chain of command

Major General Charlie Stickland

Major General Stickland joined the Royal Marines in 1987. His initial Commando and Fleet time saw service in Northern Ireland, anti smuggling operations in Hong Kong and numerous amphibious deployments to Norway, the Mediterranean rim and the Far East.

Selected for Staff College in 1999, he then spent a period in the Ministry of Defence. Firstly, in procurement and then becoming the MOD lead for Western and Southern Africa co-ordinating military activity across the region.

There then followed a period of intense operational activity: serving as the Senior UK Liaison Officer with the US 18th Airborne Corps in Baghdad (2005/6); Chief of Staff of the UK Task Force in Afghanistan (2006/7); and then commanding 42 Commando Group conducting aviation assault and influence operations across the southern provinces of Afghanistan (2008/9).

On promotion to Colonel, he led the Fleet Operational Policy team leading on the Commander in Chief’s ‘Gulf Preparedness Initiative’, counter-piracy operations and oversight the Maritime Trade Organisation node in Dubai.   The role of Chief of Staff of the Joint Force Headquarters then followed, leading on the generation and validation of the EU Battle Group Force Headquarters and a broader focus on UK crisis response dealing with the consequences of the Arab Spring in the Levant, Gulf and North Africa.

In 2014 having completed Higher Command & Staff Course, Brigadier Stickland assumed command of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines orchestrating the operational output of the Royal Marines. He capitalised on key US, French and Dutch partnerships and refocused the organisation, post Afghanistan, to deliver the agility required for the complexities of the modern contingent environment.

He was then appointed Chief Joint Force Operations returning to the Joint Force Headquarters with the military lead for UK Non-Discretionary Crisis Response. His lead for Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations and Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response saw engagement in most of the world’s hot spots and areas of potential instability.

He was promoted to Major General in October 2017 and then appointed Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force (Somalia) and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR) on 7 November 2017.

Maj Gen Charlie Stickland

The Operation Commander (Op Comd) 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 Marc Aussedat

Rear Admiral Marc Aussedat joined the French naval academy in 1988.

On completion of initial sea training in 1990-1991 he specialized in above water surface warfare He served on board FNS Commandant Riviere and Quartier-maître Anquetil taking part in operations Sharp Fence and Sharp Guard in the Adriatic, and in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean during Operation Artimon.

He was appointed as radar division head and principal warfare officer on board anti-aircraft destroyer Jean Bart in 1996.

In 1999 he took command of survey ship Laplace for her last surveys in the North New Caledonian Lagoon. Laplace then sailed westward back to Brest in a 4 month trip, during which she took part in a 2 month scientific mission in the north of the Arabian Sea.

Rear Admiral Aussedat then served from 2000 until 2002 as operations officer on board the frigate Guépratte. This period encompassed her trials, her maiden trip around the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic and her first Enduring Freedom mission.

Appointed as surface warfare department head in the school of maritime operations, he served for one year in Saint-Mandrier before joining the 11th session of the Joint Staff College in Paris.

From 2004 until 2007 he was in charge of officer recruiting within the Navy HR department.

He was the commanding officer of the frigate Courbet between December 2007 and July 2009. He took part into various operations off the Lebanese coast under the UNIFIL flag, and in the Gulf of Aden and the Somalian basin in counter-piracy operations from July until December 2008. He took part to the freeing of hostages taken on the French sailing ship Carre D’As IV.

He joined the French Joint Staff on August 2009 as navy coherence officer attached to the head of the international relations division.

Back at sea in command of Air Defence Destroyer Forbin from 2011 to 2013, he was deployed on three operational tours in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He was privileged to be selected in 2013 for the Centre des Hautes Etudes Militaires and took part in the 66th session of Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale.

From 2014 to 2018, back in the French Joint Staff, he served within the capability development branch: three years in charge of protection and security future assets and the last year as general secretary – deputy chief of the branch. He took part in the preparation of the Military Programming Law for the 2019-2025 period.

He was appointed in August 2018 deputy to the FRMARFOR commander in Toulon.

Since the 30th of January 2019 he is the EU operation Atalanta deputy commander in Northwood.

He is an officer of the Legion d’honneur, and has been awarded the national merit medal and military valour cross, and earned in 2005 an executive MBA degree from HEC business school.

Marc is married to Diane and father of four children.

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

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


Rear Admiral Ricardo A. Hernández

Rear Admiral Ricardo A. Hernández joined the Spanish Navy in 1979. He graduated in 1984 after completing the academic program in the Naval Academy, including a tour around the world on board the sailing ship “Juan Sebastián Elcano”.

In January 1986, after his first appointment on board the corvette “DIANA”, he was selected to attend the naval aviation course with the US. Navy. In March 1988, on completion of his training, he joined the Spanish 9th Squadron of AV-8Bs, based in Rota.

As Harrier pilot on board the Spanish carrier ESPS PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS, he has participated in several national and allied operations and exercises, and also conducted some cross-decks with US, UK and Italian aircraft carriers.

Once promoted to Lieutenant Commander he served in the Fleet Headquarters in Rota (Operations) and Navy General Headquarters in Madrid (Naval Aviation Branch).

In 1999 he graduated in the Naval War College. Then, he served again in the Navy General Headquarters, in the Ministry of Defence dealing with NATO and EU plans and policies and, from summer 2002 until summer 2006, as Naval Counsellor of the Spanish Ambassador to the EU, in Brussels.

From February to June 2009 he was detached to USNAVCENT/CMF in Bahrain, as Senior Spanish Representative.

From January to December 2010 he was appointed as Chief of Staff of SNMG2, on board HMS CHATTAM, HNLMS ZEVEN PROVINCIEN and HNLMS DE RUYTER. During the deployment, the SNMG2 took part during six months in the NATO’s counter piracy operation OCEAN SHIELD.

In January 2011 he was appointed as Head of the Operations Division of the Spanish Fleet HQ (ALFLOT N2-N3-N7), and in September 2012 he took command of the Spanish Navy Air Wing, until July 2014.
Back to the Navy HQ in Madrid, he was Head of the Naval Aviation Branch until his
promotion to Rear Admiral in October 2015.

As Real Admiral he served as Chief Of Staff of the Fleet HQ (ALFLOT) and since June
2017 as Commanding Officer Naval Action Group 2, on board LHD “Juan Carlos I”. He took up his post as Force Commander EU NAVFOR 31st rotation on 9 March 2019.

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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