C.E. Evans wrote:
Then again, there is the issue of Starfleet having a different billet system than today's navies, with a greater emphasis on position rather than rank.
Well quite, the only time the two are really ever related in Trek seem to be: -
1. In "Thine Own Self" where passing a command test means an automatic third full pip.
2. The idea that the Captain of any ship gets the rank of Captain (not just the honorary title, the full four-pips).
There might be others, I can't really think of any.
Trek also seems to have the "default" rank of Lt. Cmdr for long serving average officers, though again in "Tapestry", the long-serving Picard is only a Lt. jg (which really makes no sense).
On a Galaxy-class ship, the chief of security may only have warranted a lieutenant from the get-go and the operations officer of an Intrepid-class ship may only have warranted an ensign. Another possibility is that individual ships may have a specific chain-of-command, with promotions a precursor to increased responsibilities or reassignment to another vessel with a different chain-of-command.
Yeah maybe, I'd be interested to hear the real world rationale used for everyone's ranks - Michael Okuda used to post here on-and-off once and if anyone knew he would!