The Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish) is the body for the operational structure, subordinated to the Chief of Defence Staff (JEMAD in Spanish) and in charge of conducting the operational planning and management, together with the monitoring of the assigned operational plans and military operations. It is also responsible for planning and conducting those established joint and combined exercises. It is composed, on a permanent basis, by the Headquarters and Staff of the Operations Command, and it is organically incorporated into the Defence Staff.
After his academic period at the military academies of Zaragoza and Toledo between the years 1975 and 1980, he was promoted to Infantry Lieutenant in 1980. Therefore, he belongs to the XXXV promotion.
During his career, some of his assignments were: Chief of a Mechanized Infantry Platoon, Tank Company Commander, Tactical Teacher in the Special Military Academy, Analyst of the Logistic Section in the Staff of the Rapid Operational Force, Logistics Officer in the Staff of the Operational Command, Head of the European Unión Department and Secretary of the Strategy and Military Cooperation Division of the Joint Staff, Chief of Staff of the XI Mechanized Infantry Brigade “Extremadura”, Technical Advisor of the Governing Body of the General Secretariat for Defence Policy, Chief of Staff of the Military Emergencies Unit, Chief of the studies Unit of the the Second Chief of Staff of the Army (JEME in Spanish), Chief of Staff of JEME, Commander of the Armoured-Brigade, Adviser of the Second Chief of Staff of the Army and Chief of the Plans Division of the Defence Staff.
He was first in his class of the Spanish Staff, belonging to the 112th Spanish Staff Course (CSEM in Spanish) and to the 7th Class of the Military School (CID) in France.
His educational background also comprises the following courses and diplomas: Specialist in Tanks, Knowledge of battle tank AMX-30, Advanced Infantry Officer Training (USA), Pedagogical Aptitude - Teaching Certificate, United Nations Logistics, NATO Logistics, NATO Staff Officer, Training Program for the Performance of Brigadier General Tasks and Course of National Defence.
General López del Pozo has taken part in three peace keeping operations: In Bosnia-Herzegovina, as Chief of the Supply Area of the Staff of NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) during IFOR Operation, in 1996; in Iraq, as Chief of Defence Staff of the Multinational Brigade Plus Ultra II, led by Spain, during the Operation “Iraqi Freedom” in 2003; and in Lebanon, as Chief of the East Sector of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (FINUL) and Chief of the XIX Spanish Brigade in Lebanon (BRILIB) in 2013.
His honours include: Grand Cross of Military Merit; Grand Cross, Commander with Star, Commander and Cross of the Royal and Military Order of Saint Hermenegildo; eight Cross of Merit (six military, one naval and one aeronautical); NATO Medal (Former Yugoslavia); Medal of the Division lead by Poland in Iraq during the Operation “Iraqi Freedom”, United Nations Medal for FINUL (Lebanon) and the Lebanese Order of the Cedar, in the category of Knight.
In April 2010 he was appointed Chief of the Military Cabinet of the General Chief of Staff of the Army (GE.JEME in Spanish), being promoted, in September of that year, to Brigadier General. In July 2012 he was the Commander of the XII Armoured-Brigade "GUADARRAMA" and after being promoted to Major General, acting as adviser of the Second Chief of Staff of the Army, he took responsibility for the Plans Division in June 2015.
He was promoted to Lieutenant General on 21st April 2017.
From 5th May 2017, he is Commander of the Operations Command.
General López del Pozo is married to Flor Martín, and has three daughters.
The Commander of the Operations Command (CMOPS) will exercise authority at the operational level, and will be in charge of planning and executing or monitoring the joint, combined and specific operations, except those related to permanent peacetime missions assigned to the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
He holds the office of Chief of Staff, receiving assistance in his exercise, and is responsible for:
The first regulatory reference to the Operations Command (MOPS) is registered in the Strategic Defence Review of February 2003. In this paper, not only is established the need for creating the MOPS in its Basic Criterion 5, but it is also stipulated that “the Chief of the Operations Command will exercise, under the Chief of the Defence Staff, management of the ground, naval and air forces needed for fulfilling of all the operational missions in time of peace, crisis or war. The present Command will conduct the pertinent exercises for joint and combined training, as well as evaluating the operational plans in force. It will also have a Joint Staff of operational nature”.
