As discussed in "Why is Janeway an Admiral and Picard is not? ", Picard was offered a rank of Admiral in 2364.

Then, in 2367, Picard was assimilated by the Borg.

Many fan forums speculate that he was never again offered a promotion, at least in part, because the higher-ups in Starfleet distrusted Picard after the assimilation. It's obvious that some brass in Starfleet didn't trust Picard after that (e.g. Admiral Satie), but I'm not sure how much that factored into Admiral promotion.

Question: is there any direct canon confirmation that Picard was not offered subsequent Admiral promotion specifically in connection with the Locutus assimilation episode? (As a whole, or at least partial, reason.)

What I seek is someone higher-up shown in canon explicitly stating "We don't want to make him an Admiral, because he was be assimilated", or a similar sentiment.

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    He was following Kirk's advice to never let them promote him or do anything to take him out of that chair.
    – BBlake
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 15:26
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    @DVK: Why do you think he was commanded to patrol the Romulan Neutral zone? The flagship of the Federation, single-handedly patrolling an entire border. It's ridiculous! They don't (didn't) trust him; Hence, they won't offer him a position as admiral. They wouldn't actually say this officially because that would be discrimination against him, and of course Humanity has long evolved beyond that, hasn't it? So, I suspect you wont get a definitive answer.
    – bitmask
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 15:44
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    Remember that Picard was ordered to stay out of the conflict with the Borg in First Contact and he violated those orders not only entering the fray, but taking command after the destruction of Admiral Hayes's flagship. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 21:16
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    “What I seek is someone higher-up shown in canon explicitly stating "We don't want to make him an Admiral, because he used to be assimilated", or similar sentiment.” Discriminatory behaviour is rarely accompanied by convenient confessions, which is part of what makes life so hard for the Differently Non-Assimilated (this is our preferred term). Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 7:38
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    I absolutely love this question. I can't believe I'm only coming across it now.
    – Praxis
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 5:13

3 Answers 3


In the episode "The Drumhead" Picard's loyalty is brought into question by Admiral Norah Satie in relation to his having been partially assimilated by the Borg.

Whether her extreme views are commonly held by other Flag officers (and whether this translates into a failure to achieve rank) is uncertain but it can't possibly have helped his chances;

"Admiral Nora Satie: Tell me, Captain, have you completely recovered from your experience with the Borg?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Yes, I have completely recovered.

Admiral Nora Satie: It must have been awful for you... actually becoming one of them. Being forced to use your vast knowledge of Starfleet operations to aid the Borg. Just how many of our ships were lost? Thirty-nine? And a loss of life, I believe, measured at nearly 11,000. One wonders how you can sleep at night, having caused so much destruction. I question your actions, Captain; I question your choices, I question your loyalty!"

It's not entirely clear what the thinking is behind the decision to exclude the Enterprise from the defence of Earth in "Star Trek : First Contact" but it's certainly clear that Starfleet believe that there may be longer-term effects of Picard's assimilation.

His loyalty doesn't seem to be in question, but his mental health (and objectivity) does...

PICARD: Let's just say that Starfleet has every confidence in the Enterprise and her crew. They're just not sure about her Captain. They believe that a man who was once captured and assimilated by the Borg should not be put in a situation where he would face them again. To do so would introduce an unstable element to a critical situation

RIKER: That's ridiculous! Your experience of the Borg makes you the perfect man to lead this fight.

PICARD: Admiral Hayes disagrees.

  • As I recall (as I recently saw that episode) Picard proceeded to tear into that woman like wet tissue paper immediately after those lines, in broad view of a Starfleet Admiral no less. If her words had any effect, they were immediately demolished afterwards...though one could still infer that other admirals might carry the same sentiment.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 13:52
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    @Zibbobz - Well, we find out that Sisko also feels much the same way so she's certainly not the only one out there who's p*ssed off with Picard.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 17:24
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    @Richard I see Siskos feelings as more personal, since his wife died at Wolf 359...
    – Moo
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 15:04
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    Nobody likes Nora. When the Dominion created a simulation of the Federation withdrawing from Bajor due to Dominion demands, who did they pick as the Admiral to deliver the message? Guess. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 7:41
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    Oh good lord, how embarrassing. I was thinking of Fleet Admiral Nechayev. Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 22:19

No such statement is ever canonically uttered.

The closest we get is Starfleet's effort to tell Picard NOT to join in the Battle of Earth in Star Trek: First Contact. That is, in fact, the only hint we ever get, canonically, that Picard is not trusted where the Borg are concerned by the top brass; and only one other officer -- Sisko -- ever even acts uncomfortable around him.

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    Admiral Nora Satie asks whether he's fully recovered from his encounter with the Borg, then openly questions his loyalty. This would seem a "canonical statement" that all isn't well.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 16:53

It's never been said on screen that Starfleet didn't trust Picard post assimilation. In fact, the opposite seems to be true as he was allowed to retain command of the Enterprise and given command of the Enterprise E when the Enterprise D was destroyed. Additionally, he was given several high profile missions after his assimilation including two missions to Romulus (a secret one in Unification and a less secret one in Nemesis-ordered by Janeway), command of the Federation fleet during the Klingon civil war in Redemption, welcoming the Evora to the Federation in Insurrection etc.

I think they did have some reservations about putting him up against the Borg but I don't think they were hesitant to promote him because of it. In Descent, Admiral Nechayev came down hard on Picard for not taking the opportunity to destroy the Borg in I, Borg. It's important to note that she came down on him but didn't punish him, she simply ordered him to take the opportunity in the future should it present itself again. That may explain why they didn't want him at the battle of sector 001 in First Contact. They didn't think he could make the hard decisions when facing the Borg.

Regarding the decision to promote Janeway over Picard, I look more to Generations than First Contact for an explanation because it's really the only thing that's ever been said on screen regarding his promotion prospects.

James T. Kirk: Captain of the Enterprise, huh?

Jean-Luc Picard: That's right.

Kirk: Close to retirement?

Picard: I'm not planning on it.

Kirk: Well let me tell you something. Don't! Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there... you can make a difference.

I get the feeling that-based on that conversation, coupled with his experience in Tapestry (when he found out what his life would have been if he hadn't commanded a starship), Picard chose to remain a captain. He may have been offered a promotion or two off screen (why wouldn't he?) but turned it down because he's happy being the most prominent captain in the fleet.

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    This doesn't address the question of whether his encounter with the Borg affected his future promotion prospects.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 16:31
  • That's a fair point. However, it's just about the only thing that was ever said on screen regarding Picard getting promoted off the Enterprise (the question DID ask for cannon information). A more precise answer to the question asked is "No, nothing has ever been said to indicate that Picard's encounter with the Borg affected his future prospects." My answer simply presented another reason based on the information that had been presented on screen. I will edit my response appropriately.
    – geewhiz
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 16:42

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