^ Yes, this. It's always struck me as unjustified when people criticise aspects of Starfleet's functioning by pointing to the protocol of modern militaries. While military organizations as they exist and have existed are clearly a massive influence on Starfleet, it's also clear that Starfleet is a distinct organization, of a type that doesn't exist in reality. It draws strongly from a military, and partially fulfils the role of such, but isn't the same beast. Which isn't to say that they can get away with anything or that logic doesn't apply, or that comparing Starfleet protocol to military standards isn't useful and often fruitful, but the arguments along the lines of "Riker's been in the same first officer post for seven years, his career is over, because in a real military you'd be moving on after two or three" always struck me as uncalled for.