EU Naval Force - Somalia
Operation ATALANTA


chain of command

Major General Antonio Planells Palau

MG Antonio Planells Palau was born in Madrid on August 16th 1959. He joined the Spanish Navy on August 16th 1978 graduating as First Lieutenant (Marine Corps) on July 16th 1983. In July 1986 he was promoted to Captain. Subsequent promotions dates include: Major (October 1995), Lieutenant-Colonel (July 2001), Colonel (July 2009), Brigadier General on March 22nd 2014 and Major General on January 12th 2018.

His professional career includes, among other posts: First Lieutenant in the Royal Guards (Guardia Real) and the “Tercio de Armada” Fire Support Acquisition & Control Squad. As Captain he was in charge of the Madrid Security Company and later assigned to the Operations Platoon of the Reinforced Landing Group. He also served in the 1st Landing Battalion embarking in the Landing Flotilla Staff and the attack transport ship “ARAGON.” As Major, he was posted to the Spanish Navy Studies Commission, the Marine Corps General Headquarters and appointed Logistics Chief of the Marine Corps Brigade. As Lieutenant-Colonel he was Technical Advisor in the Chief of the Defence Staff Inner Cabinet, Chief of Staff of the “Tercio de Armada,” and First Liaison Officer of the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico (Virginia). As Colonel he was assigned to the Marine Corps Force Staff as Chief of the Plans Section, and was subsequently appointed Director of the Chief of Naval Staff (AJEMA) Inner Cabinet.

From 4th September 2015 until 12th January 2018 he commanded the Amphibious Brigade “Tercio de Armada.”
On the 16th of January 2018 he was appointed Commander of the Spanish Marine Corps. Major General Planells’ international assignments include: United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) in 1990, and commanding officer (Major) of a Marine Corps Tactical Sub-group in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) in 1999.

Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

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.


Rear Admiral Corrado CAMPANA

Rear Admiral Campana was born in Rome on 13th September 1968.

On completion of the high school, in 1987 he entered the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno, and attended the 4-year Formation Course for Line Officers until 1991 when he was commissioned as Ensign.

After the training period onboard the Cruiser ANDREA DORIA, he achieved the qualification in Naval Artillery and Missile Systems, and with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade he was appointed as Weapons Officer on board the Frigates LIBECCIO since 1992 to 1994 and MAESTRALE since 1994 to 1995.

On completion of the Professional Specialization Course, he achieved the specialization in Naval Weapons Direction, and with the rank of Lieutenant, he was appointed as Head of Missiles Branch on board the Destroyer ARDITO since 1996 to 1998.

After attending the Staff Officers Course at the Naval War School in Livorno and the Naval Command School in Augusta, since 1999 to 2000 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of the auxiliary ship PONZA, participating in the military Peace Operation in Albania.

At the end of the Command period, he embarked on board the Destroyer LUIGI DURAND DE LA PENNE, wherewith the rank of Lieutenant Commander he was appointed as Head of Weapons Department until 2002 and as Operations Officer since 2002 to 2004, participating in the Operation Enduring Freedom and attending the B.O.S.T. in Plymouth (UK) in 2004.

Since 2004 to 2005 he was appointed at the Multinational Force and Observers (M.F.O.) in the Sinai as Senior Staff Officer/Naval Advisor to the Force Commander in the Headquarters in El-Gorah (Egypt) and 2IC of the Italian Contingent.

Since 2005 to 2006 he attended the Superior Staff Course of the Italian Joint War College and the Course of International Humanitarian Law at the Centre for Defence High Studies in Rome, and achieved the Master in International and Military-strategic Studies at the L.U.I.S.S. “Guido Carli” University in Rome.

Since July 2006 to July 2008 he was appointed at the Command in Chief of the Italian Fleet, in the N7 Training Division, as Head of the Artillery and Missile Systems Section.

Since July 2008 to August 2009 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of the Frigate GRANATIERE, participating in the Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) as Flagship during the period of Italian Command of the Force.

At the end of this Command period, he was appointed ACOS N3 Operations in the Staff of the Commander Italian Maritime Forces (COMITMARFOR) in Taranto, participating in the Staff certification and the readiness period of the NATO NRF 14. During this time he was also appointed at the EUNAVFOR OHQ in Northwood (UK) as ACOS CJ3 Operations for the EU anti-piracy Operation ATALANTA in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden.

