chain of command

Major General Charlie Stickland

Major General Stickland joined the Royal Marines in 1987. His initial Commando and Fleet time saw service in Northern Ireland, anti smuggling operations in Hong Kong and numerous amphibious deployments to Norway, the Mediterranean rim and the Far East.

Selected for Staff College in 1999, he then spent a period in the Ministry of Defence. Firstly, in procurement and then becoming the MOD lead for Western and Southern Africa co-ordinating military activity across the region.

There then followed a period of intense operational activity: serving as the Senior UK Liaison Officer with the US 18th Airborne Corps in Baghdad (2005/6); Chief of Staff of the UK Task Force in Afghanistan (2006/7); and then commanding 42 Commando Group conducting aviation assault and influence operations across the southern provinces of Afghanistan (2008/9).

On promotion to Colonel, he led the Fleet Operational Policy team leading on the Commander in Chief’s ‘Gulf Preparedness Initiative’, counter-piracy operations and oversight the Maritime Trade Organisation node in Dubai.   The role of Chief of Staff of the Joint Force Headquarters then followed, leading on the generation and validation of the EU Battle Group Force Headquarters and a broader focus on UK crisis response dealing with the consequences of the Arab Spring in the Levant, Gulf and North Africa.

In 2014 having completed Higher Command & Staff Course, Brigadier Stickland assumed command of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines orchestrating the operational output of the Royal Marines. He capitalised on key US, French and Dutch partnerships and refocused the organisation, post Afghanistan, to deliver the agility required for the complexities of the modern contingent environment.

He was then appointed Chief Joint Force Operations returning to the Joint Force Headquarters with the military lead for UK Non-Discretionary Crisis Response. His lead for Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations and Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response saw engagement in most of the world’s hot spots and areas of potential instability.

He was promoted to Major General in October 2017 and then appointed Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force (Somalia) and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR) on 7 November 2017.

Maj Gen Charlie Stickland

The Operation Commander (Op Comd) commands the operation from the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) at Northwood, United Kingdom. There he plans and conducts the operation in conjunction with the political and military authorities of the European Union.


Rear Admiral Giuseppe Rapese

Rear Admiral Giuseppe Rapese joined the Italian Naval Academy in 1985 and graduated as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in 1989. Much of his early naval career was embarked on corvette frigate and cruiser ships as the Telecommunications and Operational Information officer.

He participated in Operation Sharp Guard 1994-1995, then as a Lieutenant, he took his first command, a Coastal Patrol Vessel in 1997 and deployed to Sinai (Egypt) as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force MFO where he was appointed to Chief of Operations for the Italian Contingent.

Following these successes, he became the Chief of the Telecommunication Branch on board the aircraft carrier GARIBALDI in 1999, participating in NATO Operations in Kosovo Allied Force.

In 2001 he became the Telecommunication instructor to the Italian Navy Training Center and became active member of the NATO MAROPS Working Group, tasked for the development and management of maritime tactical doctrine.

Following his promotion to Lieutenant Commander, he attended the senior staff course at the Collège Interarmées de Défense, in Paris in 2003 where he continued to develop his naval career. He became head of Plans and Policy for the Italian High Readiness Force Headquarters COMITMARFOR, the lead for the resident Maritime Operations Planning Group (MOPG) and was part of the first NATO Response Force operation “Pakistan earthquake relief” in 2005.

With the rank of Commander, in 2006, he took the command of the Off-Shore Patrol Vessel “Comandante Foscari”, and participated in, Operation Enduring Freedom in the Arabic Gulf as part of Task Force 152, ADRION and the Proliferation Security Initiative.

Returning to Italy in 2007, he headed the International Cooperation Branch in the Italian Navy Fleet Headquarters, (CINCNAV) managing the Italian Navy Fleet participation in many of the International Cooperation initiatives and headed the newly established EU MCC.

In July 2010, he worked with the Italian Military Representative to NATO at the headquarters in Brussels; here he participated in representing Italy on the Military Committee Board and subsequent Plans and Policy working groups, particularly the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP). September 2013, saw him promoted to Captain, and was appointed to head of the Plans bureau, CINCNAV managing Italy’s international cooperation before taking command of CINCNAV Headquarters, Santa Rosa in 2014.

He became the head of Doctrine bureau among the Plans Operations and Strategy Department at the Italian Navy General Staff in November 2017.

He was then promoted to Rear Admiral became Deputy Commander of the EU Operational Headquarters for Operation ATALANTA desig in May 2018 and took office in June the same year.

He graduated in Maritime and Naval Sciences as well as Political Sciences. He speaks French, English, Spanish and some Portuguese. He is married to Manuela and they have three children.

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Deputy Operation Commander (DCom) exercises command in absence of the Operation Commander.


Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna

Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna was born in Catania, on 8 November 1968. He graduated from the Nautical Institute in Syracuse in 1987 and went onto study at the Italian Naval Academy until 1991.


His first naval appointment was on board ITS ALISEO where he qualified as the weapons and missile officer and became head of the Weapons Branch on board ITS ESPERO in 1995. During this time, he also became a qualified security service scuba diver before moving onto Chief Weapons and Chief Underwater Ops on Corvette URANIA 1996-1997.


On completion of the 23rd Staff course at the Naval Command School in Livorno in 2000, he took his first command, on board Off Shore Patrol Vessel SPICA, quickly followed by his second command, Corvette ALCIONE in 2001. Later that year he took up a position within the Multinational Peacekeeping Force MFO (Multinational Force and Observers) in Sinai (Egypt), as Senior Staff Naval Officer and Advisor at the Naval Headquarters Force stationed in El Gorah whilst maintaining national responsibilities and budget control.


On returning to Italy in 2002 he taught at the Naval Military School in Venice for three years before being promoted to Commander and becoming Staff Officer at the Education and Training Bureau of the Italian Defence General Staff until 2008. During this time he managed the higher education of Officers in Italy and abroad and facilitated the Italian NATO Training Group.


In October 2008, he was posted to ITS SCIROCCO as Executive Officer serving in IT Minex 2009 and later as Commanding officer on board ITS BORSINI for international operation activities and the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon finishing in 2010. Again, returning to Italy he took up an academic post for 4 years. He was Head of Artillery and Missile studies and coordinator for Bachelor of Maritime and Naval Science degree courses.


In October 2014 he took command of LPD, ITS San GIUSTO and took part in Operation MARE NOSTRUM and MARE SICURO in the Mediterranean Sea. Following this in 2015 he became the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Naval Division (Amphibious), followed by six months as Assistant to the Director of Personnel employment of Navy General Staff finishing in January 2018.


In February 2018 he became designated Force Commander of the Combined Task Force 465 Operation ATALANTA and promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.


Simone is married and has a 15-year-old daughter.

Force Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation.


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