United Federation of Planets

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Emblem of the Federation

The United Federation of Planets is a major political entity in the Alpha Quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy in Star Trek.


The Federation is governed by a President and the Federation Council, both of which have offices on Earth. The means by which Federation officials attain their positions has never been clearly described. Evidence suggests that the Council consists of ambassadors appointed by the planetary governments of their homeworlds. The President is elected by the council by putting his name forward for consideration. [1]

The Federation has at least one secret intelligence organization called Section 31[2]. It is not clear whether Section 31 is entirely an external intelligence and "black-ops" agency or it also functions as an internal intelligence and secret police service. It was once described by the character Sloan as being "another branch of Starfleet Security".[3] Sloan has also made the claim that Section 31 was part of the original Starfleet Charter (note: as opposed to the Federation) and that it was an "autonamous department" that did not "submit reports or ask for approval for specific operations".[4]


The Federation, or at least parts of it, seem to operate on a socialist or even communist economic model. Evidence includes the lack of currency in many episodes, descriptions of the Federation's non-capitalist economy base, and government monopolies that appear to control space travel, interstellar communications, and scientific research. In any event, their society is so far removed from a free market economy that many Federation citizens have completely forgotten about capitalism. Captain Picard and Beverly Crusher are both intelligent, educated people by Federation standards, yet neither one understood the concept of investment or payment for services rendered.[5]


The Federation consists of approximately 150 member planets spread across approximately 8,000 light-years of space.[6] It is not clear whether this figure indicates that Federation territory is roughly spherical with a diameter of 8,000 light-years or some other shape with a total volume of approximately 8,000 cubic light-years. In addition to member worlds, the Federation has established numerous colonies with varying levels of autonomy.[7]

The Federation shares borders with the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, and the Cardassian Union.

Major planetary members of the Federation include Earth, Vulcan, Betazed, Andor, Tellaria, and Bolia.

Threat Assessment

The Federation has technology comparable to that of the other major powers in the Alpha Quadrant. Their military readiness, however, is lacking compared to that of their neighbors. While their ships are individually powerful, often substantially more powerful than those of their neighbors,[8] they tend to be few in number, as indicated by the perpetual shortage of ships in position to respond to military emergencies.[9] Furthermore, many Starfleet officers do not regard Starfleet as a military organization (despite its control of nearly all military assets in the Federation), and Starfleet itself does not conduct routine combat exercises to keep its crews prepared for military action.[10]


  1. DS9 "Home Front"
  2. DS9 "Inquisition"
  3. DS9 "Inquisition"
  4. DS9 "Inquisition"
  5. TNG "The Neutral Zone"
  6. Star Trek: First Contact
  7. http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/United_Federation_of_Planets#Size_and_location
  8. TNG "The Wounded"
  9. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, TNG "Angel One", TNG "The Best of Both Worlds"
  10. TNG "Peak Performance"