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Chapter CO Handbook
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United Federation Starfleet

Chapter Commanding Officer’s Handbook


Original by:
Commander T’Rennek Yuitza

Reviewed and Amended by:
Vice Admiral Rosine Heinkel
Fleet Admiral Mike Calhoun
Lieutenant General MilesPrower Dagger


Published by:
Chief of Staff, United Federation Starfleet
Captain Tammy Durant

Editors:
Vice Admiral Rosine Heinkel
Fleet Admiral Mike Calhoun

Intended Audience:
All UFS members who want to start a chapter within UFS

Reviewing Authority:
United Federation Starfleet Command



Revision History:
First Edition: February 2012

Second Edition: August 2013


Table of Contents

1.0   Introduction

1.1   Shipshape

1.1.1 Teamwork

1.1.2 Humbleness

1.1.3 Professionalism

1.1.4 Commitment

2.0   Requirements

2.1   Starfleet Academy

2.2   Appointing an XO

2.3   Identity

2.4   Web Presence

2.5   Bylaws

3.0   Responsibilities of the Chapter CO

3.1   Recruitment & Retention

                3.1.1 Recruitment

                3.1.2 Retention

3.2   Monthly Status Report (MSR)

3.2.1 What is the MSR?

3.2.2 How and when do I file the MSR?

3.3   Crew Recognition

3.3.1 Promotions

3.3.2 Awards

3.4   Conflict Resolution

4.0   Chapter Roles

4.1   Commanding Officer (CO)

4.2   Executive Officer (XO)

4.3   Second Officer (SO)

4.4   Department Heads

4.5   General Membership

5.0   Sector Command

Endnote


1.0 Introduction

“Part of being a Captain, is knowing when to smile, make the troops happy, even when it's the last thing in the universe you want to do – because they're your troops, and you have to take care of them.”  - Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko

What are the qualities that make a great commander?

Throughout history we have read and seen great commanders, those who have achieved great things in both diplomacy and battle. They have been able to turn the tide to their advantage in situations where it seemed that all was lost.

Loosely speaking, there are three types of commanders...

The first is the commander who plans in great detail. He plans to such an extent that each and every eventuality is taken care of. Planning in great detail is all very nice, but there is a draw back in such a commander,
 which is that they can tend to be somewhat fussy.

The second kind is the commander who has an instinctive grasp of the detail, charisma, and flair. However again, there is a drawback in this type of commander also in that they can tend to be somewhat erratic.

The third kind is the very rare kind, the kind who is a combination of the first two. A very good example was Admiral Lord Nelson of the Royal Navy. Nelson used to plan in great detail. He used to talk to his captains and plan to meet all eventualities. In almost all situations, the fleet knew what to do as the plan was comprehensive. But at the same time, Nelson had the charisma and the moral courage to tear up plans in the heat of the battle and go for any situation that presented itself

It is this combination of the two that makes for not only a great Commander but a great leader.

So back to the original question...what are the qualities that make a great commander?

Well now that you have chosen to take the first steps in that direction, we hope you will find out your own answers to that question. This handbook aims to guide you through the administrative side of the job, but being a good commander is about so much more than being good at the desk job. We wish you the very best of luck!

1.1 Shipshape

So, you’re a CO, and you’ve finally got your hands on that center seat. Well in order to do justice to the position, yourself, and most importantly your crew, then there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1.1.1 Teamwork

For your Chapter to reach its potential, everyone involved needs to combine their efforts. If everyone does their job well, then it increases what you as a group can accomplish. You will need to work to ensure this need is recognised by everyone and know that great things can happen if individuals master the fundamentals and work together as one unit. Everyone will have their own unique role, some more active than others, but each person's individual role must be still be recognised and appreciated.

1.1.2 Humbleness

Some people's attitudes tend to literally change overnight when they take command of a ship/station. It is expected from you that you continue to act the way you did before you took command. Being in charge does not mean that you are allowed to act in a manner that will belittle your crew or any other fleet member. Always remember that your Chapter is nothing more than a group of friends with a shared interest in Star Trek hanging out together.

