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Navy Command

Navy Command
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active2010 - present
Country United Kingdom
AllegianceQueen Elizabeth II
BranchRoyal Navy
Part ofMinistry of Defence, Naval Service
Garrison/HQHQ HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Hampshire
Admiral Sir Philip Jones

Navy Command is the current headquarters body of the British Royal Navy, and its major organisational grouping.[1] It is both a military command, controlled and directed by the First Sea Lord in London through Navy Command Headquarters, on Whale Island, the base of the most senior RN officers,[2] and as a budgetary grouping.

On 1 April 2006 the Fleet Top Level Budget was established. A Top Level Budget (TLB) is the major financial accounting group of the MOD. On 1 April 2010 the Fleet TLB was renamed Navy Command following the merger of the Commander-in-Chief Fleet and the Chief-of-Naval Personnel also Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command.[3] Thus Navy Command is the Top Level Budget (holder) for the RN.[4] Navy Command supports the First Sea Lord in the management of the Command, and delivers the Service's current and future outputs as articulated in the Command Plan.[5]


Prior to 1964 responsibility for control and direction of the British Naval Affairs lay with Department of Admiralty, naval command lay with the Admiralty Naval Staff. Following the merger of the Admiralty in 1964 into the new Ministry of Defence it became known as the Navy Department.[6][7] The Royal Navy was historically divided into a number of fleets and ashore commands, prominent examples being the Home Fleet and Portsmouth Command. By the 1960s a system was introduced to change the previous, globally dispersed assets, the fleet system was replaced at first by a Western Fleet and Eastern Fleet. However these were also eventually abolished and their units amalgamated into CINCFLEET.[8] At the same time, the commands established to manage individuals naval bases were replaced in 1969 after the post of Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth was merged with that of Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth to form Naval Home Command. As overseas bases continued to be reduced, the Navy's shore establishments became more concentrated in the UK, under Naval Home Command.

Navy Command Headquarters

The Navy Command Headquarters is based at Whale Island, Portsmouth, it also includes the Command Centre in Northwood, and also has support staff in Portsmouth Naval Base.[9]

The purpose-built Headquarters at Whale Island was opened in 2002 was named after Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach, the First Sea Lord during the Falklands War. The purpose of the NCHQ, as the higher echelon of Navy Command, is the carry out three main tasks: Force Generation, Planning for the future and Advice, Assurance and Accountability.[10]

Structure of the Navy Command

The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, is the Royal Navy's professional head and Chairman of the Navy Board. He is responsible to the Secretary of State for the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Naval Service, and supports the Secretary of State for Defence in the management and direction of the Armed Forces.

The Fleet Commander exercises Full Command, on behalf of the First Sea Lord, over all Fleet Units, Battlestaffs, the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Marines. He is responsible for the generation of units for tasking, and the operation of the Fleet in meeting standing commitments, conduct of current operations, and maintaining their contingent capability, as directed by Head Office and articulated in the Navy Command Plan.[11]

The Second Sea Lord (2SL) leads Navy Command HQ and is responsible for the Development and Delivery of future and current capability in support of the Fleet Commander, as detailed in the Navy Command Plan.[12]

Office of the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

As of 6 April 2017:[13][14]

Senior Naval Staff


Fleet Command

Office of the Fleet Commander

UK Maritime Forces

UK Amphibious Forces

Surface Fleet

Naval Training

Maritime Operations

Regional Forces

Naval Personnel and Capability

Office of the Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff

Second Sea Lord is responsible for the delivery of the Naval Service’s current and future personnel, equipment and infrastructure.

(Aviation and Carriers)

(Carrier Strike and Aviation)
  • Assistant Chief of Staff Carrier Strike and Aviation.
(Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton)
  • Commanding Officer Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, (CO LV).

(Naval Capability)

  • Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Capability), (ACNS Cap).
(Information Warfare)
  • Assistant Chief of Staff Warfare, (COS W).
(Maritime Capability)
  • Assistant Chief of Staff Maritime Capability, (COS Mar Cap).
(Maritime Warfare)
  • Assistant Chief of Staff Warfare, (COS W).
(Navy Safety Center)
  • Navy Safety Director.

(Naval Personnel)

Naval personnel is responsible for the sustainable delivery of sufficient, capable and motivated personnel to the Naval Service in support of Defence Outcomes. Addionally is responsible for all non-operational personnel within HM Naval Service.

