become part of the medical department the second one of their comrades is injured and requires aid.
Combat Medic ranks will typically range from Private to Gunnery Sergeant. Depending on the ship there may be no Combat Medics or several dozen aboard.
Marines generally make up the single largest department on any war ship. They are tasked with guarding the critical areas of the ship, enforcing law and order, repelling any boarders, and being on hand for offensive operations.
The Marine Commander (Marine CO) is the officer that directly supervises the entire Marine Contingent. He is responsible for personnel issues within his department, organizing security for the ship, criminal investigation and punishment, planning offensive operations, leading troops in combat, etc.
The Marine CO's rank ranges from Lieutenant Senior Grade to Lieutenant Colonel. There is only one Marine CO per ship.
Junior Marine Officers assist the Marine CO in his duties. They may fill staff positions (such as Intelligence Officer) or they may have direct commands of individual battalions, companies, and platoons of marines. They will train and lead the men under them according to their orders from the Marine CO.
Marine Officer ranks range from Ensign to Major (depending on their position in the hierarchy, and naturally never surpassing the Marine CO's rank). Depending on the ship there may be no other Marine Officers or seventy aboard.
The Master-at-Arms (MaA) is a senior NCO assignment on the ship. The MaA's primary duties include directly supervising guard duties, ensuring ship security is maintained, and acting as primary investigators for criminal activities. In addition to these duties, the MaA may also assume normal NCO duties in leading marines into combat and training them during peace.
MaA ranks range from Sergeant First Class to Master Gunnery Sergeant. Depending on the ship there can be from one to a dozen MaAs aboard.
Drill Instructors are specialized marine NCOs that are assigned to training new recruits. They break the recruits down in order to build them back up. They focus on physical fitness, discipline, basic military knowledge, and combat skill.
Drill Instructor ranks range from Crew Sergeant to Master Gunnery Sergeant. Depending on the ship there may be no Drill Instructors or a dozen aboard.
Snipers are the elite scouts and long range killers of the marines. They operate alone or in pairs, typically far in advance of friendly forces or in over-watch behind advancing friendly troops. Their skills of marksmanship, stealth, and most notably patience far exceed any other persons on the ship.
Combat Engineers are specialized marines. Their area of expertise might include: construction, explosive demolition, heavy weaponry, computer interface, etc. If a marine unit is halted by a locked door, some debris, or a superior enemy position then it is the Combat Engineer that is called in to find a solution and a way past.
Combat Engineer ranks range from Private First Class to Gunnery Sergeant. Depending on the ship there may be no Combat Engineers or several dozen aboard.
Marines are standard Riflemen. They are skilled marksmen and close quarters combat specialists (where as most other personnel on the ship might know how to hold a gun or throw a punch but aren't very skilled). They serve as shock troops in combat operations planet-side and in boarding actions. During lulls in the combat they stand guard over secure areas of the ship, train and maintain their bodies, hone their skills, and remain prepared to react at a moment's notice should an incident arise.
Marine ranks range from Private to Master Gunnery Sergeant (assuming they don't receive a more specialized role before then). Depending on the ship there can be from seventy to 1700 Marines aboard.
The WC Officers in the CIC direct and at times can completely take control of several ship batteries. These weapons are not, however, completely reliant on remote control nor can they even be completely controlled by one man in the CIC. The Gun Crews make sure that the ship's weapons keep firing. These are the men and women who actually fire the guns at the CIC's instructions; They're the people who make sure the weapons have a continues stream of ammunition and they're the ones who fix any issues that arise with the guns.
A Gun Commander is the officer charged with a particular section of the ship's weaponry (e.g. Fore Batteries, Port Batteries, etc.) or on smaller vessels the entire array of weapons. He ensure that in the heat of battle everything is running as smoothly as possible. Weapons are functioning, crews are performing well, orders are being relayed, etc. On "down time" they drill their men and oversee maintenance on the weapon systems.
Gun Commander ranks range from Ensign to Lieutenant Senior Grade. Depending on the ship there can be from one to four Gun Commanders aboard.
A Gunner is the person actually controlling and firing a gun. He is the one taking aim, handling ammunition lifts, putting missiles in their pods, fixing jams, etc. These are the heavy weapons type people, a cross between marines and engineers. In combat they fill the sky with death. In peace they train and work on their weapons.
Gunner ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Master Chief Petty Officer. Depending on the ship there can be from sixty to five hundred Gunners aboard.
Loaders assist Gunners for the larger weapons of the ship. All the guns have at least semi-automated loading systems and for the smaller weapons the Gunner performs both duties. However, the larger weapons require an extra hand to work to assist the gunner in keeping his weapon constantly firing.
Loader ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Master Chief Petty Officer. Depending on the ship there can be from ten to one hundred Gunners aboard.
Support Staff includes all the people behind the scenes with the necessary but unglamorous jobs that keep the wheels turning. These servicemen aren't likely to put on warpaint and jump into a firefight but they're still trained soldiers performing a vital service aboard a war ship.
Quartermasters (QMs) are in charge of assigning living arrangements and generally control the assignment of other areas of the ship as well. They also issue equipment to personnel (uniforms, bed sheets, etc.). The QM also often runs a store where crew can buy luxury items or simply purchase more of standard issue gear. Finally, the QMs is also tasked with distributing and accounting for weapons and ammunition during noncombat. In combat scenarios, however, they will release the full arsenal for use.
QMs are on average rank-heavy compared to the other Support departments (i.e. they are more likely to have a high ratio of officers and NCOs to enlisted). QM ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Lieutenant Senior Grade. Depending on the ship there can be from one to fifty QMs aboard.
Cooks are tasked with feeding thousands of crew members three squares a day. Due to the nature of the watch system, food is being served constantly in several mess facilities. It certainly isn't glamorous but the ship would be nowhere without the cooks.
Cook ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Lieutenant Senior Grade (with enlisted ranks being the overwhelming number). Depending on the ship there can be from a half dozen to eight Cooks aboard.
Maintenance workers provide all non-mission critical repairs and general contractor-like work aboard ship while Deckhands, Engineers, and Manufacturers are tasked with the more mission critical specialties. Faulty lights, minor cosmetic damages to the hull, sticking doors, etc. are all under their area of expertise. When required, Maintenance will work in conjunction with the Engineers on projects that require extra labor (e.g as part of Damage Control.
Maintenance ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Lieutenant Senior Grade (with enlisted ranks being the overwhelming number). Depending on the ship there can be from a half dozen to one hundred Maintenance aboard.
Janitors are tasked with cleaning the entire ship. This includes standard peace-time duties like sweeping and mopping the halls (all military personnel are required to clean their own quarters so it is not a maid service). During combat they work to clear debris from corridors, clean up blood, etc. They are also often drafted into DC teams during emergencies.
Janitor ranks range from Crewman Apprentice to Lieutenant Senior Grade (with enlisted ranks being the overwhelming number). Depending on the ship there can be from a half dozen to fifty Janirots aboard.