Cryptic recently opened questions up for Star Trek Online's bridge crew feature. The fans asked some great questions and the developers shared some very detailed information on how bridge crews work and their purpose both on the ship and on the ground.
14:33 What are the different ways that we will gain access to new crew members? Through missions, "loot", etc? Along that same vein of questioning, are there any "rare" crew members? How will we obtain them?
14:35 You'll get Bridge Officers all sorts of different ways. Starfleet\KDF will grant them to you, you'll have the ability to recruit them from planets you've done missions for. Bridge Officers end up being the "phat lewt" of STO.
14:35 There are rare Bridge Officers as well. Some that you'll only get access to when you do high-end content, some you'll get through luck and exploration.
14:37 They give your character some of the cooler powers in space and since you level them up, and equip them theyre a little more complex than armor. : )
You can read the full transcribe chat on the official STO forums!