1.1.3 Professionalism

People will decide 10 things about you within 10 seconds of meeting you based on your image, which is a combination of your appearance and behaviour.

Within UFS, you need to be constantly asking yourself, “Am I holding myself and those I am responsible for to a high enough standard?” Ultimately, your dedication, quality of work, and your personal conduct will say far more about who you are and what you stand for than any other thing you do.

1.1.4 Commitment

You have become a leader, are in charge of a full crew, and as a result you are expected to commit to the job. Being available to perform this job is crucial as your crew members depend on you. If you do not have the time and/or the willingness to commit, you are expected to step down and give others who can successfully perform the chance to do your job, including your XO. By holding the position of CO and not committing yourself to the job, you will not only be letting down your Chapter, but also letting down UFS as a whole.

2.0 Requirements

This section outlines what is required from you as a Chapter CO.

2.1 Starfleet Academy

UFS Academy exists to educate its members about the workings of UFS. It also serves to provide its members with fun and informative classes about all aspects of Star Trek.

Before you can be commissioned as a full Chapter, you and your XO must pass both the Officer Candidate Training School (OCTS) exam and the Command Officer Candidate Training School (COCTS) exam. You can request that these tests be sent to you via e-mail, take it on-line, or even take it in a metaverse such as Second Life.

2.2 Appointing your XO

This is one decision you have to get right, as so much will depend on the character of the person you choose. Your First Officer or Executive Officer (XO) will be your 'shadow' and ultimately the person who will be filling your position should you become unable to fulfill your duty (for whatever reason).

 

It is very important that before choosing your XO, you ask yourself the following questions:

 

Do I know this person enough to trust the ship/station of my command in their hands?

Will this person be able to think and act like I would?

Is this person able to commit to the same efforts I have?

Is this person able to lead the same way or better than I am?

Is this person as knowledgeable as I am?

Is this person willing to continuously learn?

Is this person willing to set the example as I do?

2.3 Identity

An identity is important to your Chapter, as this will be what defines your group and what will attract new members. Identity can be centered around your Chapter’s name (e.g., U.S.S. Galileo if, for example, your group is into astronomy). It can also be centered around unique things that your group does or services it offers that few others do. A Chapter can get involved in the community and carve out an identity that way.

This will be how others view you and your Chapter. It can be a focal point, as mentioned above, or it can be something as simple as friendship.

The choices are endless!

2.4 Web Presence

Your Chapter will benefit greatly from a presence on the Internet. Whether that be a simple webpage advertising your Chapter, or a specific online community for you and your crew. Maybe you will involve your Chapter in social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Trekspace.

There are numerous options that allow for personal webspace free of any cost, some of which even provide for free of charge community forums and chat rooms.

2.5 Bylaws

Apart from the rules specified by UFS, you will need a set of rules by which to run your Chapter. It might be something really detailed like a constitution or a set of bylaws, or something less regulated like a Chapter Handbook defining the structure of your group and how it operates.

Allow your crew as much freedom and input as needed to ensure that such documents are fair and just to all members. Departments can be broken down to include positions within the department (i.e., Transporter Chief, Brig Officer etc.).

Your bylaws should state in general terms what your Chapter’s mission, objective, and procedural guidelines will be. It can be as simple or as complex as the needs of your Chapter dictate. We recommend starting simple, as you really don’t want to regulate your Chapter to death.


3.0 Responsibilities of the Chapter CO

Part of the goal of UFS is to expand its membership base. When building your new Chapter, it is considered inappropriate to gather all your members by drawing from other Chapters. Member “poaching” is heavily frowned upon. Whilst individuals are free to transfer of their own accord, attempts to convince them to leave an existing Chapter is not the done thing. Other duties and responsibilities follow here:

3.1 Recruitment & Retention

As the Chapter CO, it is your responsibility to ensure your crew members are happy and engaged. Whatever you and your crew decide as the purpose and mission of your Chapter must be a group decision. However, after that, the crew will need activities and responsibilities to keep them engaged and actively involved. Some suggestions include Recruitment and Retention activities.

