Ministry of Defence Logo Defence Staff logo
Sede del EMAD

About us

The operational structure is the organization stablished for the development of the joint and combined action and prepared for using the force in operations, in accordance with the Spanish Armed Forces missions, and all subject to the provisions of the Organic Bill 5/2005, articles 11,15 and 16.

The operational structure of the Armed Forces is organized as a chain of military authorities on a three level basis:

  1. Strategic level: Chief of Defence (JEMAD in Spanish).
  2. Operational level: the Commander of the Operations Command and the commanders of those operational task forces determined by the Chief of Defence for the execution of any contingency plans.
  3. Tactical level: the commanders of any operational task forces that may be generated.

To fulfil his duties, the Chief of Defence (JEMAD in Spanish), counts on the Defence Staff, known as EMAD in Spanish, which is composed of:

EMAD Organization
  • EMAD, made up of the Joint Staff (EMACON in Spanish), the Joint Action Support Command, the Legal Consultancy, the Delegate Agency, and the following command, assistance, general services support bodies:
    • The permanent Secretary of the Council of Chiefs of Staff, belonging to EMAD, will act as an administrative body of such council and of other councils and meetings entrusted by JEMAD.
    • The secretary of JEMAD is responsible for planning, coordinating and executing JEMAD public and formal activities as well as examining, advising and processing those matters that concern him as a FAS institutional representative. It will be also in charge of those activities related with social media within EMAD, and coordination of military acts under JEMAD.
    • The economic Affairs Department (JAE in Spanish) is responsible for running, managing, administrating and controlling the financial resources under JEMAD, to whom it will assess on issues concerning those budgetary subjects and matters, as well as on recruitment and accounting. It will be also dealing with the technical development of the draft budget and the centralization of all the information concerning the programs and budget forecasting and implementation. It will be functionally dependent on the Directorate-General for Economic Affairs.
    • The Human Resources Department (JRRHH in Spanish) is responsible for planning and managing military and civilian personnel under JEMAD, including administrative and logistic support to the mentioned personnel. It will also provide advice in terms of education within JEMAD´s competence. It will act as the representative to the International Defence and Security Organizations (OIDS in Spanish) on human resources within EMAD´s responsibility.
    • Security and Services Department (JESES in Spanish) is responsible for maintaining EMAD facilities, along with those units dependent on JEMAD and its components. It organises and runs the security needed by the personnel assigned to the EMAD and its dependencies.
  • Joint Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish): The Joint Operations Command is the body responsible for conducting operational planning, management and monitoring of military operations. It also gives advice to the Chief of Defence Staff regarding strategic management of operations and is responsible for planning and conducting the exercises entrusted. It conducts monitoring of preparation and evaluation of the operational availability of the command and forces assigned to the operational structure and it also elaborates guidelines for training and enlisting those units.
  • Spanish Armed Forces Intelligence Centre (CIFAS in Spanish): The Spanish Armed Forces Intelligence Centre is the body responsible for obtaining for the Ministry of Defence, through the Chief of Defence Staff, as well as for  military authorities, the military intelligence needed to warn about international situations with potential risk of external crisis that may affect national defence, as well as for giving the needed support to operations, within its scope. Likewise, it advises the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force on counterintelligence and security matters, within the scope of the Armed Forces, and contributes to provide strategic advice about military operations.
  • Joint Cyberspace Command (MCCE in Spanish): The Joint Cyber-Defence Command is responsible for planning and executioning actions related to cyber-defence within the networks and telecommunications and information systems of the Ministry of Defence, or others that may be entrusted to it. It also contributes to provide an adequate response in the cyberspace against threats or aggressions that may affect the National Defence.
  • Centre for National Defence Studies (CESEDEN in Spanish): The Centre for National Defence Studies, as the main joint military training centre, is the body responsible for giving courses in Higher National Defence Studies, together with other courses leading to postgraduate degrees and other joint military studies to be determined. For that purpose, it will collaborate with public universities, Defence University Centres and other public and private corporations by means of the corresponding agreements.
  • Permanent Operational Organizations:
    • Land Operational Command (MOT in Spanish). It is the body on the operational structure of the Armed Forces in charge of planning, conducting and monitoring all operations within the land domain.
    • Maritime Operational Command (MOM in Spanish). It is the body on the operational structure of the Armed Forces in charge of planning, conducting and monitoring all operations within the maritime domain.
    • Aerospace Operational Command (MOA in Spanish). It is the body on the operational structure of the Armed Forces in charge of planning, conducting and monitoring all operations within the aerospace domain.
    • Cyberspace Operational Command (MOC in Spanish). It is the body on the operational structure of the Armed Forces in charge of  planning, conducting and monitoring all military operations to guarantee our armed Forces's ability to withstand and respond to cyber attack  in accordance with the operational plans in place. 
  • National Military Bodies related to international or multinational Organizations: Military representations to international security and defence organizations, personnel assigned to military posts in NATO, the EU, Multinational Headquarters, other centres or bodies under CHOD's chain of command. Likewise, the national elements, the national support elements and the national contingents integrated in international and multinational organisations participated by Spain and reporting to the Chief of Defence.            


EMAD Coat of arms

The figure of the Chief of Defence (JEMAD in Spanish), was created in 1980.

As an operational commander, and due to the continuous integration of the three branches of the Armed Forces, the Chief of Defence was gradually extending his functions until the present time, in which he exercises the joint operational command of the Armed Forces.

The background of joint forces, as the main reason for strengthening the figure of CHOD, can be found at the early beginning of the 20th century, when,  Army and Navy forces disembarked at Alhucemas, an operation under the command of the High Commissioner in Morocco.

In 1939, the High Staff Command (HSC) was established, creating the unity of command, the arrangement of the chain of command and high military studies schools. Also, the Joint Staff (EMACON) with the aim of carrying out the study of joint doctrine and the training of senior officers and joint general staff.

The formalisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and EMACON as its working body led to the abolition of the HSC and later, in 1980, to the creation of the figure of JEMAD.