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Vice Admiral Kennelly was a Starfleet flag officer in 2368. In that year, he entered into a covert alliance with the Cardassian liaison to the Federation to eliminate a Bajoran terrorist cell.

Attempting to manipulate Starfleet into an alliance against the Bajorans, the Cardassians staged an attack on the Federation colony of Solarion IV, and subsequently provided fabricated intelligence to Admiral Kennelly that a Bajoran named Orta was responsible. The Cardassians proposed an agreement whereby Kennelly would provide pretense allowing the Cardassians to destroy Orta and his cell, an arrangement to which Kennelly agreed. In furtherance of this goal, Kennelly ordered Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the USS Enterprise, to offer amnesty to Orta in exchange for halting his terrorist activities. He also arranged to have Ro Laren, a disgraced Bajoran Starfleet ensign, released from prison and assigned to the Enterprise, to act as his agent on the mission. Kennelly directed Ensign Ro to secretly offer weapons and supplies to Orta in exchange for halting attacks on Federation targets. However, when Ro learned that Orta was not responsible for the attack on Solarian IV, she decided to confide in Captain Picard, who was able to deduce that the Cardassians had been manipulating Kennelly. Picard subsequently manufactured a scenario in which the Enterprise would escort Orta's vessel back to its home base, in an attempt to lure out the Cardassians. Picard's plan worked, manipulating the Cardassians into leaving their own territory to destroy Orta's ship. It was at this point that Picard informed Kennelly that Orta's vessel had not actually been occupied, and was being remotely-controlled from the surface, and confronted Kennelly with the fact that he had discovered Kennelly's role in the conspiracy.

Upon the conclusion of the incident, Picard speculated that Kennelly would be court martialled for his illegal actions. (TNG: "Ensign Ro")

Kennelly was portrayed by actor Cliff Potts.
According to the script, his name was pronounced as "KEN-ell-ee".

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