At its core, Starfleet Intelligence is similar to the more famous intelligence agencies of the past such as the CIA, KGB and MI6 (or SIS). The role of Starfleet Intelligence (SFI) is to provide the Federation with a galactic covert capability to promote and defend the security and well-being of the Federation and its member worlds.
Hierarchically, Starfleet Intelligence maintains a central headquarters on Earth, where senior officers oversee the broad Intelligence mission. The vast majority of Intelligence work, however, is done by the field units, found throughout the Federation. Many field units may be grouped together into a taskforce.
Ultimately, an Intelligence unit is made up of a number of different sections, all with section leaders who report to their Unit Director, who in turn reports to any applicable Taskforce Head, who in turn reports to their designated contact at Intel HQ. A Director may also be required to pass on relevant mission related data to the ranking StarFleet Officer (who in turn reports to their Flag Officer) at their local site. While the work that SFI does is generally inclusive, the end result can have far reaching consequences.
Whether on a starbase, a planet, or on a starship, the structure of an Intelligence Division remains the same.
- Intelligence Officer: at the bottom of the totem pole, is the Intelligence Officer. The Intelligence Officer is the bare-bones of any intelligence operation, specializing in either communications intelligence, sentient intelligence, or intelligence analysis.
- A Communications Intelligence Operator: (or COMINT for short) would be stationed at the operational command centre, receiving and interpreting intelligence and relaying it to his or her section leader.
- The Sentient Intelligence Operator: (or SENINT for short) is generally the person gathering intelligence in the field or providing overwatch for security and other intelligence operators; this position entails: the collection of intelligence from behind enemy lines through interpersonal contact, counter-intelligence, and infiltration and extraction
- An Intelligence Analyst: is an officer who receives intelligence from COMINT or SENINT sources and extracts the information containing operational relevance in order to formulate a plan of action, or to predict future events. Intelligence analysts are the unit’s professionals whose research, analysis, and presentation of findings provide the most complete possible intelligence picture.
- Chief Intelligence Officer: The CIO is the officer in charge of all Intelligence personnel on board a ship. He or she oversees all Intelligence operations on board the ship and relays them to the CO and any other superiors. This position has less administrative work involved than a position such as Section Leader, as the CIO is commonly in direct oversight of shipboard Intelligence Operations.
- Section Leader: The senior most Intelligence Officers on board a ship or station and report according to the chain of command. Their job is to receive either raw information from COMINT or SENINT sources, or to receive intelligence reports and analysis from analysts. The Section Leader then relays this information to the Commanding Officer, or Operation Commander, depending on the location and context, according to need and chain of command.
- Deputy Director: A Deputy Director can be assigned to a starship but is usually assigned to a major starbase or on a planet. The Deputy Director is responsible for all Intelligence Operations in an area of space, usually limited to one sector. The Deputy Director reports to the Director or the Commanding Officer of that installation.
- Director: A Director is a 'Chief' position aboard an installation or, in some cases, starship. All intelligence activities for that ship or sector are reported to the Director, who in turn, reports to the Executive Officer of the installation to which they are assigned.
- Deputy Chief of Intelligence: A Deputy Chief is the next in line to the Chief of Intelligence, and is usually in charge of all the administrative duties at Starfleet Headquarters. (Not a playable position).
- Chief of Intelligence: At the very top of the Intelligence totem pole is the Chief of Intelligence. He or she is ultimately in charge of Intelligence Operations throughout all of Federation space and beyond. The Chief of Intelligence reports directly to the Commander, Starfleet and the President of the UFoP. (Not a playable position).
The purpose of Starfleet Intelligence is to gather accurate and up-to-date information on threats both foreign and domestic, which can be turned into usable intelligence for all branches of Starfleet.
While most Starfleet Intelligence operations occur under the normal chain of command, there are more specialized divisions for specific tasks.
- Organized Crime: Organized crime represents a menace to Federation society; it exploits the needs of the disadvantaged and provides illicit services and exorbitant cost. The most famous example of this, is the Orion Syndicate whose illegal operations include gambling, racketeering, smuggling, piracy, slave-trading, extortion, and assassination. The Organized Crime Division is comprised of dedicated Starfleet Intelligence Officers who are committed to the extermination of this menace from Federation society.
- Counterintelligence: While Starfleet Intelligence is a highly effective intelligence service, it should not be forgotten that many other nations have their own intelligence services. The Counterintelligence division's purpose is to prevent hostile intelligence organizations from gathering and collecting intelligence against the Federation.
- Internal Affairs: The Internal Affairs Division investigates incidents involving misconduct of Officers.
- Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Security are two very intertwined entities. The mandate of both organizations includes maintaining the safety and security of Starfleet, its ships, facilities and installations as well as its personnel. Starfleet Intelligence officers are frequently involved in Starfleet Security operations.
- Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Marines often work together in various capacities, with marines sometimes assisting in the more forceful end of a Starfleet Intelligence operation.
- A civilian law enforcement agency, Federation Security provides very similar services to non-Starfleet Federation vessels and facilities that Starfleet Intelligence provides to naval vessels and facilities.