I see you point about the command structure, I just doublt that the contact specialist is actually gonna be in charge of ship once the senior guys leave the ship. And I doubt she has any command experience...unlike Harry Kim, who had some experience working the night shift....guess it was never stated that Chen had a desire for command + with her being obnoxious (errr...i mean embracing her human side) I just don't see it.
I see when Sulu in the chair and McCoy standing by, it more like Sulu the Officer of the Deck,....yeah i guess the same could be said for Chen, but with the Senior guys on the planet below with the Fed Prez, I'd leave someone more experience in charge.
And yeah, PKS8304, I could see Picard wanting to nurture Chen, but I betcha it more a plot device to give Chen some scenes....I just uber-annoyed wit her (and find it hard to believe Picard would have soft spot for her.
At any rate, I still want to toss Chen out the nearest air lock.