Major General Martin Smith MBE
Major General Martin Smith joined the Royal Marines in 1984 having completed a degree in zoology at Bristol University. In his first four years of service he served as a Troop Commander in Northern Ireland and Norway, a Forward Air Controller and a Mortar Troop Commander. The early 90s saw him specialise in reconnaissance, including a deployment to Operation DESERT STORM in 1991. He attended Royal Navy Staff Course in 1995, where he completed a MA in Defence Studies.
In 1996 and 1997 he served as an Operations Officer, before moving to Headquarters Royal Marines as Staff Officer to the Chief of Staff. He was awarded the MBE in 1998 and was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. During 2000 and 2001 he worked in the Operations Division of the Permanent Joint Headquarters.
After the terrorist incidents of 11 September 2001, he deployed to US CENTCOM in Tampa with the initial UK advisory team, returning to Britain in November of that year as Second in Command of 45 Commando. His tour of duty with 45 Commando included Operation JACANA in Afghanistan. During Operation TELIC 1 in Iraq he served as a Deputy Chief of Operations within the multinational headquarters, subsequently taking command of the United Kingdom Landing Force Command Support Group, now 30 Commando IX Group, the unit responsible for reconnaissance, intelligence and communications within 3 Commando Brigade.
From May 2005, he served in the MOD Directorate of Joint Commitments before promotion to Colonel in August 2006 and a move to FLEET Operations as Head of Plans. He became Deputy Commander of 3 Commando Brigade in July 2008, commanding Battle Group Centre South in Afghanistan (Op HERRICK 9) and the Landing Force for the TAURUS deployment to the Far East. A period in the MOD Naval Staff was followed by promotion to Brigadier and a move to the Defence Reform Unit. He commanded 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines from November 2011 until June 2013 and then attended the Royal College of Defence Studies for a year. On promotion to Major General in June 2014, he became Commandant General Royal Marines (CGRM) and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR).
He was appointed Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force on 28 August 2014.
Martin is married to Sue and lives in Scotland. His hobbies include mountaineering, sea kayaking and sailing.
Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia
The Operation Commander (OpCdr) 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 Jonas Wikström
Rear Admiral Jonas Wikstrӧm graduated with honours from the Swedish Naval Academy in 1986 before serving onboard Mine Sweepers and Mine Counter Measure Vessels. He has been Commanding Officer of the Mine Counter Measure Vessels HMS Spârӧ and HMS Sturkӧ, and has also commanded the 42 Mine Counter Measures Squadron.
He has served in various positions at the Swedish Armed Forces HQ, including procurement and development. For 2 years he worked at NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, USA.
In 2007, after being promoted to Captain, he was appointed ACOS Operations at the Swedish Maritime Component Command. From 2009 to 2013 he was Commanding Officer of the 4th Naval Warfare Flotilla and subsequently held the position of ACOS Operations at the Swedish Joint Forces Command.
Since 2001 he has been Aide de Camp to His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Rear Admiral Wikstrӧm is married to Johanna and has 2 children. He enjoys sailing, skiing and military history and is a member of the Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences.
Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia
The Deputy Operation Commander (DCom) exercises command in absence of the Operation Commander.
Rear Admiral Jan Kaack
Rear Admiral Jan Kaack is an Above Water Warfare Officer by trade. He served on Fast Patrol Boats with guided-missiles (FPB) as Operations Officer until 1991, on board a Helicopter Carrier as Navigation Officer (FS JEANNE D’ARC 1991 – 1992), as well as on board Destroyers as Above Water Warfare Officer (FGS ROMMEL 1995 – 1997) and Executive Officer (FGS MOELDERS 1999 – 2001). He commanded FGS WOLF and FGS PANTHER of the 3rd FPB Squadron from 1992 to 1994 and Frigate BAYERN from 2003 to 2004.
His posts as Staff Officer included a tour as NATO J5 Staff Officer at Regional Headquarters Allied Forces Northern Europe in Brunssum, the Netherlands (2001 – 2002). He was also Deputy Branch Head within the Military Policy Division of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Berlin (2004 – 2006). As Course Director for the International Admiral Staff Officer Course (2007 – 2008), he was promoted to Captain and subsequently took over as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of German Naval Flotilla 1 at Kiel.
The MoD called again in 2012 and Captain Kaack left for Berlin to serve as Branch Head within the Strategy and Operations Directorate, being regionally responsible for Sub-Sahel Africa, the Americas and the Arctic.
In 2014, he was posted to the new German Navy Headquarters at Rostock, where he spent six months as Branch Head of the Concepts and International Cooperation Branch.
On 24 April 2015, it was time to return to Kiel again to assume his present post as Commander German Naval Flotilla 1 and Director NATO Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in February 2016 and will serve as the Force Commander, EU Naval Force Atalanta, from March to August 2016.
Rear Admiral Jan Kaack is a graduate of the German Armed Forces University (MBA), the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College (both in Hamburg) and the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island (2007).
A native of Kiel, the town on the Baltic Sea where he was raised and educated, the Rear Admiral is married with three children. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and sporting activities, such as sailing in the Baltic Sea, mountain climbing and running.
Force Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia
The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation.