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Next to each of my active crew mates is a ability icon:

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What do these represent? Is it necessary for me to manage which ability is listed here?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The last ability used. It is generally the ability they will use when you hit the squad member's quick ability key (Q and E on PC by default), unless it is ineffective against the current target, in which case they will use a more appropriate one. If it is greyed out, the ability is cooling down after use. A white flash represents the ability has just cooled down, and a blue icon represents the ability being available.

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As near as I can tell, they represent the last active ability that you told your squad member to use.

Besides providing an 'at a glance' way of knowing what your companions cooldown status is, you can quickly activate these abilities by targetting an enemy and hitting Q or E on the PC. On the 360 and PS3, it's the left and right D-pad buttons.

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