3.1.1 Recruitment

It is up to you how you want to advertise your group. Perhaps you prefer word of mouth and asking your friends to join. Perhaps your workplace permits fliers. Maybe just talking around the lunchroom or local coffee shop is your preferred method. Star Trek fans are everywhere, so it’s not hard to find other fans.

Another option might include posting on Trek-related fan sites. We ask that you do not recruit directly from other established Star Trek fan groups and other UFS Chapters. One of the biggest mistakes a Commanding Officer can make is to start poaching members from other Chapters. Making promises of positions and ranks might gain you a few members quickly, but you have to ask yourself how loyal they will be to you and your Chapter.

We also ask that you always mention United Federation Starfleet (UFS) in your recruitment materials.

The possibilities are endless, only limited by your own imagination. Involve your crew in coming up with ideas and recruitment drives. However, if you do require some assistance with ideas, please contact your Sector Commander, Mentor CO, or the UFS Chief of Operations.

3.1.2 Retention

Once you have a crew, it is important that they remain engaged and active. As their leader, it is your responsibility to help them grow in their roles. This is critical especially for your new recruits, as they will look to the Chapter Leadership for guidance. You will need to be aware of all the different sites and manuals available to the UFS Membership in general.

As a base of knowledge, the main sites include the following:

As you become familiar with these materials, it might be a good idea to delegate some activities to your crew. An active and involved crew is a happy crew, and they are more likely to stay with you. Someone could be in charge of tracking classes crew members have had at the Academy, or another would be responsible for ensuring the forums are updated. Again, the choice is yours. Of course, everything is voluntary, so choose your crew roles carefully and spread the responsibilities out so no one individual is so heavily burdened that they get burned out.

More information regarding roles is listed in Section 4 of this manual.

3.2 Monthly Status Report (MSR)

All Chapters AND Chapters in Training are required to file a Monthly Status Report. Reports are vital in any organization. They help you see where your Chapter needs the most help or guidance. They also help you recognize a job well done, so the member or members involved can be commended.

UFS Command uses reports in much the same way. The reports that you file are used to determine the status and well-being of your Chapter and the Fleet. They also tell UFS Command if there is a problem that they can help remedy before it escalates.

 

On the other hand, if you are doing a good job, UFS Command wants to recognize you for it. We do not want you to feel that your hard work and dedication are going unnoticed. That is why reporting is required by all Chapter Commanding Officers.

3.2.1 What is the MSR?

The Monthly Status Report (MSR) is one of the few requirements needed to retain your active Chapter status. These reports contain an overview of your month-to-month activities and projects. You will also be asked to provide us with a brief description of future activities. By comparing consecutive reports, UFS Command can then analyze your progress, and then offer help or guidance in needed areas.

3.2.2 How, when, and to whom do I file the MSR?

These online reporting forms are filed via the UFS Database and are self-explanatory and quite easy to fill out. They should only take about twenty to thirty minutes of your time each month, providing that your files are in good order.

You will be required to file one report (even if there was no activity of particular note) every month. Your report will automatically get sent to your Sector Commander and the Director of Fleet Operations. These reports must be submitted by the 15th day of the following month. For example, a report for the month of March must be filed no later than April 15th. These MSR’s are only one of your responsibilities as a Commanding Officer. Failing to file your MSR for three (3) consecutive months can result in the decommissioning of your Chapter.

3.3 Crew Recognition

UFS has established systems for rewarding its members. These are through promotion in rank and the issuance of awards for specific achievements. History has shown us that these are both very emotive subjects and when handled badly, often cause much conflict.