(Naval Secretariat)

The Naval Secreraiat provides First Sea Lord with advice on all matters relating to Flag and General Officers' appointing.

(Royal Naval Reserve)

Royal Naval Reserve is responsible for all reserve personnel within HM Naval Service


(Medical Department (Naval)
(Royal Naval Medical Service)
(Navy Legal Services)
(Maritime Reserves)
(Personnel and Capability)

(Surface Ships)

Responsible for ensuring that DD/FF, SSN, SSBN, MW and HM vessels are generated fit for task through integration of all the Lines of Development.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Commodore Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Assistant Chief of Staff Afloat Support is responsible for the recruitment and management of 2,000 RFA employees and thirteen ships, head of the MOD Maritime Specialist Service and senior MOD shipping Subject Matter Expert.


The senior Royal Navy Representative within Scotland and Northern Ireland liaising with the Scottish government and NI Assembly on Naval issues.

Assistant Chief of Staff, Submarines

Responsible for Clyde Submarine delivery, linking the Defence Nuclear Organisation, the Submarine Delivery Agency and Waterfront in support of Submarine capability.


Director Naval Support is responsible for HM Naval Bases Clyde, Devonport and Portsmouth, naval estate infrastructure, oil fuel depots, engineering support and logistics policy and wider assurance and advice on all matters relating to operational support to the Royal Navy.

Engineering Support

Responsible for the Engineering Support Division, which entails the overseeing of Project Faraday and the Support Improvement Plan, and also for the Naval Bases and Oil Fuel Depots.

Logistics and Infrastructure

Manages the current and articulates the future logistic sustainability requirement for the maritime environment, and leads on both the Logistics and Infrastructure lines of development working within the Capability Division.

Navy Infrastructure

Responsible for providing an optimised Maritime Infrastructure that supports the delivery of the Royal Navy's Operational and Training outputs, identifying infrastructure priorities to meet core capability requirements, and ensuring delivery of the projects and programmes to meet them.

Clyde Naval Base

Clyde Naval Base comprises the Faslane Naval Base, the Royal Navy Armament Depot Coulport, HMS Caledonia at Rosyth, the Navy Buildings at Greenock and a number of military ranges.

Devonport Naval Base

Devonport Naval Base is home to the Royal Navy's large amphibious ships, the Hydrographic Surveying Squadron, Trafalgar Class submarines and approximately two-thirds of the frigate force; it is also the principal base for Flag Officer, Sea Training.

Portsmouth Naval Base

Portsmouth Naval Base is the home of almost two-thirds of the Royal Navy's surface ships, including the current carriers, Type 45s, Type 42s, Hunt Class minehunters, and half of the Type 23 fleet; and is the home of the Queen Elizabeth Class Super Carriers.

Supporting Navy Command

Command Centre Northwood

Northwood is the UK's principal military headquarters site is home to 5 operational HQs. The Joint Forces Command HQ, including Permanent Joint Headquarters and the Joint Forces Headquarters, the Commander Operations for the Royal Navy.[15]

Defence Equipment and Support

Formed in April 2007 from the amalgamation of both the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) and the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) to form Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). It provides naval equipment and also responsible for sustaining the Fleet and ensuring that the required vessels and units are available for operations according to the command plan. Superintended by the Chief of Staff, who administers the Maritime Warfare Centre, communications systems, engineering and certain functions of Fleet Air Arm support.[16] [17][16]

Flag Officer Sea Training

Is the organisation responsible for training of all Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.[18]

Fleet Battle Staff

Based in two locations (Portsmouth and Plymouth) the Fleet Battle Staff is the operational planning department, that plans exercises and operations for large multinational naval and marine task groups across the globe. The actual conduct of naval operations is generally the responsibility of the Joint Forces Command.[19]

Maritime Warfare Centre

The Maritime Warfare Centre is an Operational Knowledge-Centered Support service allows the Royal Navy the ability to observe and process all aspects of operational experience to learn lessons from previous operations and enhance fighting power.[20]

Royal Naval Chaplaincy Service

The Royal Naval Chaplaincy Service is responsible to the First Sea Lord for provision of pastoral support, ensuring the spiritual and pastoral needs of all Service personnel the service is superintended by the Chaplain of the Fleet.[21]


