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Chief Petty Officer (CPO) is the seventh enlisted rate in Starfleet, ranking above Petty Officer First Class and below Senior Chief Petty Officer, and is a non-commissioned officer. They are referred to as Senior Chief in most circumstances. The rank insignia is a grey plate with three chevrons and one dot.
Unlike Petty Officer First Class and lower ranks, advancement to Chief Petty Officer not only carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and speciality examinations, but also carries an added requirement of peer review. A Chief Petty Officer can only advance after review by a selection board of serving Senior and Master Chief Petty Officers, in effect "choosing their own" and conversely not choosing others.
Advancement into the Chief Petty Officer grades is the most significant promotion within the enlisted naval ranks. At the rank of Chief, the crewman takes on more administrative duties. Crewmen in the three Chief Petty Officer ranks also have conspicuous privileges such as separate dining and living areas. Any naval vessel of sufficient size has a room or rooms that are off-limits to anyone not a Chief (including officers) except by specific invitation (if one is invited to eat in the Chief's Mess, it is customary to eat everything on the plate no matter what condiments are added by members of the Chief's Mess to enhance one's dining experience). In Navy jargon, this room is called the Chief's Mess, or tongue in cheek, the "goat locker." In addition, a Chief Petty Officer, no matter how much he was on "first name" basis with other petty officers before promotion, is always addressed as "Chief" by subordinates and superiors.
Chief Petty Officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with the emphasis being more on leadership as they progress through the CPO ranks. A recognized, collateral duty for all Chiefs is the training of Junior Officers.
|United Federation Starfleet Enlisted Ranks|
|Crewman Recruit||Crewman Apprentice||Crewman||Petty Officer Third Class||Petty Officer Second Class||Petty Officer First Class||Chief Petty Officer||Senior Chief Petty Officer||Master Chief Petty Officer|
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