Starfleet Academy is one of the three core buildings, along with the United Federation of Planets government building and Starfleet Command, in the Cochrane Courtyard on San Francisco, Earth. The Academy is the only venue which is authorized to train the future officers of Starfleet, and is the central administrative building for the entire training apparatus of the Fleet. At any given time, the Academy houses and teaches up to 3500 officer cadets and non-commissioned officers in training, along with several dozen instructors culled from the active and experienced ranks of the Fleet. Officers on the verge of retirement often elect to teach at Starfleet Academy to wind down their careers, a system which is encouraged by Starfleet Command and which ensures that there is always a strong supply of experienced field officers imparting practical wisdom to the Fleet's future.
Starfleet Academy comes under the overall command of the Commander-in-Chief, although he seldom takes personal control. The responsibility for commanding the Academy is given to the Commandant, a position that field officers frequently compare to Hell. The Commandant is assisted by a Vice-Commandant who takes care of more mundane duties, and several other administrative officers of low rank below them handle day-to-day operations.
Officer cadets at the Academy undergo a four-year training period, during which they learn all that there is to know about being an effective officer. Cadets are required to choose a major (such as security, science, or medical) to specialize in, and receive basic training in combat, first aid, and simple equipment repairs regardless of major. Historically, cadets have also been required to complete an internship period onboard an active starship. At times, a vessel such as the USS Federation or USS Banneker has been assigned directly to the Academy for this purpose, but recent years has tended to assign cadets to active ships.
Security at Starfleet Academy has been heightened in recent years following a number of incidents. Famously, a cadet was fatally stabbed in the middle of the Academy Quad by one of his classmates, and reports of cadets and even foreign nationals being able to take advantage of lax security practices resulted in a long-overdue tightening of regulations. A full squadron of Starfleet Security personnel is now on duty at the Academy at all times, a garrison comparable to that given to the Starfleet Command building itself. This, combined with a new automated system, has drastically reduced security incidents.
Major rooms in Starfleet Academy are named after Commanders-in-Chief and Commandants through history, and having a room at the Academy bear your name is one of the greatest and most permanent honours a Starfleet officer can ever hope to receive. A lack of expansion in recent years has stalled the naming process, however, the honour continues to be an illustrious and coveted one.