chain of command

Major General Rob Magowan CBE

Major General Magowan joined the Royal Marines in 1989 after reading Chemistry at Southampton University.  On completion of his young officer training at the Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone, he conducted a number of troop command jobs, including a tour of Northern Ireland.  He then commanded R Company, Comacchio Group, followed by an appointment as the Naval Assistant to Commander in Chief Fleet.  He then attended the USMC Command and Staff Course, Quantico, where he was awarded a Masters degree.

On his return from the US, he was posted to HQ 3 UK Division as a Plans officer, during which time he deployed to Afghanistan in late 2001 on Operation FINGAL – the first multinational ISAF deployment to Kabul.  On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel 2002, he was appointed to 42 Commando Royal Marines as Second in Command and he deployed to Kuwait and Iraq for Operation TELIC 1.

In late 2003 he began a three year stint in London, beginning in the Cabinet Office Assessments Staff, working to the Joint Intelligence Committee.  In 2005 he was promoted Acting Colonel and assumed the Deputy Head position in the Afghan Drugs Inter-Departmental Unit, based in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

He assumed command of 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group Royal Marines in late 2006, deploying immediately to Helmand Province for Operation HERRICK 5. He was then promoted to Colonel in early 2009 to take up a Deputy Head post in Defence Intelligence.

He completed Higher Command and Staff Course in January 11 and on promotion to Brigadier he became Chief of Staff to the National Contingent Commander in Kabul for a year.  He took up the post of Commodore Naval Personnel Strategy in early 2013, before becoming Commander Joint Forces Intelligence Group in Jan 2015.

On promotion to Major General in June 2016, he became Commandant General Royal Marines (CGRM) and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR).

He was also appointed Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force (Somalia) on 3 June 2016.

Married to Charlotte, he has two young daughters and is an active mountaineer who continues to lead expeditions across the world. He is also an avid reader of European political history and a keen, albeit amateur, cook.

Operation Atalanta's new Operation Commander, Major General Rob Magowan CBE

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 Cristóbal González-Aller Lacalle

Rear Admiral Gonzalez-Aller Lacalle was born in Zaragoza in 1960.  After joining the Spanish Armada in 1978, he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1983.

At sea, he served on surface combatant ships (destroyers, corvettes, frigates, FPBs), in the training ship, ESPS Juan Sebastian de Elcano, and was Chief of Staff (COS) in the 21 Squadron of Escorts and in the High Readiness Forces Maritime (HRF(M)) – Spanish Maritime Forces HQ (SPMARFOR HQ).

His commands at sea include the coastal patrol boat, ESPS Marola, the oceanic patrol vessel, ESPS Centinela, the AEGIS frigate F-101, ESPS Alvaro de Bazan and the LHD, ESPS Juan Carlos I.

Ashore, he served in the Navy General Staff, in the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) 8, in the Navy School ETEA (Tactical Systems Department) and in the Joint Staff College.

He has completed the Electronic Warfare and Tactical Action Officer (TAO) course and is a graduate of the Spanish Naval War College (Staff Course) and United States Naval War College (Command Course).

Promoted to the rank of Admiral in 2012, he became the Chief of the Rota Naval Base in October 2012 until June 2014.  Between 2014 and July 2016 he was responsible for the General Services, Technical Assistance and CIS of the Spanish Navy.

Rear Admiral Gonzalez-Aller Lacalle assumed the role of Deputy Commander, EU Naval Force Somalia, Operation Atalanta, in July 2016.

He is married to Cristina and they have seven children.

Rear Admiral Gonzalez-Aller

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

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


Commodore René Luyckx

Commodore René Luyckx was born in Den Helder in 1962. In 1981 he joined the Royal Netherlands Naval Academy in Den Helder as a Midshipman. After receiving his commission in 1984, he served as a Watchkeeping officer and Mine Warfare officer on board the mine hunter HNLMS Maassluis.

He attended the University of Groningen in 1987 to complete his supplementary study Business Administration at the Naval Academy and afterwards served as a Watch keeping officer on board the frigate HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen. In 1989 he attended the Principal Warfare Course at the Naval School of Operations and specialized in communications. He served as Principal Warfare Officer and Communications Officer on board the oiler HNLMS Zuiderkruis and the air defence frigate HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck. HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck was deployed to the Persian Gulf during the Second Gulf War. She took part in operation Desert Storm and operation Desert Shield from November 1990 until April 1991. After a two year tour as an instructor in Electronic warfare at the Naval School of Operations, he served as Head of Operations on board the frigate HNLMS Bloys van Treslong. This ship was involved in embargo operations off the coast of the former Yugoslavian Republic in 1995.

From 1997 until 1999 he was assigned to the Department of Personnel as a detailer. Afterwards he attended the Advanced Military Staff Course at the Netherlands Defence College in Rijswijk and served as Executive Officer on board various frigates. Following promotion to Commander in 2002, he was assigned as Head of the Naval Recruitment Department in Amsterdam. In this job he was responsible for the recruitment and assignment of new naval personnel. After a period of two years as Human Resources Manager in the staff of the Commander Royal Netherlands Navy, he served as the commanding officer aboard the frigate HNLMS Van Amstel, from the beginning of 2008 until the beginning of 2010. After that, he served as Department head Personnel and Organization RNLN.

From mid-2014 until mid-2016 he commanded the amphibious transport ship HNLMS Johan de Witt. During this period he participated in several international exercises and was deployed to the European counter-piracy mission Atalanta.

Promoted to Commodore on 23 April, he assumed the role of Force Commander of the EU Naval Force Somalia, Operation ATALANTA, on Saturday 6 August 2016. He, together with his international staff will be embarked in the Operation ATALANTA flagship until mid-December.

Commodore Luyckx lives with his partner Anita in Groet. Together  they have four daughters. One of his passions is long-distant cycling.


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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