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Sede del EMAD

Operations Command

MOPS Crest

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.

Operations Command Crest

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”.

The three linked swords by a chain represent the three branches of the Spanish Armed Forces (Army, Navy and the Air Force). These three swords are the same size, category, and significance. The motto “Custodiae Pacis” means “(we are) the peacekeepers”.

Commander of the Operations Command – LTG Francisco Braco Carbó

Name:   Francisco Braco Carbó.

Rank:   Lieutenant General (Air Force).

Position: Commander of the Operations Command.

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:

  • Planning and conducting the operations needed for fulfilling the missions of the Spanish Armed Forces´ to be established on a national basis.
  • Planning and conducting multinational operations when Spain leads.
  • Planning and conducting the joint exercises needed for guaranteeing the operational effectiveness of the assigned Armed Forces and for evaluating the operational plans.
  • Planning participation of Spanish forces in joint-combined operations and exercises of non national responsibility, monitoring their performance and utilization by the multinational operational chain and managing its maintenance.
  • Managing the necessary means for deployment, maintenance, withdrawal and support of the assigned forces that cannot be provided by the Armies, and once obtained, carrying out their control and inspection.
  • Exercising military authority over the military observers and monitors.
  • Collaborating in Military Planning.
  • Collaborating in the development and updating of the doctrine for joint and combined actions in the field of operations.


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 the middle  of year 2005, Operations Command's Staff  was activated, being appointed as first Chief of Staff  Major General Andrés Navas Ráez, Major (Air Force).

On January the 27th, 2006, the duty 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.

Former Commanders of the Operations Command

  • Lieutenant General of the Army, Bernardo Álvarez del Manzano Albiñana, from January 2006 to February 2008.
  • Lieutenant General of the Air Force, Andrés Navas Ráez, from February 2008 to September 2009.
  • Lieutenant General of the Army, Jaime Domínguez Buj, from September 2009 to July 2012.
  • Admiral Teodoro Esteban López Calderón, from July 2012 to April 2017.
  • Lieutenant General of the Army, Fernando José López del Pozo,  from April 2017 to September 2020.
  • Lieutenant General of the Air Force, Francisco Braco Carbó, since September 2020.


MOPS´ chart

The Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish) is structured as follows :

  • Commander.
  • Deputy Commander.
  • Operations Command Staff (EMMOPS in Spanish).
  • Joint Special Operations Command (MCOE in Spanish).
  • The core of the Multinational Joint Headquarters (ES-OHQ).
  • Head of Security and Services (JESES-RETAMARES).
  1. MOPS' Chief of Staff  is always MOPS' Deputy Commander.
  2. EMMOPS is the main auxiliary command body of MOPS' Commander (CMOPS in Spanish); is the body responsible for all activities related to planning, monitoring and conducting of operations.
  3. JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND (MCOE in Spanish): In January 2013, the Chief of Defence approved the establishment of MCOE, which reports to CMOPS. Since October 2014, constitution date, it has been based at the Retamares Base in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid). The MCOE assumed all the tasks relating to Special Operations in the joint sphere. The MCOE is responsible for planning, conducting and monitoring the special operations to be determined, as well as for enabling the integration and interoperability of special operations capabilities, and for planning and conducting the joint exercises required to ensure the operational efficiency of the assigned special operations units. It also advises CMOPS on all issues related to special operations.  it constitutes the basis for a Special Operations Component Command Headquarters capable of fulfilling national requirements and international agreements. 
  4. ES-OHQ is responsible for easing the process of activating the HQ in a fast and flexible manner.
  5. JESES-RETAMARES is the body responsible for the maintenance of the Retamares Base facilities, supporting the base and those units dependent on the Chief of Defence to be determined. It reports to CMOPS, as Head of the Retamares Base. It managaes and conducts the security required by the personnel assigned to the Retamares Base and its fcilities. In addition, he carries out the environmental, energy efficiency and occupational risk prevention management at the Retamares Base.