Guy Hunt/Current Posting

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Helm-Communications- Operations

Main Responsibilities: Piloting and navigation of the vessel, scheduling of all major resources between departments eg Deflector dish, reserving of holodecks etc, co-ordination of away missions, monitoring of the ships communications

Other Responsibilities: Navigation references/course plotting, supervision of automatic flight operations, manual flight operations, position verification, and bridge liaison to engineering department. Sending and receiving distress signals, locating important people on or off the ship, sending and receiving: Ship to ground, ship to ship, and ship to StarBase communications.

The HCO Officer is responsible for all flight control operations of the ship. He/she is also responsible for co-ordinating ship activities in such a manner so as not to overload or oversubscribe any particular system/resource. The HCO Officer also monitors the away team(s) status when not onboard the ship. The HCO Officer also handles all communications both to and from the ship.

Notes: Even though most of the functions in flight are automated, a human officer is needed to oversee these operations and sometimes, make changes. During impulse powered flight, the HCO Officer is responsible for monitoring inertial dampening systems and relativistic effects. In the event of overload in a specific flight operation, the computer will request a change in the manoeuvre. The HCO Officer must then bring the plans into the inertial dampening perimeters for safety. During alert situations the HCO Officer is permitted to specify manoeuvres that are possibly dangerous to the crew of spacecraft.

Many shipboard operations involve scheduling resources or hardware (such as power or the use of sensors) that affect a number of departments. In many such cases, it is common for various operations to present conflicting requirements. It is the responsibility of the Operations Management Officer (normally referred to as the Operations Manager or Ops) to coordinate such activities so that mission goals are not jeopardized. Having a crew member in this decision-making loop is or crucial importance because of the wide range of unpredictable situations with which a starship must deal.

The Ops panels present the Operations Manager with a continually updated list of current major shipboard activities. This list permits Ops to set priorities and allocate resources among current operations. This is especially critical in cases where two or more requests require the use of the same equipment, entail mutually exclusive mission profiles, or involve some unusual safety or tactical considerations.

An example might be a situation where the Stellar Physics department is conducting an experiment using the lateral sensor array to study a nearby binary star. Simultaneously, part of the same array is being time-shared with a long-range cometary population survey. A request from the bridge for a priority scan of a planetary system might jeopardize both studies unless Ops authorizes a minor change in attitude, permitting the Stellar Physics observations to use the upper sensor array. Alternately, Ops may weigh the option of placing one of the ongoing studies on a lower priority to provide the bridge with immediate use of the lateral array.

Most routine scheduling and resource allocation is done automatically by the Ops program. This frees the Operations Manager from routine activity, leaving him/her able to concentrate on decisions beyond the scope of the artificial intelligence software. The level of these decision filter programs can be set by the Operations Manager, and also varies with the current Alert status of the ship.

In cases where priorities are ambiguous or where specific Ops approval is required, the panels will display a menu of the most probable options for action. In virtually all cases, the Operations Manager also has the ability to input choices beyond those presented by the action menus. This is important because it is impossible for mission planners to anticipate every possible situation. Action menus may be displayed for any current activity even those which would normally be handled automatically upon keyboard request from Ops.

During crisis situations and Reduced Power Mode operations, Ops is responsible for supervision of power allocation in coordination with the Engineering department. Load shedding of nonessential power usage in such situations is based on spacecraft survival factors and mission priorities.

The Operations Manager is also responsible for providing general status information to the main computer, which is then made available to all departments and personnel. Ops routes specific information to specific departments to inform them of anticipated changes and requirements that may affect their operations.

An example is a scenario where an Away Team is to be sent on a mission to a planetary surface. Typical Ops responsibilities might include

Notification of Away Team personnel of the assignment and providing said personnel with mission objective information. When Away Team personnel are drawn from operational departments, Ops will sometimes coordinate to provide cross-trained replacement personnel from other departments.

Coordination with Mission Ops for assignment of comm relay frequencies and preparations to monitor Away Team tricorder telemetry.

Notification for issuance of tricorders, phasers, environmental gear, and other mission specific equipment.

Assignment of personnel transporter room to handle transport operations, as well as the assignment of a transporter chief to the mission. If available, Ops will also provide transport coordinates to the transporter chief.

Notification of Engineering to prepare for power allocation for transporter operations, as well as deflector shield shutdown, if necessary.

Such notifications are generally accomplished automatically without the need for active intervention by Ops. However, because preprogrammed functions cannot be expected to anticipate all possible situations, Ops is responsible for monitoring all such coordination activity and for taking additional action as necessary. Such flexibility is particularly important during alert and crisis scenarios, during which unpredictable and unplanned conditions must frequently be dealt with.