Flag rank is a term used to describe an officer who has broad powers to negotiate, interpret his orders and generally use his judgement in pursuing the goals of his sponsoring force.
This term is taken from the Age of Sail, where, in a squadron, the ship with the Admiral on it would raise his personal flag, making that ship the Admiral's Flagship.
In battle this would mean that directives coming from the Flag Ship had the precidence and force of orders.
In our useage, a Flag Officer is someone empowered to command a group of starships and the resources of a sector or regional command. He is trusted to take personal command of resolving a crises, ending an emergency or taking steps to end hostilities with an enemy. He is also entitled to negotiate treaties and meet with foreign diplomats and government officials to pursue the Federation's goals of peace.
Flag Ranks are:
- O-6 - Captain (Four Solid Pips
- O-7a - Fleet Captain (Four Solid Pips and a Hollow)
- O-7b - Commodore (Five Solid Pips)
- O-8 - Rear Admiral (One Star)
- O-9 - Vice Admiral (Two Stars}
- O-10 - Admiral (Three Stars)
- O-11 - Fleet Admiral (Four Stars)
- O-12 - Admiral of Starfleet (Five Stars) Note -
Note - the Five Star "Admiral of Starfleet" rank is intended to allow the Federation council to name one being to command all of Starfleet during times of war or horrible crises. It has not yet beeen issued.