As far as I recall, we know of the following admirals in the future:

Adm. Archer (future), Adm. Riker (future),

And we know of Adm. Janeway (comtemporary in Star Trek: Nemesis), Arm. Kirk (contemporary in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) .

For these four admirals, it's not hard to imagine what accomplishments or demonstrations of skills they have made which were deserving of that rank.

But among the many Admirals, including Fleet, Vice and Rear Admirals, do we actually know of any specific accomplishments, skills in their past (or any significant backstory at all) worthy of earning that rank?

  • This question is a.k.a. "What makes these guys more deserving than Picard, e.g.?" Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 22:27
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    memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Gardner? - Former test-pilot.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 22:39
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    In real life admirals do not get promoted because of some specific thing they have done. They are captains with sufficient skill, knowledge and experience that they are the most suitable people to command other officers. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 3:43
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    Picard could have been an Admiral had he wanted it. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 5:11
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    Aren’t they ALL in the future?
    – Broklynite
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 11:13

2 Answers 2


You are confusing "actions" and "skill" with rank. A common mistake, but in a military organization, a person's rank is often dependent upon the position they hold, and not always based on their qualifications or skill, although the qualifications they possess may make them more eligible for such a position.

From your comment:

This question is a.k.a. "What makes these guys more deserving than Picard, e.g.

Nothing about these people makes them more or less deserving than Picard. The difference is they chose to accept a position that would require they hold the rank of Admiral, whereas Picard elected to keep his post as commanding officer of the Enterprise, which was a posting that required a Captain's rank. If it required an Admiral to be in command, he may have been promoted.

As you may recall, Picard was offered the position of Commandant of Star Fleet Academy in Season 1, a position that would require he hold the rank of Admiral. If he had accepted that post, he would have been promoted, but he chose to remain on the Enterprise, hence continued to hold the rank of Captain.

This is no different than the circumstances that surrounded Kirk in the early Star Trek movies. After returning from his 5 year mission, he was promoted to Admiral, and command of the Enterprise was given to Decker (Star Trek TMP) and later Spock (Star Trek II). It wasn't until he was "punished" (at the conclusion of Star Trek IV) by being demoted to Captain was he formally reassigned to commanding officer of the Enterprise.

So in short, nothing these people you mentioned was more or less deserving than Picard. But the position they were asked to take and chose to accept dictated that they be promoted.

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    I don't question this answer, but I wasn't really confusing accomplishments with skill, although I see how it read like that. My thinking was more along the lines of "There are an awful lot of admirals with virtually no backstory. Are there any with any? " Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 11:15
  • Also, how the heck did I miss Kirk?! Editing. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 11:16
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    There is a lot wrong with this answer as, for example, Sisko was a CO of a space station, which was definitely way above commander he held when posted on DS9. And later he was also a CO of the "Defiant". Those would be two separate posts with the "Defiant" being way below the rank of a Captain (especially since her official classification as "escort vessel", a fancy name for a destroyer). Not to mention numerous occasions when senior flag officer (commodore or above) took over command of a vessel while onboard.
    – AcePL
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 13:06
  • @AcePL I always thought the weirdness with Sisko's position was due to the fact that DS9 was technically Bajoran. That is, Starfleet's role was semi-officially to keep the seat warm until the Bajorans could take it on fully -- and therefore the lead Starfleet officer was given a rank lower than he would have otherwise had, as a way of downplaying his (and thus Starfleet's) authority over the station. It's been a while since I saw it, though, so I don't know if that was established in the show, or just something I assumed to fill in the gaps.
    – yshavit
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:23
  • @yshavit - you don't "underpromote" people. This is straight path to destruction of any organization... Sisko was promoted to commander to reflect his new position on DS9. If anything, he would be unsuitable for the post if we accept your downplaying theory. All would be fine if DS9 was an outpost (minor, like repair or refuel), not a station. And it still doesn't explain dual posting. Normally you cannot be part-time ship officer, and full time post commander. Violation of "one ship, one captain" rule.
    – AcePL
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:38

I'm answering to both your original questions and to your comment "There are an awful lot of admirals with virtually no backstory. Are there any with any?"; so I'm providing also background info about What they did before appearing on-screen? along with What they did before becoming admirals?

Admiral Leyton

Admiral Leyton was previously Captain of the USS Okinawa during the Federation-Tzenkethi War, and had Benjamin Sisko as Executive Officer. They generally had a good working relationship, and Leyton appreciated Sisko's honesty, despite being a decisive commander.

His previous relationship with Sisko led him to try to enlist the commander of Deep Space 9 in his attempted coup d'état against the Federation's President.

enter image description here

Admiral Ross

Admiral William Ross was the Starfleet military leader during the Dominion War. He commanded from Starbase 375.

DS9 scripts described him as a man no older than Sisko, [that] shows signs of the burden of office. Barry Jenner, the actor that portrayed him, said that Ross "was obviously a line officer who'd seen a lot of combat, seen a lot of people killed, and he's got a lot of memories".

It seem that Ross had a career as a military leader, a field where he acquired great experience at a great personal expense; that possibly had a role in his promotion to Admiral, and to him being chosen for the role of Starfleet Commander during the War.

enter image description here

Admiral Paris

Admiral Owen Paris was previously Captain of the USS Al-Batani, and took part in the mission known as the Arias Expedition.

He held several high ranking posts in Starfleet from captain to admiral, and was notably known as a Starfleet Academy instructor, where he also taught to his own son, Tom Paris.

enter image description here

Admiral Jameson

Admiral Mark Jameson, while holding the rank of Commander, was sento to negotiate the release of hostages on Mordan IV. His mission was successful but controversial, as he violated the Prime Directive and many Federation principles.

He advanced through the ranks until he reached Rear Admiral, his last command was the USS Gettysburg. He contracted Iverson's Disease and was eventually confined to wheelchair.

enter image description here

Admiral Pressman

Admiral Erik Pressman was a previous Captain and commanded USS Pegasus (William Riker was serving here too, as an Ensign), a ship used as a testbed for various technologies, most notably a phasing cloaking device. These experiments were illegal, and he faced an inquiry, but had no further consequences.

He obtained a position within Starfleet Intelligence, and later was given the rank of Rear Admiral.

enter image description here

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