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Deputy Commander

Rear Admiral Craig Wood CBE

In April 2024, Rear Admiral Craig Wood assumed the duties of Deputy Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), headquartered in Portugal. Under SACEUR’s Operational Command, STRIKFORNATO integrates the most powerful combat credible maritime strike forces on Earth into NATO operations, providing strategic effects across the Alliance's Theatre of Operations.

Craig was educated in the Highlands of Scotland and joined the Royal Navy in 1989. Junior warfare officer appointments included the mine countermeasures vessel HMS QUORN as Navigating Officer, the Destroyer HMS GLASGOW and as the first Navigating Officer of the frigate HMS GRAFTON. Second-in-Command of the fishery protection vessel HMS LINDISFARNE was followed by Command of the Gibraltar Squadron patrol vessel HMS TRUMPETER. He undertook Principal Warfare Officer training in 2001-2 and was appointed to the frigate HMS MARLBOROUGH as the Operations Officer for the Naval Task Group 2003 deployment, which included, literally, the opening salvoes of the liberation of Iraq.

A short staff tour in Navy Command Headquarters preceded a return to sea as Second-in-Command of the frigate HMS RICHMOND in 2006. Shortly after joining, he was selected for promotion to Commander and further Sea Command. Taking Command of the destroyer HMS LIVERPOOL in 2007, he enjoyed regeneration from refit and a 7-month austral winter deployment to the South Atlantic. He completed Advanced Command and Staff Course in 2010 and was appointed to the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) responsible for operational planning within the Broader Middle East. In 2012, he moved to the Ministry of Defence Central Staff to work within the Finance and Military Capability Directorate before returning to PJHQ on promotion in 2013. This time, he was charged with running operations in the Broader Middle East including the UK’s contribution to the coalition counter-ISIL effort.

Craig graduated from the Higher Command and Staff Course in April 2016. Command of HMS DRAGON and the position of Captain Destroyers followed. He promoted to Commodore and took Command of the Portsmouth Flotilla in 2017 and, after leading the transformation work in the Surface Fleet, subsequently assumed Command of the newly created Surface Flotilla in Apr 2020. He Commanded Coalition Task Force Sentinel (Nov 20 – Apr 21), responsible for ensuring the maintenance of freedom of navigation, international law and free flow of commerce to support regional stability and security of the maritime commons in the Arabian Gulf region. He was appointed CBE in the 2021 New Year Honours List.

From June 2021 to March 2024, Rear Admiral Wood served as the UK Deputy Military Representative to NATO.

Craig is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Chartered Management Institute and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers. He enjoys mountaineering, winter sports and, recently, triathlon. He holds a commercial pilots’ licence and is a qualified deer manager.

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STRIKFORNATO Headquarters
Reduto Gomes Freire
Estrada Da Medrosa
2780 - 070 Oeiras
Portugal

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Reduto Gomes Freire
Estrada Da Medrosa
2780 - 070 Oeiras
Portugal