James Morley is the Commander of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group Two. The Group is one of the standing elements of the maritime component of the NATO Response Force (NRF), held at very high readiness to form the nucleus of a NRF surface maritime task group.
A Principal Warfare Officer and Fighter Controller, he has broad operational experience from consecutive sea appointments including service in former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong and the Middle East. He has commanded 3 ships: HMS DULVERTON (a Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Vessel) on operations in Northern Ireland; HMS LANCASTER (a Type 23 Frigate) in the Middle East integrated into a French Carrier Strike Group conducting air operations over Afghanistan; and HMS ALBION (an Amphibious Assault Ship and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship) in the Mediterranean off Libya in 2010 and then command of the inaugural Cougar Task Group to the Middle East.
Ashore he has served in the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command headquarters at Bahrain as Chief of Staff, in the Resources and Plans division in the Ministry of Defence, as Naval Assistant to First Sea Lord, and as Assistant Director (Strategy) for the Higher Command and Staff Course.
Promoted to Commodore in 2014, he was previously Assistant Chief of Staff for Maritime Capability in the Royal Navy’s Headquarters. In this role he was responsible for future capability programmes ranging from submarine combat systems to next generation warship design, directing the supporting science and innovation programmes, and acting as Senior Responsible Owner for Type 31e Frigates, Fleet Solid Support ships, future Mine Warfare and Hydrographic survey capability and Electronic Warfare and Defensive Aids Systems. He also sponsored broader capability development and demonstration work including the At Sea Demonstration of Integrated Air and Missile Defence (including Ballistic Missile Defence) and Exercise Unmanned Warrior.
A graduate of the Higher Command and Staff Course and United States Capstone, he is a freeman of the City of London, a Younger Brother of Trinity House, and an honorary member of the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers. A boat owner and offshore Yachtmaster, his interests include road and mountain cycling. He lives in a small rural village in West Sussex.