Starfleet Commander-in-Chief

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The position of Starfleet Commander-in-Chief (and the accompanying rank of Fleet Admiral) is the highest position that can be held in Starfleet. The Commander-in-Chief (abbreviated CinC) is the overall commander of Starfleet, although he usually administers the Fleet through the commanders of Starfleet Base and Starfleet Naval Commands, rather than directly.

The rank insignia of a Starfleet Fleet Admiral
The CinC usually holds the position until death or retirement, and a Commander-in-Chief has seldom been forced out of the position. The possibility exists for the Federation Council to remove the Commander-in-Chief, however, this has only once actually been implemented when lame duck CinC Alexander Riley was removed. The Commander-in-Chief also theoretically answers to the President of the United Federation of Planets, but usually only has to consult the President for major decisions such as launching unprovoked military action.

The CinC has been known to act as a lead negotiatior in place of the President during potentially insecure situations. The Commander-in-Chief automatically holds the rank of Fleet Admiral as a token off his office. Retired Commander-in-Chiefs are entitled to be called 'Fleet Admiral' as a courtesy, however, should they return to active duty in any other capacity they assume the rank of Admiral.

The Fleet Admiral's duties are both ceremonial and practical. From a ceremonial position, the Fleet Admiral represents the Fleet at many foreign functions such as signing ceremonies. He presents the Starfleet Medal of Honor on his own recommendation (this leads to the occaisonal FA who does not yet have the Medal of Honor typically giving it to themselves), and reads eulogies at state funerals. From a more practical standpoint, the Fleet Admiral coordinates the activies of the Navy and the starbases, and sees to overall strategies in times of galactic conflict. In large-scale fleet engagements, the Fleet Admiral is technically obliged to assume overall command on his personal flagship. However, most Fleet Admirals are based either on Earth or Starbase One and delegate this responsibility to a subordinate.

There have been several Fleet Admirals in recent Starfleet history. The most famous by far are the trio of Mitch Blackman, Robert Morse, and John Falkenberg who administered the so-called Golden Age of Starfleet. From the first tenure of Neil Shukla to the temporary administration of Josh Limboch, on the other hand, several Commanders-in-Chief rotated through the post in only a few years.

To date, two Fleet Admirals (Morse and Falkenberg) have had starships in Starfleet service named after them. These are the Miranda-class destroyer USS Morse and the Excelsior-class cruiser USS Falkenberg.

List of Commanders-in-Chief