(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.
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.
Avocado green was 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|
|2250s-2260s||Mid 2260s-Early 2270s||Mid 2270s||Late 2270s-2350s|
|Command dress||Helm and Navigation||Navigation|
|2350s-2370s||Late 2360s-Early 2370s||2370s-|
Background information Edit
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.
During the original series, command was regularly worn by the captains, admirals, helm, and navigation officers, but was also seen on phaser room ordnance crews, with some exceptions. In Where No Man Has Gone Before both the Helm and Navigator wore Operations division colors (Peach). Communications Officer Uhura briefly wore command avocado green, as did Executive Officer Spock, but they switched over to other department colors over the course of the series.
In the movie, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Saavik wore command white despite having a dual position as science specialist on the U.S.S. Grissom. 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. The schemes and insignia of the Star Trek films era uniforms were designed by Robert Fletcher.
The purpose of the colors was only obvious through inference, but in DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", the so-called "gold" was retconned through 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".
Most often, in the Federation Starfleet, all captains and admirals wore command division colors; however there were exceptions which prove this was not a requirement. In TOS, two commodores, Stone and Stocker, wore red operations division uniforms, and Captain Krasnovsky wore sciences division uniforms. In the movie era, Scotty switched back and forth from command white to operations mustard yellow after receiving his captain's bars. In TNG era productions, DS9: "The Die is Cast" had an admiral named Toddman wore operations division mustard yellow, despite every other Starfleet captain and admiral ever seen in this era wearing command colors.