Enterprise is Great wrote:
Someone, I think it may have been Gene Roddenberry, had the "brilliant" idea that by the 24th century starships didn't have chief engineers. Just engineers and the ship mostly fixed itself. After the first season they dropped that idea.
Just on the Enterprise-D, we saw Lt. Cmdr Argyle, Lt. Cmdr Leland T. Lynch, and Lt. Cmdr McDougal all in the first season. Even if they weren't "Chief Engineers", they were at least officers on board who were Lt. Cmdrs.
Strangely, Riker, Crusher, Pulaski, (and Shelby for a brief time), then later Troi, were the only Commanders ever seen on screen. On a real ship, Data would probably have been a Commander (Operations Chief), and so would whoever was Chief Engineer (La Forge). All other department heads should have been Lt. Cmdrs and report directly to Riker.