Since September 2010 to July 2011 he was appointed at the Centre for High Defense Studies in Rome as Tutor to the attendees of the Superior Staff Course of the Italian Joint War College.

Since 2011 to 2013 he was appointed at the Italian Joint Operations Headquarters in Rome, as Head of Maritime Operations Section (J3), also managing the Italian participation in the NATO Operation Unified Protector in Libya.

Since 2013 to 2017 he was appointed at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre in Souda Bay, Crete, Greece as Director of the Training Support and Transformation Directorate.

Since 2017 to 2019 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of the Navy Headquarters “Santa Rosa” in Rome, base of the Command in Chief of the Italian Fleet and of depending Operational Commands.

Since October 2019 he is appointed at the Italian Joint Operations Headquarters in Rome, as Head of Division J7 Exercises.

Currently, Rear Admiral Campana is serving as the EU operation Atalanta deputy commander in Rota.

Rear Admiral Campana has achieved the Master’s Degree in Maritime and Naval Science at the University of Pisa, the Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Studies in Trieste, and the Master in International and Military-strategic Studies at the L.U.I.S.S. “Guido Carli” University in Rome, and he has been awarded the following:

  • Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic;
  • Mauriziana Medal for extended meritorious Service in the Italian Armed Forces;
  • Bronze Medal for merit of long Command (10 years);
  • Silver Medal for long service on board Naval Units (15 years);
  • Golden Cross for long service in the Italian Navy (25 years);
  • Commemorative Cross for national peace operations abroad;
  • NATO Medal for peace operation in the former-Jugoslavia (Operation Sharp Guard/Sharp Fence);
  • WEU Medal for peace operation in the former-Jugoslavia (Operation Sharp Guard);
  • Commemorative Cross for military peace mission in Albania (Operation Albania 2);
  • Commemorative Cross for international mission Operation Enduring Freedom;
  • Commemorative Cross for military peace mission in the Sinai, Egypt;
  • WEU Medal for anti-piracy Operation ATALANTA;
  • Commemorative Cross for military Operation Mare Sicuro;
  • Ribbon for meritorious service in the staff of the Command in Chief of the Italian Fleet;
  • Ribbon for meritorious service in the staff of the Italian Joint Operations

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

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


Rear Admiral Ignacio Villanueva Serrano

Rear Admiral Ignacio Villanueva is a 1987 graduate of the Spanish Naval Academy.

In 1989 he earned his US Navy wings, becoming a Naval Aviator. He then flew the AV-8V PLUS on board the Spanish carrier ‘PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS.’ During that period, he was also appointed as an exchange pilot with the Spanish Airforce, flying the EF-18 A+ and taking part in the B-H conflict, where he flew several combat missions deployed from Aviano AB, Italy.

He has commanded the gun patrol boat ‘P-11 BARCELO’, the high seas patrol boat ‘P-63 ARNOMENDI’, the LST ‘L-42 PIZARRO’, the Fleet Air Arm ‘FLOAN’ and the Airfield of the Rota Naval Base. He was the Director of the Fleet Naval Aviation School and the CO of the HARRIER 9th Squadron.

Ashore, he has served in a variety of assignments, most notably as a staff officer in the International Relations Department at the Navy HQ, as ACOS N3 in the SPMARFOR High Readiness Maritime HQ, and as Head of the Operations department at the Spanish Fleet HQ.

Abroad he was stationed in Mons, Belgium, serving at SHAPE J5 as the ACO capability requirements and force planning officer; and in Pristina, Kosovo working as peace observer and liaison officer between KFOR HQ and UNMIK HQ.

Additionally, he has attended several national and NATO courses including the NATO Operational Planning, NATO Staff Officer Defense Planning and NATO expeditionary operations courses. He graduated with distinction from the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, after having completed the Naval Staff and the Naval Command Courses. He also obtained a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the same US Naval War College. His academic background is completed with a post as associated professor at the High Defense Studies Center in Madrid, Spain.

As Flag Officer he has been appointed as 2nd Commander of the High Readiness Maritime HQ and most recently Force Commander of the EU NAVFOR Op Atalanta.

He has several Navy medals, one UN medal, one NATO medal and one SPAF medal, and numerous awards and citations.

He is married to Matilde Martin and has four children.

Force Commander

The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation: Spanish Frigate Numancia, Italian Frigate Carlo Bergamini, German and Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircrafts (Cisne and Jester) and Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)


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