Operation Atalanta was launched by a Joint Action, a unanimous decision of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, which comprises national Ministers from each of the EU member states. In the UK this decision was subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
Royal Navy ships that the UK Government decide to make available to participate in Operation Atalanta come under command of the EU's Operation Commander for the operation, Rear Admiral Philip Jones RN, based in his operation headquarters at Northwood.
In his role as Operation Commander, Admiral Jones reports to the Political and Security Committee, a Council body in which ambassadors from each of the EU member states exercise political control and strategic direction over the operation, on instructions from national authorities.
The Political and Security Committee reports regularly on the progress of the operation to the Council of Ministers.