I still think the simplest explanation in-universe is that Wesley was CO of Lexington, like Decker and Constellation, but as he was acting in a higher capacity as task force commander he wore the badge associated with higher command.
That makes perfect sense to me.
Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
Robert Comsol wrote:
Assuming all hell breaks loose (as it did in "The Ultimate Computer") and there'd be multiple visual reports from the various starship captains and confusion just a quick glance at Wesley would abundantly make it clear that he is in charge.
But shouldn't everybody involved in the test already know who Wesley is and why he's in command of the mission?
Sure, but then again, if you have four Starships and someone hollers "Captain" over the communicator, you might get four guys responding at once.
More seriously, in WW II, American submarines usually operated alone, but toward the end of the war, they formed wolf packs of two or more boats. One boat was usually designated the senior boat, but I think that was more or less just to keep from having to duplicate everything to everybody.
(OT in his book "War Fish" Submarine captain George Grider reports on an instance where he was commanding a junior boat in a wolf pack and his decoding team broke a coded order to return to base more quickly than the "senior" boat. Grider's boat got a head start back to the base and when the word came in "Where are you going?" the answer came back "You'll find out")
Anyway, the chain of command in Submarines was always less formal than in surface ships and much less formal than in the capital ships, which is what we are talking about here: the biggest and best in Star Fleet. Someone would be at least nominally in charge, but in this situation, it makes sense to me that there would be some sort of short hand way of making sure communications were as clear as possible. The Star Ships were supposed to be working together to make the threat as big as possible.