Starfleet is the deep-space exploratory and military service of the Federation. It's principle functions are the advancement of Federation knowledge of science, technology, and the galaxy. It is also charged with the defense of the Federation against all enemies, foreign or domestic. Being in contact with many non-Federation cultures, it serves a significant diplomatic role as well, with many vessels regularly transporting Ambassadors to various worlds.
Starfleet incorporates elements of each Federation's founding members' space-faring agencies.
Its primary training facility, Starfleet Academy, is based out of San Francisco as well, but also maintains other facilities on different Federation member worlds. Starfleet Academy is headed by a superintendent, the position is normally assigned to a Rear Admiral.
Starfleet missions are regulated by Starfleet Command, which in turn answers to the Federation Council and is bound by its "General Orders and Regulations". Every new member's military will be incorporated within the organization. Starfleet is organized into several branches and positions, overseeing specific aspects of the fleet in different departments, which helps to preserve the chain of command.
The highest position within Starfleet is the Commander in Chief, head of Starfleet Command, usually assigned to a Fleet Admiral, who reports directly to the Federation President. Those in command of the various sectors, usually Vice Admirals, report directly to the C-in-C, just like the Chief of Staff does, a position held by an Admiral. The various branches are normally headed each by a Department Commander, who is usually a Vice Admiral and reports to the Chief of Staff. The Chief of Departments, positions normally held by Rear Admirals, in turn report to the Department Commander.
Commanding Officers of starbases and starships are usually ranked Commander through Admiral. They are in direct charge of their assigned starship or starbase and report to the Commanding Officer of their sector. Below them is the Executive Officer, usually a Lieutenant Commander or higher, and then the individual Department Heads for each section of the ship or facility.
- Memory Alpha, "Starfleet" []