(covers information from several alternate timelines)
The command division was the corps of officers and crewmen within Starfleet who specialized in command and control functions on starbases, aboard starships, and at Starfleet Command. Members of the command division were trained in leadership and had tactical training allowing them to decisively take action in organizing and mobilizing Starfleet crews to perform missions. Command officers included most all of the admiralty, captains, executive officers, adjutants, pilots, and flight controller (or helmsman). Command division personnel also filled posts as tactical officers and sometimes in ordnance departments. Those in this division were also considered to be among Starfleet's "supervisory personnel". (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")
An officer who belonged to the command division sometimes wore the division color of another department in which they specialized if said command officer became a security chief, engineer, or commanded a science department.
Gold was again the color of the command division throughout the 2250s and 2260s, worn by line officers and flag officers of this division. Officers in the command division wore a five-pointed star with a lengthened upper point as an insignia on their assignment patch.
By the 2270s, new uniforms showed different division colors, the command division was signified by white backing their Starfleet badge, and also on uniform bands and epaulets. This continued onto the 2280s uniforms, and the insignia used gave the officer the option of wearing command division white uniform insignia, with another department color banded across, or the opposite, with department color insignia with command white banded across.
By the uniforms used from 2350s onward, red had become the command division color, and this continued through several uniform styles.
Individuals from several possible futures, and some that have been proven to be alternate timelines, continued to wear red when in the command division, but by the 29th century, several timelines had switched the command color to blue.
|Starfleet uniform command division colors:|
|2140s-Early 2160s||Mid 2160s||2230s||AR 2250s-2260s|
|Late 2230s-2250s||2250s-Early 2270s||Mid 2270s|
|Command dress||Helm and Navigation|
|Late 2270s-2350s||2350s-2370s||Late 2360s-Early 2370s||2370s-|
The Original Series
Once fully established during The Original Series, command gold was regularly worn by those in positions of higher authority, such as ship captains, commodores and admirals, however, evidence suggests that this was not a requirement for holding a command position. In the first case, starbase commodores Stone and Stocker both wore operations division uniforms, yet this exception seem to exclude commodore Mendez. The second case was that of Captain Krasnovsky, a starship captain who wore a sciences division uniform.
The helm and navigation officers typically belonged to the command division, as was the case in "The Cage", however, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the positions were held by operations officers, before returning primarily back to the command division once again.
The communications officer, which began as operations division, was briefly held by officers in the command division, namely John Farrell and (briefly) Uhura, before returning to the operations division.
Number One in "The Cage" and Spock in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" both served in the command division as first officer, before he switched back to the sciences division for the duration of the series (the same color he wore in the first pilot).
The work coveralls worn by technicians were originally muted variations on the division colors with the command division being represented by olive green, then later matching the duty uniforms. This coincides with the actual color of TOS which was lime green and only appeared gold under the lights.(citation needed • edit)
The purpose of the colors was only obvious through inference, but in DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", gold was established in dialogue as the "old" style command color (and red as the "new" command color). The decision to switch the meaning of the colors between the TOS and TNG uniform styles was made in pre-production of "Encounter at Farpoint".
The film era
Command division includes both line and staff officers and all personnel, both enlisted and commissioned of the following corps:
- General Accounting
- Pay Masters
- Budget Analysis
- Logistic Support
- Store Keepers
- Supdy [sic] analysis
- Technological Support
- Basic Research
- Planetary Facilities
- Strategy + Tactics
- Requirements + Plans
- Exploration + Survey
- Inspector General
- Planetary Relations
- Fleet Archives + Records
- Fleet Academy (See Div. 7)
In the post-TMP movie era, several costume gaffes appeared. Saavik wore command white despite having a dual position as science specialist (as did Spock, but he was a captain at this point). The costume department had planned to give her uniform a science department color swatch also, but in an error, it was never seen on film.(citation needed • edit) Also, Scott jumped from command white to engineering gold after receiving his captain's bars (ironically, he effectively used them in the "wrong" scenarios, wearing gold with his formal duty tunic but white with the more casual bomber jacket and engineering vest).
During the course of The Next Generation, command level officers regularly wore red uniforms, however, again another exceptional case would appear in DS9: "The Die is Cast", where Admiral Toddman wore an operations uniform, the only such command level officer to do so.
Captain Braxton wore blue in VOY: "Future's End, Part II" and "Relativity", but an alternate version of him in ""Future's End"" wore red – indicating that Starfleet never changed the command color in that version.