  1. Office, Cabinet (January 2012). "Top Level Budgets(TLB): Navy Command: Major organisational grouping of the MOD.". The Civil Service Yearbook (48 ed.). Norwich, England: The Stationery Office Ltd. p. 108. ISBN 9781905262496.
  2. "Navy Command senior, as of April 2017 - GOV.UK". Ministry of Defence UK. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018. Unit:Navy Command
  3. "CIVILIAN WORKFORCE BY GRADE EQUIVALENCE AND BUDGETARY AR" (PDF). London England: Ministry of Defence, Defence Analytical Services & Advice. p. 5. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  4. Hayman, Charles (2014). The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom 2014-2015. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. p. 14. ISBN 9781783463510.
  5. Ministry of Defence UK (26 April 2018). "SECTION 2 – DEFENCE OPERATING MODEL CONTEXT" (PDF). Parliament, United Kingdom. p. 1. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  6. Stationery Office, H.M. (31 October 1967). The Navy List. Spink and Sons Ltd, London, England. pp. 524–532.
  7. Lagassé, ed. by Paul (2000). "Admiralty". The Columbia encyclopedia (6. ed.). [New York]: Columbia Univ. Press u.a. ISBN 978-0787650155.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. "Royal Navy - Fleet Command and Organisation - Naval Home Command - Defence Equipment and Support - n2a2 - Armed Forces". R & F Defence Publications, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  9. "Navy Command HQ, Royal Navy". Royal Navy, MOD, UK. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Navy Matters - Headquarters organisation
  11. Parliament United Kingdom (26 April 2018). "Defence Operating Model" (PDF). London UK: Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  12. Parliament United Kingdom (26 April 2018). "Defence Operating Model" (PDF). London UK: Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  13. "Ministry of Defence, Organogram". Ministry of Defence, 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  14. "MOD roles and salaries: Navy Command Senior, as of April 2017". Ministry of Defence, April 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  15. Government, H.M. "Northwood Headquarters - GOV.UK". MOD. UK. 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Government, H.M. "Defence Equipment and Support - GOV.UK". MOD, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  17. DE&S Organisation Chart retrieved August 2017
  18. "FOST, Royal Navy". Royal Navy, MOD, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  19. Government, H.M. "Fleet Battle Staff". National Archives, 17 April 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  20. "Supporting the Maritime Warfare Centre". BAE Systems International. BAE Systems, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  21. Government, H.M. "Chaplains, Royal Navy". Royal Navy, MOD, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.

Ranks and Appointments

Date Rank History
10 October 1790 Entered Navy
12 October 1795 Cadet
12 October 1800 Midshipman
12 October 1803 Sub-Lieutenant
12 October 1806 Lieutenant
23 January 1810 Lieutenant Commander
23 January 1814 Commander
29 July 1816 Captain
29 July 1817 Commodore 1st Class
23 November 1819 Rear-Admiral
27 March 1821 Vice-Admiral
14 May 1823 Admiral
20 November 1825 Admiral of the Fleet
Date from Date to Appointments
October 1797 Serving in Princess Augusta, yacht
March 1798 September 1801 Serving in Prince of Wales, serving with his father in the Channel and the West Indies
March 1798 Serving in Sanspareil, with his father in the Channel and the West Indies
1802 1803 Serving in Endymion
1803 Serving in Victory, flagship of Lord Nelson
1804 Lieutenant (acting) in Madras
1804 Lieutenant in Donegal
1806 Commander in Northumberland, West Indies
9 February 1806 Commander in HMS Kingfisher, West Indies Station
29 June 1806 Captain of HMS Aurora, Mediterranean station
February 1808 Captain of HMS Pallas, home waters
September 1809 Captain in Manilla
June 1812 Captain in Fortunée
January 1813 September 1814 Captain of Leonidas, West Indies Station
1827 Captain of HMS Briton, Particular Service Squadron
8 September 1841 22 May 1844 Commissioner of the Admiralty as Third Naval Lord)
14 May 1844 25 August 1847 Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Station (flag in HMS Collingwood)
13 January 1851 23 November 1853 Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station (flag in HMS Cumberland)
1 January 1856 1 March 1859 Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Station (flag in HMS Victory)