Joining the Royal Air Force as an officer cadet in 1976, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper was posted to 41 (Fighter) Squadron in 1979 to fly the Jaguar aircraft before moving to serve as a Jaguar qualified weapons instructor with No 31 and 14 Squadrons. He then took up an exchange appointment with the Canadian Air Force flying the multi-role CF-18 Hornet with No 421 Squadron. He commanded No 41 (Fighter) Squadron from 1994 to 1997 and, during this tour, was involved in active operations over Bosnia. He went on to serve as the Station Commander at RAF Coltishall from 1999 to 2001, during which time the Jaguar Force was continually involved in operations over Northern Iraq. As the Air Officer Commanding of No 1 Group from 2007 - 2009, Sir Chris was responsible for the generation and delivery of combat air power for the Royal Air Force.
Sir Chris’ staff appointments have included the Ministry of Defence Central Staff working on the Eurofighter-Typhoon project; Military Assistant to the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces; Command Group Executive Officer at NATO's Headquarters Allied Air Forces Central Europe; Air Commodore Typhoon at Headquarters No 1 Group; Director of Joint Commitments at the Ministry of Defence, and Chief of Staff (Operations) at Headquarters Air Command. From 2009 – 2011, he was the Deputy Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands; during this time the headquarters’ focus was the out-of-theatre operational lead and facilitation for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Sir Chris took over as the United Kingdom’s Military Representative to NATO and the European Union on 10 March 2011.
A former pupil of Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, Sir Chris is a graduate of King's College London, the RAF Staff College and the United Kingdom’s Higher Command and Staff Course. He was mentioned in dispatches for his personal involvement in air operations over Iraq and was awarded the CBE in 2002. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Sir Chris is President of the Royal Air Force Flying Clubs Association; Service Vice-President for the Royal Air Force Association in Europe; Honorary President of No 1475 Squadron, Air Training Corps; and President of the Edward Alleyn Club for 2011.
Sir Chris is married to Jan, has a son, Ben, and enjoys flying, shooting, gastronomy, running, and riding twin-cylinder motorcycles.