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.


Rear Admiral Christoph Joachim Müller-Meinhard

Rear Admiral Christoph Joachim Müller-Meinhard was born in Cuxhaven, Germany, in 1964.  He joined the German Navy in 1984 and on completion of basic naval officer training, he attended the Federal German Armed Forces University of Hamburg, graduating in 1988.

On completion of his advanced officer training, he served in various frigates, with naval deployments including Operation Sharp Guard in 1994.

Between 1996-1998 he attended the German Armed Forces Staff College.  On successful completion, he was posted to the German Embassy in London as the Assistant Naval Attaché for three years.

In 2001 he was assigned as the Executive Officer of FGS Lubeck, which included a deployment on Operation Active Endeavour.

In 2003 he was assigned to the German Ministry of Defence in Bonn for two years as the Desk Officer in charge of Maritime Planning and Policy.

In 2005 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of FGS Niedersachsen.

In 2007 he was assigned to the Ministry of Defence in Berlin as the Desk Officer in charge of Strategic Affairs.  During this tour, he was deployed on Operation UNIFIL.

In 2009 he was appointed as Commander of the 4th Frigate Squadron based in Wilhelmshaven.  This tour included deployments as the Task Group Commander Naval Task Group for FLOTEX 2011 and EAV 2012.

In 2012 he was posted to the Planning Office of the Bundeswehr in Berlin as the Division Chief.

In 2013 he was assigned to the Ministry of Defence in Bonn as the Branch Chief for Planning Processes and Principles.

In 2015 he was appointed as Commander of German Flotilla 2.

On 22 July 2015 he was appointed Deputy Commander (DCOM) of the EU Naval Force Somalia, Operation Atalanta.

Rear Admiral Müller-Meinhard is married with three children.

Rear Admiral Muller-Meinhard

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

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


Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba

Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba received his commission as Lieutenant Junior Grade in 1983. Following assignments on a Minesweeper and a Frigate, he was appointed the Executive Officer of a Minehunter and then a Corvette.

In July 1988, he specialised as an anti-submarine Warfare Officer. In September 1993, he was appointed the Commanding Officer of ESPS Espalmador, before going on to command ESPS Guadalmedina, ESPS Marques de la Ensenada and ESPS Juan Sebastián de Elcano.

Following promotion to Lieutenant Commander in May 1995, Admiral Gómez held positions in the Spanish Navy Staff, Air Combat Command Staff and Defence Joint Staff. In July 1998, he graduated from the Naval Warfare College.

On promotion to Commander (July 2002), Admiral Gómez was stationed in the Spanish Royal Household, where he was assigned to the Military Chambers, before serving as Aide-de-Camp to His Majesty the King of Spain.
In August 2009, he was promoted to Captain and assumed the position as Chief of Staff (COS) to Combined Task Force 151, which is a counter-piracy mission operating off the coast of Somalia. Following this appointment, in July 2010, he served as Secretary-General of the Spanish Navy Staff.

Admiral Gómez was later the Head of the International Engagement Department at the Spanish Navy Staff, before assuming the role of Force Commander of the EU Naval Force, on 6 May 2015.
He is married to Pilar Botia and they have three daughters Pilar, Marta and Celia.

Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba

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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