COUNTDOWN: Top 5 Rogue Starfleet Admirals

Tony Wilkins looks at the top 5 Admirals of Starfleet who violated more than the Prime Directive.

What is it about being promoted to an Admiral that turns an otherwise competent Starfleet officer in to a megalomaniac? I have always had a theory on this matter. In the TNG episode “Phantasms” Picard was invited to an Admiral’s banquet and is thrilled when his ship’s warp core malfunctions preventing him from attending. When asked why, Picard explains that Starfleet Admiralty are an extremely tedious group of people. Given that they exist in such a boring world is it any wonder they go a bit doolally if only to get a bit of excitement.

Whatever the reason here are my top 5 Admirals who went rogue. Please note I am only looking at Admirals in the prime universe so that excludes Admiral Marcus from “Star Trek Into Darkness” and Admiral Kathryn Janeway from the alternate future in the last episode of Voyager.

5. Admiral Ross

In truth Ross would have been excused from this list were it not for one episode of DS9. In “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” Ross works with Sloane from the mysterious Section 31 to manipulate affairs within the Romulan Empire in order to better serve the Federation’s needs in the Dominion War. This is a massive violation of the Prime Directive. In all honesty this was probably the most interesting Admiral Ross ever became in the whole series. I have never really warmed to him and had always wished that they had brought back Admiral Nacheyev for the Dominion War. I would have expected this behaviour from her.

4. Admiral Dougherty

Perhaps the one thing all our rougue Admirals have in common is their belief that what they are doing is for the good of the Federation. Admiral Dougherty was the most blatant about this conviction but he was perhaps the most torn by his actions than anyone else in this list. He deliberately went out of his way to protect the peaceful Ba’ku people while working with the Son’a to plunder their secret of eternal youth. Ultimately however he would fall foul of his “allies” and die in a rather gruesome face stretching.

3. Admiral Cartwright


What do you do if peace with your age-old enemy looms on the horizon threatening to make your Admiral’s life even duller? Simple; you conspire with your enemy to make sure peace talks fail and that hostilities continue. Cartwright is interesting because it shows us how Kirk might have gone had he not been given back the Enterprise. Both men fear a future where the Federation and Klingons are working together but for Kirk, Chancellor Gorkon’s last words pleading him to preserve peace inspire him that not all Klingons are cold blooded killers. Cartwright on the other hand wants to seize the opportunity to finally crush the Klingon menace. Unfortunately for him Kirk and crew are around to save the day in one last mission that sets up the more hopeful future of the 24th century.

2. Admiral Leyton


Perhaps the most frightening member of our list, Admiral Leyton plotted the unthinkable; a military coup against the Federation President which would install himself as leader. This is not simply a case of a thirst for power. Like all our list Leyton thinks he is doing what is best for the Federation by turning it in to a military dictatorship in order to strengthen it against the Dominion. This is the most obvious flaw in his plan however. Had he succeeded he would have effectively destroyed the Federation way of life he was actually trying to protect with his actions. Leyton is an interesting character to consider at a time when we are constantly being asked the question; in the face of global terrorism how much of our civil liberties should we give up for protection against the enemy within and what kind of police state would result? The final word has to go to the brilliant performance of Robert Foxworth in the role.

1. Admiral Kirk

Of all our list perhaps the most famous is Admiral James Tiberius Kirk himself. It is because he is the hero of the movies that we often forget he too is a rogue Starfleet Admiral (at least for two movies). Let’s take a look at his record shall we? He steals a Federation ship then blows it up. He uses his influence on his crew to assault Starfleet personnel and sabotage a Starfleet ship. He murders a Klingon crew, albeit in self defence, then steals their ship (that’s two counts of space vehicular theft). He violates orders to stay away from two planets; first the Genesis planet then Earth when it is attacked by the Cetacean probe. Then he dables in time travel that leads to several disruptions in the timeline including bringing someone from the 1980s in to the 23rd century and finally he litters San Francisco Bay by dumping his stolen Klingon ship in it. I think all that qualifies as a rogue Starfleet officer but as the old saying goes; everyone loves a rogue.


I am aware that there are more Admirals who went rogue. I covered Admiral Pressman from “The Pegasus” in an episode review so I decided to keep him off this list.

Thanks for reading…



2 thoughts on “COUNTDOWN: Top 5 Rogue Starfleet Admirals”

  1. Did you make this list before Star Trek Into Darkness? If so, I’d love to see where Admiral Marcus fits in. Y’know the clever-but-stupid/evil build-an-uber-warship-with-Khan-and-Section-31-then-sabotage-the-Enterprise-and-try-to-destroy-it-in-cold-blood-just-to-have-war-with-the-Klingons thing. And I can imagine that if Sisko got promoted, he’d make the list or at least honourable mentions. Especially after the “In the Pale Moonlight” thing, the whole Eddington chase (Blaze of Glory/For the Cause/For the Uniform), and all the times he has wholeheartedly disagreed with everything Starlet wants him to do. He’d be fun to compare to Admiral Picard (ah, sweet retirement)

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