It's stated in "Paradise Lost" (and other episodes) that the Federation President has the authority to set martial law, announce a state of emergency (as with the Borg attack in BOBW), and take other actions.

Does he have direct authority over members of Starfleet? Can he tell admirals to act or decide a certain way? Could he personally summon Captain Picard over subspace and reroute the Enterprise to another sector altogether? Would Picard be obligated to obey?

  • Technically, as the president is also Commander-in-Chief he could but any competent officer would also check with his chain of command. Same as the US President basically.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 10:08
  • I wonder whether he can be overruled by the courts ... Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 0:38
  • 2
    @Paulie_D do you have any canon evidence that the Federation president is Commander-in-Chief of the Federation Military?
    – vap78
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 7:31
  • Only in the wikis.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


The Federation President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Starfleet in the DS9 era

From DS9: Paradise Lost:

JARESH-INYO: Your story has a certain logic to it, gentlemen, but what it lacks is proof.

SISKO: You want proof? Order Admiral Leyton to withdraw his troops from the streets. See what he does.

JARESH-INYO: You think he would refuse a direct order from his Commander-in-Chief?

SISKO: If he orders his troops to stand down, then I'm wrong and I'll offer my resignation. But I don't think that's going to happen. With those troops in place, Admiral Leyton controls Earth. And he's not going to give up that control until he's convinced that he has ended the Dominion threat.

This part definitely shows that the Federation President has the authority over the admirals and can exercise it (although, due to the complicated situation in the episode, it is suggested that Leyton may decide to disobey that order).

In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country the C-in-C is the highest-ranking officer in Starfleet, who, according to Memory-Alpha (I haven't found any canon sources), takes orders only from the President and the Federation Council. This may suggest that both bodies can exercise authority over Starfleet, through the C-in-C.

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