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Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-02 11:39pm
by Master Six
We've only seen two doctors take the bridge, and only Crusher was formally qualified to take the bridge.

Is it only a matter of rank and whether they have enough bridge hours, or do they also try to keep the CMO (and all other doctors) out of harm's way by putting them low on the list?

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 05:56am
by Lord Revan
Master Six wrote:
2018-10-02 11:39pm
We've only seen two doctors take the bridge, and only Crusher was formally qualified to take the bridge.

Is it only a matter of rank and whether they have enough bridge hours, or do they also try to keep the CMO (and all other doctors) out of harm's way by putting them low on the list?
It's less about keeping the CMO out of harms way and more about avoiding conflict of interest. The Chief Medical Officer is the only person who can relive the captain from duty (due to medical reason but still) and SFHQ wants to avoid accusation that the CMO made the captain step down to get him/her self to the big seat.

BTW Crusher is a commander, McCoy was a Lieutenant Commander during TOS, Bashir was a Lieutenant, Phlox was a civilian, Culber is a Lieutenant Commander and the Doctor is a SF AI and therefore has no formal rank. All who wouldn't have the rank to take command are Phlox and possibly the Doctor.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 08:12am
by Q99
A Doctor can gain command rank, but usually don't, I'd think. They're usually in the chain of command, especially in larger ships where they're running a department.

Future Crusher gains her own ship command.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 11:44am
by B5B7
In real world navies CMOs are often commanders , but they are NEVER in the chain of command.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 12:13pm
by Eternal_Freedom
There was mention of Crusher having taken the Bridge Officer's exam, and Troi was able to as well (gah). Presumably it's a case of whether the CMO wants to, and if they pass it then they can be in the chain of command - presumably this is how Scotty and Geordi were able to take command at various points (including a full Captaincy in a future timeline for la Forge).

I would imagine that if the CMO is qualified then they can be included in the chain of command at the Captain's discretion - most likely below lower-ranked but command-line officers.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 02:34pm
by Lord Revan
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-10-03 12:13pm
There was mention of Crusher having taken the Bridge Officer's exam, and Troi was able to as well (gah). Presumably it's a case of whether the CMO wants to, and if they pass it then they can be in the chain of command - presumably this is how Scotty and Geordi were able to take command at various points (including a full Captaincy in a future timeline for la Forge).

I would imagine that if the CMO is qualified then they can be included in the chain of command at the Captain's discretion - most likely below lower-ranked but command-line officers.
I assume that certain branches would have to pass the "bridge officer's exam" to get to the higher ranks, while a medical officer might able to get to admiral without even taking it.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 02:39pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Indeed. Good old Bones would be a good example of the latter, as IIRC he made Admiral while never being a line officer.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 03:13pm
by Batman
We know that Bones made Admiral. We have no idea how he did it far as I can tell. I don't recall any details of his career between TOS and TNG ever being mentioned, one way or the other.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 03:19pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Fair point.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 05:47pm
by Elheru Aran
Presumably Bones made Admiral mostly by virtue of seniority; IIRC he wasn't referred to as "Admiral McCoy" until TNG, so it was in the course of normal upward movement through rank, not for any particular exceptional reason.

Crusher's captaincy was of a medical/scientific ship, specificially; so presumably Starfleet in the alt-future Q envisioned had expanded enough to have such single-purpose ships, and it makes some sense for the head of such a craft to also be the top medical staffer aboard.

I want to say there was at least one or two episodes in TNG where they left Crusher in charge on the ship while Picard and Riker both went on away missions, something along those lines, but I haven't watched enough (and it's been awhile) to really say.

For my input to the chain of command question: I have no issue with the CMO being separate from the chain of command, but part of it if he/she/it does qualify. And of course there's always the dramatic ability to remove officers for medical reasons, which having a certain degree of rank does make easier-- wouldn't look the best if a LTJG CMO busted an Admiral, even if it was for completely good reasons.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 05:54pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Descent is the TNG episode you're referring to I believe. There have been another option but I can't recall any directly.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 06:09pm
by Batman
You believe correctly.
Descent I and II had Crusher in command because most of the crew including the command staff were planetside looking for Data

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 06:44pm
by Crazedwraith
Crusher and LaForge both have the rank to command but no formal place in the line of succession as it were. (Crusher even less so than LaForge probably)

In Gambit when Picard/Riker are absent, Data is acting Captain with Worf, only a senior lieutenant is his XO. I've forgotten who he suggests could replace Worf is that doesn't work out though.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-03 07:51pm
by Lord Revan
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-10-03 05:47pm
Presumably Bones made Admiral mostly by virtue of seniority; IIRC he wasn't referred to as "Admiral McCoy" until TNG, so it was in the course of normal upward movement through rank, not for any particular exceptional reason.

Crusher's captaincy was of a medical/scientific ship, specificially; so presumably Starfleet in the alt-future Q envisioned had expanded enough to have such single-purpose ships, and it makes some sense for the head of such a craft to also be the top medical staffer aboard.

I want to say there was at least one or two episodes in TNG where they left Crusher in charge on the ship while Picard and Riker both went on away missions, something along those lines, but I haven't watched enough (and it's been awhile) to really say.

For my input to the chain of command question: I have no issue with the CMO being separate from the chain of command, but part of it if he/she/it does qualify. And of course there's always the dramatic ability to remove officers for medical reasons, which having a certain degree of rank does make easier-- wouldn't look the best if a LTJG CMO busted an Admiral, even if it was for completely good reasons.
That "wouldn't look the best if a LtJg CMO busted an admiral" is why in real life (at least in the finnish defense force when I was serving) all doctors were automatically officers.

I suspect that specialist roles might have ranks given for expertise in that role rather then military prestige, so a CMO of a major starship could be a lt. commander or a full commander but that rank was given due being a experienced doctor and they would have to qualify for "command roles" seperately.

As for Medical ship, honestly I wouldn't be at all surpriced if SF had specialized hospital ships to respond to crisis but we just don't normally see those as we aren't in places those ships would be used in.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-04 11:43pm
by Agent Fisher
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-10-03 07:51pm
As for Medical ship, honestly I wouldn't be at all surpriced if SF had specialized hospital ships to respond to crisis but we just don't normally see those as we aren't in places those ships would be used in.
In DS9, Bashir heads to Romulus for a medical summit during the Dominion War, one of the topics was goign to be to decide wether to transfer 25 hospital ships to the Romulan Fleet, so I'm guessing they have quite a number of hospital ships.

Re: Where does the CMO rank in the chain of command?

Posted: 2018-10-05 12:36am
by FaxModem1
Agent Fisher wrote:
2018-10-04 11:43pm
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-10-03 07:51pm
As for Medical ship, honestly I wouldn't be at all surpriced if SF had specialized hospital ships to respond to crisis but we just don't normally see those as we aren't in places those ships would be used in.
In DS9, Bashir heads to Romulus for a medical summit during the Dominion War, one of the topics was goign to be to decide wether to transfer 25 hospital ships to the Romulan Fleet, so I'm guessing they have quite a number of hospital ships.
Makes sense, the US Navy has had a number of them in their fleet. It only makes sense, especially with the amount of relief missions that Starfleet does, that they have them as well.