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In 2323, Hanson was present at the Starfleet Academy Marathon on Danula II. Hanson witnessed the freshman Cadet Jean-Luc Picard and resolved to get to know the young man better. Over the years the two men became friends, and Picard would call Hanson by his given name in private. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart, TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
After a Borg Cube destroyed a Federation colony in late 2366, Hanson and Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Shelby met with Captain Picard on the USS Enterprise-D to discuss the Borg threat. While there, Hanson offered Commander William Riker the command of the Excelsior-class USS Melbourne, which Riker turned down to remain on the Enterprise. Feeling that Riker was hurting his career remaining where he was, Hanson urged Picard to have Riker reconsider. When Shelby confirmed that it was the Borg who attacked, Hanson left to consult with Starfleet Command.
After Picard was kidnapped by the Borg and transformed into Locutus, Hanson was contacted by the Enterprise. Hanson informed the Enterprise crew that a fleet of 40 starships were going to meet the Borg at Wolf 359. He then declared Picard a casualty of the war, and gave Riker a field promotion to the rank of Captain, and command of the Enterprise.
A short time later, the fleet under Hanson's command engaged the Borg in Battle at Wolf 359. During the battle, Admiral Hanson deployed the USS Melbourne, the USS Gage and the USS Kyushu to assist the USS Saratoga. (DS9 episode & novelization: Emissary)