George Zambellas KCB DSC
Allied Maritime Command (Northwood)
As the UK’s
Commander-in-Chief Fleet, a position he took up in January 2012, George
Zambellas has command of all deployable Royal Navy units, including the
Royal Marines. He is responsible for providing ships, submarines,
aircraft and Royal Marine units ready for operations that the UK
Government requires. In his NATO role, as Commander Allied Maritime
Command Northwood, he provides Maritime Advice to SHAPE and the Joint
Force Commands and is tasked to ensure NATO maritime forces are at
required readiness for joint and combined operations as required by the
North Atlantic Council. He
is the Operational Commander for Operation Ocean Shield (NATO’s Counter
Piracy operation), directly responsible for elements of the Standing
NATO Response Force and provides Operational level Command of NATO’s
Standing Naval Forces.
was educated in Zimbabwe, and at Stowe and Southampton University,
graduating in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1980 from the aerospace industry and
qualified as a pilot in 1982.
He flew three tours in different helicopter types, serving in
carriers and frigates, in numerous NATO exercises.
After staff training in 1990, and a brief spell as a corporate
planner, he commanded the mine hunter HMS CATTISTOCK including service
in the NATO MCM community.
In 1993, he was posted to Northwood as a Fleet aviation operations
officer before promotion in 1995 and command of the frigate HMS ARGYLL
for a memorable counter-narcotics deployment.
Between 1997 and
1999, he served the UK’s
Ministry of Defence, helping to shape the maritime case within the UK
Defence Review. In 1999, as
a Captain, he commanded HMS CHATHAM, which included operations in Sierra Leone.
In 2001 George Zambellas attended the UK Higher Command and Staff
Course, and then became Deputy Flag Officer Sea Training, responsible
for training Royal Navy, NATO and other nation’s warships and
Between 2002 and
2004, as a Commodore, he was Principal Staff Officer to two Chiefs of
the Defence Staff. In 2005 he commanded the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Task
Group, overseeing the introduction of two new amphibious classes of
ships, and the Bowman radio and data system into amphibious operational
use. In 2005 he was Chair of the European Amphibious Initiative. He and
his staff supported UK Operation HIGHBROW, the evacuation of civilians
from the Lebanon, in July 2006.
In 2006, as a Rear
Admiral, he was appointed as Chief of Staff (Transformation), leading
the change programme to design and deliver the UK’s new approach to the
generation of maritime capability and support to operations.
In 2007, he was Commander United Kingdom Maritime Force
responsible for the UK’s
contribution to NATO’s HRF(M) and during this time Commanded the
Maritime contribution to the NATO Response Force (NRF).
In October 2008, he was Chief of Staff (Operations) at the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood
supporting NATO operations in
January 2011, as a Vice Admiral, George Zambellas was Deputy
Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Chief of Staff to the Navy Command
Headquarters, and the Chief Naval Warfare Officer.
Admiral Zambellas was awarded an Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday
Honours in June 2012.
COM MC Northwood