chain of command

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.

Portrait for Maj Gen Smith

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.


Brigadier General Dick Swijgman

Brigadier General Dick Swijgman was born in 1959 and joined the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1977. After achieving his Commission in the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (RNLMC), he completed the British Royal Marines Commando Course and parachute training in the UK.

Promoted to Captain in 1985, he served for 3 years as a Troop Commander with 45 Commando Group and acted as a mentor for Basic Marine Training in Rotterdam. Between 1987 and 1990 he commanded a company of the 1st Battalion RNLMC.

After promotion to Major in 1990, he served for two years as an exchange officer with the United States Marine Corps (USMC). From 1992 until 1994, he was Executive Officer of the Marine Barracks on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

From 1994 to 1995 he fulfilled the tasks of Operations Officer of the 1st Battalion and attended the Advanced Strategic Studies course at the Netherlands Defence College.  In 1996 he was appointed as the Deputy Head of the Personnel Division at the Headquarters of the Netherlands Marine Corps.

After being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in December 1998, he was appointed as Head of the Personnel Division at the aforementioned headquarters. In 2000, he was appointed to The Hague as a Staff Officer at the Directorate of Personnel of the Royal Netherlands Navy.  In December of the same year, he was deployed to Ethiopia for seven months as the Deputy Commander of the International Battle Group in the central sector of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In 2001 he assumed command of the 1st Battalion RNLMC and in 2003 the Battalion deployed to southern Iraq for 5 months as part of the multi-national division of the Stabilization Force, Iraq. This was followed by a posting to STRIKFOR NATO in Naples as the Deputy Head of Plans.

He returned to the Netherlands in 2006 and on promotion to Colonel was appointed to Marine Training Command. In 2007, he attended the top-level Advanced Defence Management Studies course at the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague. In 2008, he was appointed as Head of the Materiel Readiness Division of the Directorate of Operational Readiness of the Defence Staff in The Hague.

On 12 June 2010 he was promoted to Brigadier General and assumed command of the Netherlands Naval Command in the Caribbean, the Directorate of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard and Task Group 4.4.

He was appointed as the Deputy Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force Somalia, Operation Atalanta on 1 August 2014.

Brigadier General Dick Swijgman is married and has two children.  He has a passion for reading and enjoys participating in and watching a wide range of sporting activities.

Brigadier General Dick Swijgman

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

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


Rear Admiral Guido Rando

Rear Admiral Guido Rando graduated from the Naval Academy as an ensign in 1983. Following initial sea appointments in frigates, including time as a Gunnery Officer, he commanded the Auxiliary Ship ITS Simeto in 1991. Upon promotion to Lieutenant Commander he worked at the Italian General Staff as the section head of Personnel and Manpower.

In 1999 he spent one year as the Executive Officer of the Destroyer ITS Mimbelli before promotion to Commander and 2 years as Commanding Officer of the Frigate ITS Aliseo between 2000 and 2002 when it was deployed as part of Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean.

Upon promotion to Captain he commanded the Destroyer ITS Durand de la Penne which was followed by an appointment commanding the Mine Countermeasures and Auxiliary squadrons in Le Spezia.

Upon promotion to Rear Admiral he was appointed to EU Naval Force as the Deputy Operation Commander. He then returned to Italy to command the Italian First Naval Group and then more recently he commanded the 29th Naval Group for Operation Mare Nostrum conducting Maritime Security Operations and Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean off the coast of Sicily.

Rear Admiral Guido Rando assumed the role of Force Commander of the EU Naval Force embarked in Italian frigate ITS Andrea Doria on 6 August 2014.

Rear Admiral Guido Rando

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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