My desk is covered in Star Wars toys right now, which prompted a short discussion between the Crook and I in regards to the Imperial rankings of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. This is how we keep ourselves entertained when we’re not busy creating “dat crack.” Thank you Wikipedia for clearing up any misconceptions.
Organization of power
Emperor Palpatine rules the Empire with absolute power, with third-in-command Sate Pestage as Grand Vizier to run the Empire day to day. Vader is the Emperor’s second-in-command as well as the Military Executor and Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces.
Palpatine dissolves the Senate in A New Hope because the Empire discovers several seats in the Senate are actually taken by members of the Rebellion. Officially, the Imperial Senate is “suspended for the duration of the Galactic emergency”. Below the Emperor, real power is in the hands of sector governors (“moffs“) such as Grand Moff Tarkin. Eventually, the regional governors are granted direct control over their territories after Palpatine disbands the Imperial Senate.
In A New Hope, Tarkin explains the Empire’s philosophy as “rule through fear of force rather than force itself”. The instrument of this power is the military, which includes the Imperial Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers, Sandtroopers, SCUBA Troopers, Snowtroopers, and a large fleet of intimidating war vehicles such as the Imperial Navy’s Star Destroyers and the Imperial Army’s All Terrain Armoured Transports (AT-ATs or imperial walkers) which are intended in part to spread fear as well as destroy the enemy. This policy reaches its zenith with the construction of the Death Star.