According to Spanish Royal Decree 1551/2004 of 25th June, which develops the basic organizational structure of the Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces are organised into two different structures: an operational one, to be used in the assigned missions, and an organic one, for force preparation. The operational structure is then constituted by the Defence Staff, composed in turn by MOPS and the Joint Staff.
After issuing the Order of Ministry of Defence 1076/2005 of 19th April, by which the structure of the Defence Staff is developed, together with the subsequent approval of the corresponding personnel, the implementation of the new operational structure is initiated, as established by Royal Decree 1551/2004.
In mid-2005, the Staff of the Operations Command is activated, being appointed as first Chief of Staff Mr. Andrés Navas Ráez, Major General of the Air Force.
On 27th January 2006, the office of first Commander of the Operations Command (CMOPS) was assigned to Lieutenant General of the Army, Mr. Bernardo Álvarez del Manzano Albiñana. He held this position until February 2008.
Heraldic description: “Blue, three high silver swords. In a seven-link gold chain belt, those chains occupying paired positions are crossed by the swords. Silver border with six nails of the same metal and, on the barrier, the slogan “CUSTODIAE PACIS”.
Swords represent the three Armies (the Spanish Army, the Spanish Navy and the Spanish Air Force). These three Armies hold the same size, category, and significance.
The chain joining the swords symbolises the joint actions of the three Armies.
The slogan “Custodiae Pacis” means “(we are) the peacekeepers”.
The use of the Armed Forces is given concrete expression thanks to the Joint Force Core, constituted by the specific capabilities of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, as well as by the mixed capabilities, in the established degree of availability. The Joint Force Core is the instrument of the Operational Structure of the Armed Forces, that gets adapted in order to develop the stablished Operations.
The Commander of the Operations Command (CMOPS) has an Operational Headquarters and exercises Command at the operational level of any Operation conducted in the Operational Structure. JEMAD considers that this Operations Command will be the sole Headquarters at a Spanish operational level which is connected with the same level Headquarters from the Atlantic Alliance.
On a permanent basis, a portion of the Joint Force Core, under command of JEMAD at the strategic level and CMOPS at an operational level, will carry out the following permanent surveillance Operations within the sovereignty and national interest areas. The Operations are included in the Plan entitled Framework Plan:
With the same national Structure, monitoring of Spanish participation in combined response operations with allies or partners from the Joint Force Core, is being executed:
The Commander of the Operations Command arranges the use of the Joint Force Core assigned to the national expeditionary response operations, as well as leading it.
Moreover, the Commander of the Operations Command is integrating the Cyber-defence into the Permanent Operations Framework Plan.
The Headquarters of the Operations Command, in order to plan, conduct and follow the Operations is structured in the following way:
On January 2013, the Spanish Chief of the Defence Staff (JEMAD in Spanish), approved, by Ministerial Order, the establishment of the Joint Special Operations Command (MCOE in Spanish), directly dependent on the Commander of the Operations Command (CMOPS in Spanish). From its creation on October 2014, it is based at Retamares Military Base in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid). MCOE has assumed all the tasks included in the Joint Special Operations.
The origin of the Special Operations Coordinator (NCOE in spanish) was based on the Special Operations Section (J3B) of the Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish) and directly dependent on the CMOPS. As NCOE was under the command of CMOPS, it was configured as a transformation body from J3B to MCOE. The Spanish Joint Special Operations Command has the responsibility and capacity of planning, conducting and monitoring all the tasks related to Special Operations; thus, facilitating the integration of capacities and interoperability of the Special Operations Groups from the Spanish Army, the Spanish Navy and the Spanish Air Force. By ensuring the achievement of the above, it will also lead the joint special operations exercises and it will act as consultant body of JEMAD and CMOPS in special operations issues. Moreover, it will be the national representative in all matters relating to Joint Special Operations.
The Studies Unit is the immediate support body to CMOPS, it is in charge of carrying out the study and assessment tasks ordered by CMOPS. One of its main tasks is supporting the CMOPS in the preparation and coordination of the activities in which it takes part, such as the visit to the contingents in the Operations Area, presentations, conferences, major events, articles, interviews, conferences, work meetings, letter writing, etc. Another fundamental task is to keep the CMOPS permanently informed about the most relevant documentation for MOPS.