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The rank system of the Klingon Defense Force provided a hierarchy and chain of command for Klingon warriors and officers.

Should the an officer become weak and unable to perform their duties, it was expected of the next in line to assassinate them to ensure an "honorable retirement," such as a first officer killing a commanding officer, or a second officer killing the first officer. By the 2360s, the system had been considered successful for centuries, though was noticably different from Starfleet's approach. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor")

Fleet admiral

An admiral in 2154

During the 22nd century, the rank of fleet admiral existed, and was sometimes shortened to "admiral". This rank was indicated to be superior to that of a general. (ENT: "Divergence")


General

General Korrd with his various medals

Generals were flag officers who fulfilled roles ranging from the commanding officer of a warship, to a diplomat, to a supreme commander of a fleet, to a chief of staff. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")


Brigadier

A brigadier in 2293

A brigadier was a high ranking official who could handle the position of military advisor to the Chancellor, and could speak on behalf of the High Command. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)


Colonel

A colonel in 2293

Colonel was high ranking position that could fulfill the role of advocate or serve as a diplomat.


Captain

A captain in 2365

Captains in the Klingon Defense Force commanded individual warships of all classes.

Korris, by his own admission was "Captain of the Klingon Defense Force," but was also referred to as "Commander Korris" by Starfleet in TNG: "Heart of Glory".

Commander

A commander in 2267

Commanders in the Klingon Defense Force commanded individual ships of all classes of warship. An individual holding the rank of commander could also hold the position of military governor. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

While Kor was a commander by his own admission, he was also referred to as a "Captain Kor" by several non-Klingons in TAS: "The Time Trap".

Lieutenant

A lieutenant in 2365

Lieutenant was a junior officer rank aboard warships.

On a Bird-of-Prey, a lieutenant could hold the position of second officer. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor")

When confronted by an inquisitive lieutenant aboard the IKS Drovana during an infiltration operation, Lieutenant Commander Worf – who was posing as Commander Sorval – rebuffed his line of questioning by stating, "I will not be questioned by a lieutenant who should be cleaning my quarters." (DS9: "Sons of Mogh")

Sergeant

A sergeant in 2285


Bekk

A bekk in 2374

Bekk was an enlisted rank that was also commonly referred to as a "warrior." It was the lowest rank in the Klingon Defense Force. (DS9: "Sons and Daughters")

The script for "Sons and Daughters" indicates bekk to be the equivilent to crewman. [1]


Appendix

Background information

This rank system combined army ranks (general, brigadier, colonel, and possibly captain and lieutenant) with navy terminology (ship captains, commanders, and lieutenants).

The Klingon Dictionary translates the ranks of cadet (mangHom), ensign (lagh), sergeant (bu'), lieutenant (Sogh), commander (la'; ra'wI), captain (HoD), commodore (totlh), brigadier ('ech), general (Sa'), and admiral ('aj). (pp. 81, 123, 125, 134, 186-189)

The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Journal (p. 79) suggests the two emblems on the Klingon Defense Force uniform collar are rank insignia, though their use on screen has not necessarily been consistent.

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