Moff is the official title of dimensional governors within the Galactic Empire. Virtually all of the dimensions in the Empire have Moffs. Those who don't are puppet states or protectorates.
The name Moff originates from the small Pre-Republic space empires from whence the Galactic Republic emerged; the title was given to Warlords of those empires who joined the Republic instead of fighting. Moffs and Grand Moffs were the governors of Allied Regions but when those were reorganized into Republic dimensions and sections, the titles became purely ceremonial. This custom however was swept away by the Ruusan Reformations.
The position was resurrected in the last years of the Clone Wars when the Sector Governance Decree was promulgated by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine using his emergency powers, establishing both planetary as well as dimensional governors throughout the Universe.
Though they are also referred to by the more generic style of Dimensional Governor, the title of Moff was specifically chosen by Palpatine as a tribute to the satraps of those ancient small space empires; the decree thus pointed the way toward Palpatine's subsequent assumption of Imperial power, which was explicitly presented as a revival of the glories and grandeur of ancient monarchies like Atrisia or T'Kon. Each Moff reports to an Imperial Advisor, sending copies of his reports both to the Advisor and directly to Palpatine.
The initial Sector Governance Decree, however, was issued under the Republic, and caused immediate alarm in the Galactic Senate, serving as the major catalyst for the Petition of 2000. Palpatine simply used this show of Senatorial opposition as a means to identify and remove his most dangerous opponents in the political elite, but the Senate's short-lived defiance, along with the magnitude of the tasks involved in ending the Clone Wars and initiating the Great Jedi Purge, may nonetheless have contributed to the delay in the appointment of the first Moffs, who did not take up office until several weeks after the Declaration of a New Order and the establishment of the Galactic Empire.
The concept of assigning Moffs to dimensions obviously related to the ancient division of the Republic into five hundred million dimensions, each with a Senator and a local congress; but the first Moffs were appointed to control rather larger territories than those for which the Senators were answerable: for instance, the Moff of Star Wars was headquartered on Coruscant in that dimension, but his territory extended as far as Outpost K-39 in the Star Trek dimension: these vast volumes of space may have corresponded to the theaters of operations of the twenty Sector Armies within the Grand Army of the Republic. It appears that at this time, the newly reformed Imperial Fleet was also placed under the authority of a Moff, one of the few senior officials to whom the command program of the dreadnought Eye of Palpatine was answerable.
By the time that the Senate was dissolved in 0 BBY, Moffs had been assigned to most of the five hundred million historic dimensions of known space, tightening the Empire's grip on the Universe. However, a number of further modifications had been made to the system by that time, most notably the creation of a cadre of higher-ranking Grand Moffs, governors-general of a new class of Priority Sectors, also known as Oversectors. Proposed by Moff Willhuff Tarkin of Star Wars, these are areas of the Universe in which dissident activity and unrest were proving more than the local Moff could handle, and within which the apparatus of control is strengthened by the diversion of vastly increased military, paramilitary and judicial resources. The best-known Priority Sectors are vast reaches of space, rather similar to the large sectors of early Imperial Moffs, in which a large number of existing dimensions with their local Moffs were now subordinated to a new Oversector command: Criminal Oversector incorporates virtually all of the criminally-affiliated dimensions, while Tarkin's own Scientific Oversector essentially incorporates virtually all of the science fiction dimensions, and the Game Oversector embraces most of the game-related dimensions.
Role and powersEdit
Under the Sector Governance Decree, each Moff was armed with little more than a broad mandate to monitor the dimensional government, and a force of stormtroopers that was sufficient to secure their residence, maintain control in the surrounding streets, and provide protection to a few administrative personnel on detached duty. This was enough to provoke the Petition of Two Thousand and precipitate the revolution that overthrew the Old Republic.
However, with the dissolution of the Imperial Senate in 0 BBY, the power of the Moffs has increased considerably. The machinery of power Moffs directed changed beyond recognition. Within the civil chain of command, Moffs are the superior of Planetary and Sectional Governors, who answer to them. Intelligence networks and local organizations of COMPNOR are centralized at the Moff's office, at dimensional level. Moffs also hold absolute authority over the deployment and use of any Imperial military groups stationed in their dimension. The high-ranking military and naval dignities of Surface Marshal and High Admiral are usually held by a Moff, in command over their dimensional military groups.
According to official Imperial resources, the Navy forces in a typical Dimension include twenty-four Star Destroyers, 1,600 other warships, and 800 support ships, while the forces of a typical Dimensional Army might number 774,556 front-line troops, as well some 400,000 support personnel. This does not mention the dozens or hundreds of dimensional garrisons. However, in some dimensions, the number is actually quite smaller: in the Stargate dimension, there is only one aged Victory-Class Star Destroyer and a few support vessels; in the Transformers dimension, a single Battlegroup of eight warships. Despite this, the three largest dimensions, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Commercial City, have a large amount of naval forces and ground forces, the greatest amount in the Empire. Also, a Imperial Moff rarely, if ever, is outnumbered and outgunned in any possible engagement.
A Moff is expected, at least nominally, to maintain order, prevent corruption, enforce the law, and insure the Empire's rule. The vagueness of such defined powers has allowed the use of overt tyranny and oppression. A Moff is legally allowed to order troops to fire at a peaceful demonstration, or to bombard a planet or dimensional section into submission. It must also be noted the dissolution of the Imperial Senate removed the bureaucracy which could circumvent or even challenge a Moff's power.