On awards, I have to agree with Jemel. Their original intention was to compensate for rank attrition: it was an unspoken “we know you deserve recognition, but we can’t promote you accordingly”. Lower awards would be given in a smaller ceremony for each crew alone, and higher ones (think DSM and above) would be handed out by an admiral to try and make it more special. The original draft covered many mechanics that were never implemented, although I feel it’s better as it is.
Most nominations nowadays come from people requesting a clearly defined, non-subjective award (lenght of service, being DO, your ship getting
Allard’ed mined), from ONI (certain contributions to the storyline getting ribbons), or from various seniors who had a subordinate performing great or doing a specific piece of heroics.
Now, I have to agree on this one: most of us, that is, everyone who isn’t ONI (and I have no idea of their inner workings, so I can’t talk for them) has no idea how long the campaign is gonna last. So, for us, our list “to be discussed and awarded towards the end of the campaign” is SOP, but not a guarantee of any sort. We know there’s stuff we need to improve in the award system (there are plans in place, or at least there were some months ago). But there’s a reality as well: periodically the award system experiences a revival that lasts for a month, then gets forgotten, then someone brings it back up, and so on. We’re all part of this issue, but if we are to keep this system running at peak efficiency we need imput from the crews: you have the right to request an award for someone, and some of us feel it’s better when you do. That way it isn’t just us deciding who deserves recognition and who doesn’t: it’s from the crews and for the crews.
Now, for the levels system. I have to go with Matsiyan here. Adding rigid, officialy-sanctioned recognition for multiple levels of expertise, other then specialist pins, is a risky move, because it prevents us from aknowledging expertise gained out of character. I’ll give an example: one of the most promising scicomms officer in the division is Ensign Slate. She worked with me both here and in the USN, and she’s one of three people in this group that I trust wholeheartedly on scicomms. Yet, she’s an ensign, and there’s no fair way to work around that. I don’t think that she or anybody else here should enjoy preferential treatment, so she won’t be receiving magically-granted double promotions to make her a full lt because I think she’s good, but she gets my trust, because I know for myself how she works. If we implement a level system, we’re stuck with two options: the levels are given with a standarized test (which I think is downright dreadful), or because of observation. If so, it becomes a secondary rank in which we are also bound to treat movements with kid gloves out of respect for the effort it took for the others to get there, effectively slowing down advancement of competent people on something there’s just no reason to. If we go with tests, the officers that end up with higher levels aren’t the ones who know their jobs, but the ones who know the book (or just have it sitting next to them). I don’t think either is acceptable.
Also, I don’t think that making command seniority dynamic would impact the interactions with the crews, mostly because Captain A, Captain B and Captain C, no matter how they’re called or ranked among captains, are all captains. It’d just be an internal mechanic for command officers to shuffle around and minimize the impact of issues we’ve been experiencing.