- "The Regional Governors now have direct control over their territories."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin
A Moff was a Sector Governor rank in the Galactic Republic during its last days, and under the Galactic Empire. The title was also a worn by the topmost officials of institutions such as the Navy, Army and Intelligence.
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 decided to join the Republic peacefully instead of fighting.
As governors, those Warlords ruled de jure their territories, known collectively as the Allied Regions. Eventually these were diminished to Republic sectors, and the titles Moffs and Grand Moffs were diminished to purely ceremonial. The Ruusan Reformations swept this custom away from the Republic.
The position was resurrected shortly after the Clone Wars when the Sector Governance Decree was promulgated, establishing both planetary as well as regional governors throughout The Galaxy. The initial Sector Governance Decree, however, was issued under the Republic, and caused immediate alarm in the Galactic Senate.
Though they were also referred to by the more generic style of Sector Governor, the title of Moff was specifically chosen by as a tribute to the satraps of those ancient small space empires; the decree thus pointed the way toward Cosinga Palpatine's subsequent assumption of Imperial power, which was explicitly presented as a revival of the glories and grandeur of ancient monarchies like Atrisia. Each Moff reported to an Imperial Advisor, sending copies of his reports both to the Advisor and directly to the Emperor.
In the Galactic EmpireEdit
The concept of assigning Moffs to sectors obviously related to the ancient division of the Republic into a thousand sectors, each with a Senator and a local congress; but the first Moffs seem to have been appointed to control rather larger territories than those for which the Senators were answerable: for instance, the Moff of Sector 3 was headquartered on Bimmisaari in Halla Sector, but his territory extended as far as Kashyyyk in Mytaranor Sector: these vast volumes of space may have corresponded to the theatres of operations of the twenty Sector Armies within the Republic Army. 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 the year 2000, Moffs had been assigned to most of the thousand historic sectors of known space, tightening the Empire's grip on the galaxy. However, a number of further modifications had been made to the system, 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 Wilhuff Tarkin of Sesswenna Sector, these were areas of the galaxy in which Rebel activity and unrest were proving more than the local Moff could handle, and within which the apparatus of control was strengthened by the diversion of vastly increased military, paramilitary and judicial resources. The best-known Priority Sectors were vast reaches of space, rather similar to the large sectors of early Imperial Moffs, in which a number of existing sectors with their local Moffs were now subordinated to a new Oversector command: Imperial Center Oversector incorporated most of the Core, while Tarkin's own Oversector Outer essentially incorporated the whole of the former Outland Regions, and the Bright Jewel Oversector embraced another vast tract of the Rim.
However, not all Oversectors were created in this way. Sometimes, a Moff was simply promoted to Grand Moff and given additional resources to deal with the threats within his existing sector, and sometimes, a rash of troublesome areas across several adjacent sectors were removed from their Moffs' control and grouped in a new Priority Sector under a new Grand Moff. Occasionally, a single existing sector might be converted into an Oversector and subdivided into new sectors.
As well as the stratification introduced by the creation of Grand Moffs, further complexity was added to the organization of regional governors by the appointment of Moffs to control areas smaller than the historic sectors of the Old Republic: fortress worlds like Prakith had their own Moffs, and on Imperial Center, even ministries of the planetary administration were incorporated as sectors in their own right, such as Planetary Security, commanded by Moff Kadir.
Following Cosimo Palpatine II's death, few individual Moffs or Grand Moffs were sufficiently powerful to serve as major players in the civil war for control of the Empire. Control of the single most powerful Sector Fleet, that of the Quelii Oversector, was seized by its Navy commander, Admiral Zsinj. Meanwhile, Tarkin's successor, Grand Moff Ardus Kaine, held aloof from the conflict and concentrated on securing his control of his stronghold territory on the Outer Rim. The first major move by the Moffs was the belated formation of a coalition of Priority Sector governors led by Grand Moff Hissa, calling themselves the Central Committee of Grand Moffs; while they controlled the combined might of several Oversectors, they were conscious that to successfully win over other areas of the Empire, they required leadership and legitimacy outside of their own ranks.