Starfleet was founded in 2161 under the Articles of Federation ratified in that year by Earth, Vulcan, Alpha Centauri, Andoria, and Tellar. Due to the recent end of the Earth-Romulan War, at the time the military forces of Earth were the largest and most-advanced of the five original signatories, and it was decided that Starfleet Command would be formed along the lines of the Terran’s Space Navy. Therefore, Fleet Headquarters was located in San Francisco on Earth, home of the Terran Space Navy. However Starfleet Command maintains facilities throughout the Federation.

The charter of Starfleet is to serve as the exploratory, diplomatic and defensive agency for the United Federation of Planets. When formed in 2161, Starfleet integrated the various military forces of Earth, Andoria and Tellar. The introduction of the Daedalus class in 2161 marked the first class commissioned and operated under the auspices of the UFP.

Starfleet is headed by the Secretary of Starfleet, who serves on the cabinet of the President of the United Federation of Planets. The Secretary is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Federation General Assembly. The Secretary of Starfleet oversees the civilian bureaucracy of Starfleet as well as ensuring civilian control over the operating forces of the fleet.

Day-to-day control over the Operating forces of the Fleet is handled the Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet. Nominated by the President and confirmed by the Federation Security Council, the CinC is the senior most military officer and holds the rank of Fleet Admiral. Starfleet Operational Forces are delegated across three lines – The Chief of Starfleet Operations, The Chief of Starfleet Communications and the Commandant of Starfleet Academy. Of these three Starfleet Operations is by far the largest.