It is an exciting challenge and one that I am greatly looking forward to.

Commodore Andy Betton RN

“Starting with just a desk and my thoughts some 18 months ago, I have seen the organisation grow, mature and gain strides in ensuring that the best foundations have been laid for the future of this exciting new capability and era for the Royal Navy. 

“I am very proud to have been appointed as the first Commander of this wonderful organisation and wish Commodore Andy the best in taking on this envious mantle.”

COMUKCSG as part of the wider 2* Commander UK Maritime Force Staff, is set to be front and centre of Royal Navy and UK operations for the next 50 years. 

Utilising the new capabilities of the Lightning II (F-35B) fast-jet, this 1* Battle Staff will Command a UK Joint and likely Combined Maritime Task Group, on global operations in the future. 

Of the UK elements, this is set to include the not only the F-35B, but also the full spectrum of maritime rotary wing helicopters, including Merlin Mk2, Wildcat and Crowsnest. 

Also, in company, protecting the QEII Class carrier and its logistical supply ships from threats in all environments, are the most capable of RN surface combatants, including the Type 45 Daring Class destroyers, alongside the Type 23 Frigate (to be replaced by the Type 26 Global Combat Ship).

Cdre Betton will be leading his staff through a complex period in the UK CSG’s development, embarking on a rigorous programme of development, training and exercises (with both national and coalition partners) on the path to certification as a deployable 1* Battle Staff.  

This will see the COMUKCSG staff well set for the future endeavours including the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s in Portsmouth, rotary and fixed wing flying trials and ultimately the inaugural operational deployment, scheduled for 2021.

A significant part of this preparation and is the close working relationship established with the United States Navy and Marine Corps. 

Utilising their decades of expertise in ‘big-deck Ops’, COMUKCSG staff will be working closely with their US counter-parts and training staffs to deliver an organisation capable of commanding a Joint and Combined Maritime Task Group around the world in operations ranging from war-fighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Commodore Andy Betton OBE said, “It is an exciting challenge and one that I am greatly looking forward to.

“Having had experience of command at every level, including CO of the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, I know this will be both a challenging and rewarding task. 

“Cdre Jerry has done a sterling job in what was a mammoth task to create the UK CSG from a blank piece of paper. 

“I now aim to ensure that these foundations are built upon and that my staff are ready to conduct operations at the same time as the White Ensign is hoisted on HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2017.”