For some members, rising through the ranks is the sole driving force for their involvement. For others, getting awards for achieving things in the group is their driver. Other members may think little of both rank and awards and have other reasons for being a part of UFS. It is essential for the well being of your Chapter that any promotions or awards that you make are made for the right reasons and are merited.

3.3.1 Promotions

As a Chapter Commanding Officer, UFS has granted you the authority to promote your crew members up to O-5 (Commander, Lieutenant Colonel) in line with standard UFS Time in Grade (TIG) rules.

Chapter COs inform UF Starfleet of issued promotions via the UF Starfleet Databse using the form ‘Line Promotion Requests’  which is found under the Command Reports section of the Command Services Tab.

Time in Grade, or TIG for short, means that there is a minimum amount of time one must be at their current rank before being eligible for promotion to the next rank. It does not mean an automatic promotion, only the eligibility for promotion. Other considerations must be taken into account, such as the activity level of the member, their contributions to the Chapter, and any work they do with other UFS departments. Of course, you wouldn’t expect as much from an Ensign as you would a Lieutenant Commander, so keep those considerations in mind, as well.

One of the basic principles when taking TIG into account is that one needs to take the activity level from one promotion to the next under consideration. For example, when looking into whether a person is active enough to be promoted from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander, you do not need to look at what that person did for your Chapter back as an Ensign since a prior promotion already rewarded those activities.

The basis for promotion is at the judgment of the Commanding Officer. However, UFS hopes, and indeed suggests, that promotions are made because they are truly deserved based on activity during a specific amount of time rather than through other methods.

Promoting your crew members to make you popular as a CO or to make your Chapter gain members will quickly lead to the downfall of the Chapter and eventually your downfall as a Commanding Officer. While you might be considered popular by your crew members, you will lose the respect of your fellow CO’s and Fleet members.

The TIG chart below reflects all ranks up to that of O-5. This is the only promotion consideration that UFS places on you, and as such any promotions made that fall outside of TIG will not apply. Also, if a member also holds a position at Fleet level, you must make an effort to make contact with the other department to discuss promotions.

Entry ranks are up to each individual CO. UFS recommends using the ranks of Cadet, Crewman Recruit, or Acting Ensign for your new members. It is recommended that each CO determine the best choice for their crew.

UFS does, however, require that any crew member who wants to be commissioned as an officer pass the Officer Candidate Training School (OCTS) as described in section 3.1.2 above. Once they pass that exam, they will be granted the rank of Ensign. There is no limit to how many times someone can take the exam before passing.

If someone chooses not to take the exam or would rather be enlisted, then they would follow the Enlisted rank structure. Promotion within the Enlisted ranks is based on TIG as well as any specific requirements each individual CO chooses to place upon their crew.

Grade

Fleet

Marine Corps

TIG

E-1

Crewman Recruit

Crewman Recruit

Entry Rank

E-2

Crewman Apprentice

Private

1 Month

E-3

Crewman 3rd Class

Private 1st Class

1 Month

E-4

Crewman 2nd Class

Lance Corporal

2 Months

E-5

Crewman 1st Class

Corporal

3 Months

E-6

Petty Officer 3rd Class

Sergeant

4 Months

E-7

Petty Officer 2nd Class

Staff Sergeant

6 Months

E-8

Petty Officer 1st Class

Gunnery Sergeant

9 Months

E-9

Chief Petty Officer

Master Sergeant

Minimum 12 Months

E-10

Senior Chief Petty Officer

1st Sergeant

Minimum 12 Months

E-11

Master Chief Petty Officer

Sergeant Major

Minimum 12 Months

O-1

Ensign (ENS)

2nd Lieutenant (2LT)

After Passing OCTS

O-2

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)

1st Lieutenant (1LT)

3 Months

O-3

Lieutenant (LT)

Marine Captain (MCAPT)

3 Months

O-4

Lieutenant Commander (LTCMDR)

Major (MAJ)

6 Months

O-5

Commander (CMDR)

Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL)

9 Months

As previously discussed, you may not promote any member above O-5. The Sector Commander has the authority to promote anyone in their sector to the rank of O-6, and any promotions above that can only be made by the UFS Promotions Board.

