View Single Post
Old November 23 2008, 11:30 PM   #136
Cicero's Avatar
Location: The City of Destiny
Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
AlanC9 wrote: View Post
Again, only by our standards for promotion. In Napoleonic navies this sort of thing was more the rule than the exception; until you made post captain seniority didn't matter.
Not really comparable, though, as it would take only three promotions to reach captain in the Napoleonic period, instead of seven. And though the percentage of captains inservice then might not be much different from a modern service, many of these were on half pay without assignment, whereas today they would have left the service or retired.

We already know that Starfleet doesn't worry about time-in-grade the way we do today. Riker doesn't really damage his career by remaining as Picard's XO long after he could have been promoted, and nobody thinks there's anything all that weird about the alternate Picard staying a lieutenant forever.
Rather preposterous arrangements which give no thought to the larger personnel management implications. The more that model is avoided the better.

Instantly going from cadet to captain is still excessive, of course. But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
The personnel practices of the Royal Navy c. 1800 are probably not a very good comparison for Starfleet. The navy's policies reflected the class system of the time, when social background and political connections mattered more than ability. Cochrane had an enormous benefit in that he was born Lord Cochrane, heir to the Earl of Dundonald, and entered the navy at age five -- on paper -- when his navy captain uncle entered his name on his ship's roster. It is true that he had great ability, but officers like him or Nelson (whose uncle was Controller of the Navy) were more likely to have their abilities recognized than officers from a middle class background.

A better example might be Stephen Decatur of the USN. He was commissioned a midshipman in 1798 and was promoted to captain in 1804, six years later. His promotion didn't owe to unusual openings above him; neither deaths nor fleet expansion were factors in his promotion. He was advanced for recognized ability in an unusually merit-based organization.

Ceti Alpha 5 wrote: View Post
If you want an example of rapid promotion through the Starfleet ranks then Riker's early career is probably a good example. He was an ensign in 2358, promoted to lieutenant in 2361 and then promoted again to lieutenant commander in 2362. He then transferred from operations to command division and became first officer of the USS Hood. Promoted to full commander in 2364 he then joined the Enterprise. In theory if anything to Capt DeSoto during his time on the Hood, Riker could have taken command of that ship just 4-5 years after leaving the Academy.
Wasn't Riker offered command of a ship in 2364, which he turned down to take the post aboard the Enterprise? If he'd accepted, he'd have gone from Ensign to Captain in no more than six years.

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
Captain Intrepid wrote: View Post
So? Starfleet doesn't have to work like the US Navy, why can't it work more like the Royal Navy? The RN's much more interesting anyways.
Today, it take a line officer 20-25 years to reach captain in either the RN or USN, regardless of who they are or what they've done. Officer personnel management has come a long way from how it was done 200 years ago. Those systems had major flaws, which is why we don't use them any more.
It's technically possible, under the current system, to make rear admiral (lower half) in 15 years, and captain in 12. A high quality officer should usually have reached the rank of captain by 20 years. The best officers should reach it sooner, having been promoted from in zone at least once. On the far edge of technical possibility, without using a 'needs of the service' rationale, an officer could be made a fleet admiral in 16 years (time-in-grade requirements cease after rear admiral (upper half)), though we've not had a fleet admiral since Chester Nimitz died in 1966, despite the Clinton administration's near-promotion of William Crowe to that grade (and Colin Powell to general of the army). Promotion to Admiral of the Navy might also be technically possible, but it's unclear if the rank is still on the books.
Ad majorem futuri gloriam.

Last edited by M'Sharak; November 24 2008 at 12:26 AM. Reason: tags
Cicero is offline   Reply With Quote