Chain of Command

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

Vice Admiral José M. Núñez was born in Ferrol on November 20th, 1964.

He was appointed to the Spanish Naval Academy in 1983 and graduated as commissioned Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) on July 16, 1988. He later went through the US Navy Aviation Cadet Training Program to take the Naval Jet Pilot course within the Training Command. After concluding his flight training, he served with the 8th Squadron, flying the Harrier “AV-8S”. At sea, his fleet duties have included assignments as Communications Officer of Aircraft Carrier “Príncipe de Asturias”, as Commanding Officer of the Patrol Boat “Cándido Perez” and he also commanded Minehunter “Turia”. While in command, “Turia” deployed twice integrated in MCMFORSOUTH. Vice Admiral Nuñez also commanded the First Squadron of the Spanish Mine Counter Measures Force.

Other duty assignments, at sea and ashore, include: Staff Chief Operations, Spanish Fleet Amphibious and Projection Group in Operation Enduring Freedom (2002), Operation Iraki Freedom (2003) and Chief Operations of the Spanish Aircraft Flotilla. He was later appointed Chief Current Intelligence, STRIKFORNATO HQ in Naples, participating in NRF-12. He has been XO and Chief of Studies at the Spanish Naval Academy. After that, he served as Chief Plans in the Maritime Action Force Staff, as Chief of the Officers Section at the Spanish Directorate for Naval Studies and, finally, Superintendent of Spanish Naval Academy. He specialised in naval Communications, completed the Advanced Command Staff Course in the United Kingdom and has a Master’s Degree in Defense Studies of the King College in London. He also completed the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander Course at the US Naval War College.

In September 2018, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and designated Chief of Staff of the Spanish Fleet on 1st October, 2018, where he also served as Chief of Staff for the Maritime Component Commander during National Operations against the COVID-19 pandemic: ‘BALMIS’ and ‘Mission BALUARTE’.

On 23rd February, 2021, he was promoted to Vice Admiral (OF7) and was assigned as Commander of the High Readiness Maritime HQ of the Spanish Fleet. On April the 21st, he was appointed as EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Commander.

Vice Admiral Núñez has been awarded with the Spanish Grand Cross of Naval Merit, the Spanish Grand Cross of the Royal and Military Order of San Hermenegildo and several national and international decorations.

He is married to Cristina and has three children, Paloma, Jose and Cristina.

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

Rear Admiral Spagnoletta was born in Bisceglie on September 26th 1965.

He attended the ITN Naval Academy from October 1984 till April 1988 being commissioned as Ensign.

From 1988 till 1996 he was first Operations Officer and then A/S Weapons Officer on board of several IT Navy Submarines, such as ITS Di Cossato (1988-1992) and ITS Longobardo (1992-1996), with participation at several NATO massive exercises.

From 1996 to 1997 he served as Commanding Officer of IT Aux Ships Basento with the rank of Lieutenant.

From 1997 to 1999 he served as Executive Officer of IT Sub Gazzana and Longobardo.

From 1999 to 2001 he served as Commanding Officer of IT Sub Gazzana with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

From 2001 to 2005 he was assigned at the IT Naval Submarine School, as Instructor in tactical training.

From 2005 to 2006 he served as Commanding Officer at the Tenth Coastal Naval Group in Sinai Peninsula with the rank of Commander; at the same time he was Italian Contingent Commander.

From 2006 to 2009 he was assigned as staff officer at the IT Directorate of Naval Armament in Rome, where he took part to the procurement of two new submarines.

From 2009 to 2014 he served as Chief of Foreign Navy Office and as Commanding officer of the IT shipbuilding equipment center (MARINALLES). During this period, in 2012, he was assigned as COS of NATO “Africa Partnership Station” on board USS Fort McHenry.

From 2014 to 2015 he was Commanding Officer of the Naval Base in August (Sicily) with the rank of Captain.

From 2015 to 2016 he served as Chief of Financial Office at the Infrastructures Department at the ITN General Staff in Rome.

From 2016 to 2018 he served as Operation and Acceptance Officer (FREMM frigates) at the Organization for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR).

From 2018 to now he is Chief of Infrastructure Office at the Maritime Shore Command North Italy in La Spezia.

During his career Rear Admiral Spagnoletta has been awarded with many commendations for his participation in several maritime operations, in particular Africa Partnership Station 2012 and IT Contingent Commander in MFO Sinai, and in 2010 he was awarded “Knight for the merit of Italian Republic” by President Napolitano.

Rear Admiral Spagnoletta lives in La Spezia, he’s married with Maria Teresa and has two sons , Francesco (20) and Alessandro (18).

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

Commodore Nuno Cortes Lopes was born on the 16th of June 1966 and joined the Portuguese Naval Academy in October 1985, being graduated in October 1990. In 1992, he attended the ASW Officer Specialist Course.
He served in several ships and Staffs as Bridge Watch Officer, Navigation Officer, ASW Officer, Head of Operations Department, Maritime Operations Officer and Battle Watch Captain at the HRF SP (HQ), Rota, Spain (NATO Response Force) and Operations Staff Officer, at the Portuguese Maritime Task Group and the Portuguese Joint Immediate Reaction Task Force. He was the Commanding Officer of two naval units: a patrol boat (1999/2001) and a frigate (2012/2015). During his career embarked he participated in several deployments, exercises, and real-world operations, including two STANAVFORLANT deployments and two EUROMARFOR activations, Operation Granby (UK Operation at the Persian Gulf, 1990/1991) and Operations Sharp Vigilance and Sharp Guard (Adriatic, 1992).
Ashore, served in the Fleet Command (COMNAV) as Exercises Officer, in the Naval Staff as Coordinator of Portuguese Navy (PoN) international relations, in the PoN Chief of Naval Staff Cabinet as Military Assistant, in the Maritime Police as Coordinator of the Maritime Police General-Command Staff, and simultaneously as Commanding Officer of the PoN South Maritime Zone (Algarve), Portuguese South Region Maritime Police Commander and Faro Port Captain.
In 2019, attended the Flag Officer promotion course at the Portuguese Military University Institute (IUM), and in September 2020 took over as IUM Coordinator of the Human Behavior and Resources Administration teaching area.
He was awarded several commendations and decorations, including Commend of Avis Order, six Distinguished Service, and two Meritorious Service, as well as campaign and international medals.
In December 2022 he assumed the command of TF 465 in EUNAVFOR - Operation ATALANTA.
Commodore Nuno Cortes Lopes is married, has two grown-up children, and likes to play football, tennis, and padel.