Chris Harper (RAF officer)

Air Marshal Sir Christopher Nigel Harper, KBE (born 25 March 1957) is a senior Royal Air Force officer, who served as the UK Military Representative to NATO and the European Union from 2011 to 2013. He was previously Deputy Commander Allied Joint Force Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands (2009–11), and Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group in the UK (2007–09).

For other people named Chris Harper, see Chris Harper (disambiguation)

Sir Christopher Harper
Air Marshal Harper in Kabul, November 2009
Born (1957-03-25) 25 March 1957
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1976 – present
RankAir Marshal
Commands heldNo. 1 Group (2007–09)
RAF Coltishall (1999–01)
No. 41(F) Squadron (1994–97)
Battles/warsOperation Deny Flight
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches

Education and personal

Harper was educated at Alleyn's School in Dulwich and King's College London (MA, Defence Studies) and is married with one son. He enjoys flying, shooting, running, riding motorcycles and gastronomy.[1]

Service career

Harper was commissioned in 1976,[2] and then regraded to pilot officer the following year[3] after Initial Officer Training, and promoted to flying officer in 1978;[4] being posted in 1979 to 41(F) Squadron for his first tour on the SEPECAT Jaguar.[1] He was promoted to flight lieutenant in 1982[5] and Squadron Leader in 1986,[6] serving as a Qualified Weapons Instructor on the Jaguar with No. 31 and No. 14 Squadrons before an exchange tour in Canada flying the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet.[1] Promoted to wing commander in 1993,[7] he returned to command No. 41(F) Squadron between 1994 and 1997, and was actively involved in operations over Bosnia during this period.[1] Having been promoted to group captain at the end of this tour,[8] he maintained his connection with the Jaguar force when he returned to RAF Coltishall in 1999 as Station Commander, while its aircraft were involved in operations over Iraq, serving until 2001.[1] He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2002 New Year Honours List[9] and was Mentioned in Despatches for actions in the Gulf.[10]

Promoted to air commodore in 2002,[11] Harper served as Air Commodore Typhoon at No. 1 Group,[1] before becoming Head of Joint Commitments at the Ministry of Defence in 2004,[12] and then, following promotion to air vice marshal in 2005,[13] Chief of Staff Operations[14] at what became Air Command. In 2007 he returned to No. 1 Group as Air Officer Commanding,[15][16] following which he was promoted to air marshal and appointed Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Brunssum in March 2009.[17]

He was appointed UK Military Representative to NATO and the EU in March 2011 [18][19] and promoted to Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in June 2011.[20] He became Director-General of the International Military Staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 24 July 2013.[21] As of 2015, Harper was paid a salary of between £155,000 and £159,999 by the department, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[22] In July 2016, he handed over his command of Director-General of the International Military Staff to Lieutenant General Jan Broeks.[23]

Appointed in 2018, Sir Christopher is a Trustee of the Air League[24]


  1. NATO biography (includes photo) retrieved 7 Apr 2012
  2. "No. 47007". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 September 1976. p. 12206.
  3. "No. 47294". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 August 1977. p. 10287.
  4. "No. 47616". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 August 1978. p. 9822.
  5. "No. 48964". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 April 1982. p. 5666.
  6. "No. 50583". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 June 1986. pp. 8719–8720.
  7. "No. 53164". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1993. p. 105.
  8. "No. 54642". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 January 1997. p. 217.
  9. "No. 56430". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2001. p. 6.
  10. "No. 56541". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 April 2002. p. 4813.
  11. "No. 56620". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 July 2002. p. 7894.
  12. Tri-Service Appointments p16 (Mar 2012) retrieved 13 May 2012
  13. "No. 57761". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 September 2005. p. 12121.
  14. RAF Appointments p43 (Mar 2012) retrieved 13 May 2012
  15. RAF Air Rank Appointments List 07/06 of 21 Aug 2006 Archived 4 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 17 Jun 2011
  16. RAF Appointments p84 (Mar 2012) retrieved 13 May 2012
  17. RAF Air Rank Appointments List 09/08 of 19 Dec 2008 Archived 18 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 17 Jun 2011
  18. RAF Air Rank Appointments List 07/10 of 17 Sep 2010 retrieved 17 Jun 2011
  19. Tri-Service Appointments p28 (Mar 2012) retrieved 13 May 2012
  20. "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. pp. 4–6.
  21. "NATO News, 24 July 2013". Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  22. "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 – GOV.UK". 17 December 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  23. "Change of Command – Director General of the NATO International Military Staff". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
Military offices
New title Head Joint Commitments, Ministry of Defence
Succeeded by
C G S Hughes
New title Chief of Staff Operations
Succeeded by
Nigel Maddox
as Chief of Staff Operations, Air Command
Preceded by
David Walker
Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group
Succeeded by
Greg Bagwell
Preceded by
Chris Moran
Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum
Succeeded by
David Walker
Preceded by
Sir David Bill
UK Military Representative to NATO
Succeeded by
Ian Corder
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