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Navy Command
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Active2010 - present
Country United Kingdom
BranchRoyal Navy
Part ofMinistry of Defence
Garrison/HQHQ HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Hampshire
50°48′53.7″N 1°5′59.1″W / 50.814917°N 1.099750°W / 50.814917; -1.099750
Admiral Sir Ben Key

Navy Command is the current headquarters body of the Royal Navy, and its major organisational grouping.[1] It is a hybrid, neither a command, nor simply an installation. Royal Navy official writings describe Navy Command Headquarters both as a physical site, on Whale Island, a collective formed 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/ 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 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; Mediterranean Fleet; East Indies Station; and Far East Fleet. In the late 1960s the Home Fleet and Mediterranean Fleet were amalgamated into Western Fleet. In the 1970s Western Fleet and Far East Fleet were amalgamated into CINCFLEET.[8] At the same time, 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.

Henry Leach Building, Whale Island
Henry Leach Building, Whale Island
West Battery, Whale Island
West Battery, Whale Island

The purpose-built Headquarters at Whale Island, Portsmouth was opened in 2002 was named after Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach, the First Sea Lord during the Falklands War. In 2013 NCHQ's task was threefold: Force Generation, Planning for the future and Advice, Assurance and Accountability.[9]

Navy Command, Royal Navy, Hierarchy Chart, 31 March 2016.jpg

As of 2017 official descriptions said that the headquarters was based at Whale Island, but also includes the Command Centre in Northwood, and support staff in Portsmouth Naval Base.[10] As of 2017 it included:


Office of the Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy, Hierarchy Chart, 31 March 2016
Office of the Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy, Hierarchy Chart, 31 March 2016

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 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.[11]

The previous office of the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Submarines) and Deputy Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, as of January 2017,[12] was disestablished under the Navy Command Transformation Programme, April 2020.[13]

Office of the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

As of 6 April 2017:[14][15][16]

Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff

Director Navy Acquisition

Director Develop

Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers)

Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Capability)

Director Naval (Support)

Director People and Training and Naval Secretary

Chaplain of the Fleet

Commodore, Naval Staff

Commodore, Regional Forces

Head of Royal Navy Communications

Fleet Commander

Office of the Fleet Commander, Hierarchy Chart, 31 March 2016.png

As of 23 September 2020, see also Navy Director 2019:[16]

Commander Operations

Office of the Commander United Kingdom Strike Force
Director Force Generation
Assistant Chief of Staff Resources and Plans
Command Secretary
Deputy Finance Director, Navy
Head of Navy Effectiveness and Strategy

Finance Director Navy

Other organisations

The Fleet Battle Staff, based in two locations (Portsmouth and Plymouth) 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.[26]

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.[27]


  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. ^ NavyList 1967, pp. 524–532.
  7. ^ Lagassé, Paul, ed. (2000). "Admiralty". The Columbia encyclopedia (6. ed.). [New York]: Columbia Univ. Press u.a. ISBN 978-0787650155.
  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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-25.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Navy Matters - Headquarters organisation.
  10. ^ "Navy Command HQ, Royal Navy". Royal Navy, MOD, UK. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b Parliament United Kingdom (26 April 2018). "Defence Operating Model" (PDF). London UK: Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao Government, H.M. "The Navy List" (PDF). H.M. Stationery Office, January, 2017, pp.6-9. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Submariners Association Newsletter In Depth 68" (PDF). Submariners Association. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Ministry of Defence, Organogram". Ministry of Defence, 2016. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  15. ^ "MOD roles and salaries: Navy Command Senior, as of April 2017". Ministry of Defence, April 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Ministry of Defence 2020a, p. 28.
  17. ^ a b c Ministry of Defence (9 March 2022). "Navy Command senior, as of March 2021". Retrieved 2022-05-07.
  18. ^ a b c "The Navy Directory 2019" (PDF). Royal Navy. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Navy News March 2020 Integrating the Way We Work". Navy News. 1 March 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Who is the new Flag Officer Sea Training" (PDF). Whatdotheyknow. 27 April 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  21. ^ a b Royal Navy (18 May 2020). "Royal Navy Training Appointments" (PDF). Whatdotheyknow. Retrieved 20 May 2020. In response to all parts of your request, the post of Assistant Chief of Staff Training has ceased to exist... has endured in the new Position of Deputy Director Future Training
  22. ^ Speller 2004, p. 126.
  23. ^ "Information regarding what is Commodore Edward Ahlgren new appointment promoted 20 January 2020" (PDF). UK Ministry of Defence. 11 March 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020. ...the current appointment of Commodore Ahlgren is Deputy Commander Operations
  24. ^ Mackie, Colin (20 May 2020). "Admirals Current May 2020" (PDF). Colin Mackie. Retrieved 23 May 2020. Commodore Craig Wood: Commander, Surface Flotilla, April 2020
  25. ^ Mackie, Colin (29 May 2020). "Admirals May 2020" (PDF). Colin Mackie. Retrieved 30 May 2020. Commodore James Le S. Perks: Commander, Submarine Flotilla, April 2020
  26. ^ Government, H.M. "Fleet Battle Staff". National Archives, 17 April 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  27. ^ "Supporting the Maritime Warfare Centre". BAE Systems International. BAE Systems, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.


Further reading