Fleet Admiral Smith had campaigned on reducing the membership rate from $10.00 to $8.00, which he promptly did. He also instituted recruitment drives to try to triple or even quadruple the 1400 members Fleet had when he took Office. An incentive was a $1.00 reduction in dues for every member who recruited five new members. This, the release of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home to critical acclaim, and the year-long bash to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Star Trek all helped STARFLEET gain new members. The STARFLEET Shuttle Program also launched into full-gear to help get those new members into new chapters. The Armed Services Program also launched under the Smith Administration to allow our men (and now women) in uniform to serve on a chapter.
The Steve Smith Administration saw another explosion in the size and scope of STARFLEET. The Sector Commanders and Regional Coordinators gained new responsibilities and became more involved in the operations of STARFLEET. The Academy continued to grow, with the Officer Training School under Admiral Chris Lotitio becoming a huge hit as well as the Post Graduate School and the Vulcan Academy of Sciences. The STARFLEET Academy Alumni Association launched in 1988 under Commander Marlene J. Miller. The pocket-sized Communiqué went COLOR under Admiral Bill 'Buck' Krause, Chief of Communications, STARFLEET.
A new Constitution was drafted in 1986, redefining the Executive Committee to include the Commanding Admiral, the Vice Commanding Admiral, the Chief of Operations, Chief of Communications, and the Academy Commandant. The Admiralty Board returned, now consisting of the EC and the Sector Chiefs.
Total membership was not the only part of STARFLEET that grew during the Smith Administration. The STARFLEET Quartermasters Office also debuted to sell STARFLEET-themed goodies to the membership. And the STARFLEET Office of Graphic Design opened under the directorship of Captain Richard Alvey, helping chapters with logo design and stationary / business cards. And the STARFLEET Chaplain Corps also came into being during this time. Up until 1986, STARFLEET had been composed entirely of officers.
Soon STARFLEET and her chapters became "top-heavy" with Commanders as people maxed-out in grade and could advance no further due to the limited number of slots open for advancement to starship command or Headquarters Staff. Commodore Thomas C. Davis, Region 5 Coordinator, took advantage of Commander Scotts promotion to "Captain of Engineering" in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock to try and address this. Working with the Executive Committee, who approved all promotions to Captain and above, the "Staff Captain" position was created for Commanders who had shown exceptional ability, but could not advance any farther. Though they would hold the rank of Captain, they were not "Line Officers" like Commanding and Executive Officers, and therefore were subordinate to the CO and XO in the chapters Chain of Command. As enlisted grades began to show in the movies, an attempt was made to promote their use amongst chapters as a way to both decrease the number of officers and to get people to take the Officer Training School. While it was not required by STARFLEET HQ to be an OTS graduate to earn a commission, many chapters chose to do so. The Office of Master Chief Petty Officer of STARFLEET was formed to help encourage the use of Enlisted Ranks, which were published in the next edition of the STARFLEET Membership Handbook.
STARFLEET members have always been on the cutting edge of technology, and three years before CERN birthed the World Wide Web, STARFLEET members used dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) to communicate. One of the most popular was TrekNet, run by the USS Defiance in Region 4 under the command of Rear Admiral Rob Lerman. The "Fleet Echo" BBS network also came into being this time, which linked various BBS across the country together into what could be termed STARFLEETs first intranet. TrekNet became a very popular way for members and chapters from all over to "get together" and have fun.
The STARFLEET Communiqué, while still half-letter sized, continuously improved under the leadership of Chief of Communications Admiral William A. "Buck" Krause. Starting in June of 1986 he instituted a "talent search" to get folks to submit artwork for issue covers. He also started to run select covers in two colors, starting with the October 1986 "STARFLEET Nagel" cover. With Fleet Admiral Smith living in Iowa and the remainder of his EC living in Ohio, production of the Communiqué suffered. Admiral Krause would design the CQ and mail it to Fleet Admiral Smith, who had to run it forty-five miles to the printers in Des Moines. He then had to take the five boxes of printed CQs and mail them to Admiral Krause, who controlled the bulk-mailing permit. Fleet Admiral Smith secured his own bulk-mailing permit, which removed the transit time from Iowa to Ohio.
The big change was in 1988 when Issue #25 of the Communiqué debuted in February with a full-color cover and inner spread on magazine-quality paper. Issue #28, Admiral Krauses final issue as Chief of Communications, was produced on a Macintosh computer and has the honor of being STARFLEETs first typeset (as opposed to typewritten) Communiqué. All future issues would be produced with Desktop Publishing equipment and the quality showed. However, as it had done under the Stillwell Administration, the expense of producing the Communiqué soon came to represent a significant portion of each members dues. When first implemented, STARFLEET membership rolls were robust and the added expense was absorbed with little problems. As members left the organization and were not replaced with new ones, eventually the expense grew to the point that STARFLEET began losing money on each membership.
Thanks to the launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the fall of 1987, the Smith Administration, and STARFLEET, benefited from the influx of new fans. By June of 1988, STARFLEET membership was over three thousand with seventy chapters. As the membership ranks swelled and more chapters came into being, the Regional Coordinators and Sector Chiefs were granted greater administrative control to help manage them.
While TNG helped bring in hundreds of new members and launched dozens of new chapters, the Smith Administration refused to allow chapters to use TNG-era vessels (admittedly of which only the Galaxy class had been seen), keeping STARFLEET firmly grounded in the Original Series and Movie eras. Also, the Office of Technical Information, which maintained a list of 800+ names that were approved for use by STARFLEET chapters, began to relax its policy of not allowing names other than those on its list to be used.
With the resignations of Fleet Admirals Stillwell and Booth before their official terms of Office were complete, it was decided not to hold elections in 1986 and instead allow Fleet Admiral Smith to serve a three-year first term. Therefore, it was not until 1988 that the next STARFLEET elections were held.