Nominations for promotion for eligible crew to O-7 and above are accepted using the Online Promotion Form. All nominations for promotions are received by the UFS Promotions Director. For more information regarding promotions above the rank of O-6, please read the Command Grade Promotions Guidelines.

For a full list of Ranks and TIG, see Appendix B of the UFS Membership Manual.

3.3.2 Awards

Awards are another way of showing appreciation for your crew’s contributions. These awards range from certificates and commendations to ribbons and plaques.

There are three levels of awards:

Chapter level awards are unique to each Chapter, can be for any achievement, and should be designed during your Chapter’s Shakedown cruise.

Sector Level awards are also unique to each Sector. Please see your Sector Commander for these and how you might nominate your crew for any of these awards.

3.4 Conflict Resolution

While UFS cannot require you to accept or dismiss a member, such punitive actions at best maintain the “status quo” of bad feelings and often escalate. UFS recommends working with your Sector Commander to try and come to a more effective and cooperative solution.

Do note, however, that UFS never condones harassment or misconduct, defined as behavior by one member perpetrated upon another member that would be construed as illegal under local, county, state, provincial, federal, or international law.

If such harassment or misconduct is happening in your Chapter, you must contact your Sector Commander immediately and report it. This is as much for your own personal safety and liability as it is for the member(s) being affected.

Information regarding escalation procedures are outlined in the UFS Membership Manual.


4.0 Chapter Roles

4.1 Commanding Officer (CO)

This is your role. You should run the day-to-day business of your Chapter. You are the chief spokesperson for your group, maintain order and function, and are responsible for the execution of UFS policy and any orders. Your primary responsibility is for all monthly reports and being answerable to UFS for the overall performance of the Chapter. You are responsible for keeping all records pertaining to the Chapter, and are also legally responsible for the Chapter’s funds, if applicable.

4.2 Executive Officer (XO)

The Executive Officer, also referred to as the First Officer, is the right-hand person to the Commanding Officer. As mentioned already, this is a key appointment and you need to be sure you have chosen the right person to fulfill this role. The XO implements and carries out directives, and serves as second-in-command of the Chapter, with the same responsibilities as the Commanding Officer in their absence.

4.3 Second Officer (SO)

The Second Officer is not a required role. The decision as to whether you have someone fulfill this duty is up to each Chapter. However, an SO serves as Chapter Commander in the absence of the CO and XO. The Chapter should define any other duties of this role.

4.4 Department Heads

The number of Divisions/Departments, and thus Division Chiefs/Department Heads, is up to you and your crew. However, it is not necessarily good to have the majority of your crew as Chiefs. In such a case, those members who aren’t may feel unimportant and left out.

4.5 General Membership

This is your lifeblood. Without members you have no Chapter...never forget this! Involve them, listen to their suggestions, implement them if they warrant it, and make them feel loved.

We recommend that all members of your crew become members of UFS. This is of course not imperative, but remember that any non-UFS members do not count towards your minimum 10-member compliment.


5.0 Sector Command

Sector Command is basically an extension of the Office of the UFS Chief of Operations, but on a more regional scale. Each Sector Commander oversees and assists all of the Chapters in a certain geographical (or virtual) region and reports this information through the Sector MSR. In other words they are your first "line of defense" when it comes to questions, comments, or concerns about UFS or your Chapter.

The primary purpose of the Sector Commander is to make a clear chain of command. Without a chain of command, UFS Command will be literally overrun with questions, comments, and concerns that could be handled by other people more effectively.

For more information regarding Sector Commander duties, please read the Sector Commander Manual.

Endnote

It is our hope that you have found this manual to be useful to your development as a Chapter Commanding Officer. Any questions should be submitted to your Sector Commander or Mentor CO. We look forward to working with you in the future.