BuShips:CO Manual/Operations/Chain of Command

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Chain of Command

The chain of command is used in the military to designate the proper route of escalation when it comes to issues, concerns, problems, and even ideas. The Royal Manticoran Navy Fan Association, with a few exceptions, has adopted a similar policy of creating and utilizing the chain of command in order to prevent over-tasking of club, bureau, fleet, and chapter leadership. With over six thousand members, messages could easily clog the inboxes of higher echelon leadership, so it is important that you and your crew understand the principles and practice behind the chain of command. All members of TRMN are required to follow the proper chain of command to the best of their abilities, as laid out in Admiralty Order 1503-02.

WIthin the Chapter

The chapter chain of command keeps tasking manageable for the chapter CO and is as follows:

Member → Bosun → Executive Officer (XO) → Commanding Officer (CO, you)

In addition to delegating some of the decision making to the XO and Bosun, you can include Department and Division heads if the chapter is large enough. Such a chain of command could look like this:

Member → Division Head → Department Head → (Bosun) XO → CO

As you can see there are opportunities for the Bosun to handle a situation, or decide to escalate it to the XO, then the same with the Executive Officer to the Commanding Officer. The only difference with department heads is there are extra steps, and sometimes, if the issue is being brought up by an officer, the Bosun is bypassed. This escalation process provides opportunities for solutions before involving chapter leadership, as well as offering experience to the Bosun and XO, in case someday they end up taking command of a chapter.

Beyond the Chapter

Resolutions should occur at the lowest possible level to prevent over-tasking of high echelon leadership - we are all volunteers and the higher levels of leadership already have more demands of their time from the organization, hence the chain of command. Members need to go through their CO when an issue needs escalation higher than the chapter whenever possible. Crew contacting a Fleet CO directly via any means other than general fleet announcements could be considered inappropriate. As CO, you are requested to start at the next higher echelon from you and if that particular level cannot assist, then move to the next level.

When a particular echelon leadership cannot answer your question, you may either have them bring it to the next level, or you may continue the communication via email. Send the original email to the next leadership authority, along with the level you already addressed in the CC line of the email. That way, it lets the next level know you’ve already addressed the previous rung, and the subject has been escalated up from there. This will also help you keep track of the process, and be able to show you used the chain of command available to you.

Keep in mind that the chain of command, in most cases, works both ways. Your fleet CO may give you information to pass down onto your crew rather than contacting crews of chapters directly.

Escalation Policy

As previously stated, members should follow the rungs of the ladder when it comes to the escalation of a problem or concern. Admiralty Order 1503-02 clearly lays out the structure behind following the chain of command. This method has been known to work well, both in the real-world military and in the organization. However, there are some instances where it will be appropriate, and perhaps necessary to skip certain links.

There are times where the member may have a personal issue, or an issue directly pertaining to the chapter Bosun, XO, or CO. This is one of the rare occasions where a particular rung, or even several rungs, can be bypassed directly. Let’s say the member has had issues with not being promoted on time. They have all the time in grade (TIG), promotion points, have completed the requisite coursework, and have been waiting to be promoted to Petty Officer First Class for an unreasonable amount of time past Time in Grade. If they have asked the CO several times to no avail, they can talk to the Bosun, who may help the member skip the XO and CO to go right to the Fleet CO in order to address this issue. This is an unfortunate, but rare occurrence in the club. The escalation policy helps to make certain there are always solutions when things like this happen.