Sir Chris served in the Royal Air Force for over 40 years. Having learned to fly as an Air Cadet, he joined the RAF as a fighter pilot in 1976. He flew numerous aircraft including the SEPECAT Jaguar, the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet and, more recently, the Eurofighter Typhoon. He was involved in active operations over Iraq and in the Balkans and commanded at all levels of the Royal Air Force including as the Commander of RAF Coltishall and the RAF Jaguar Force (1999 to 2001), and as Air Officer Commanding of No 1 Group (2007 to 2009).
Sir Chris also held important staff appointments in the UK Ministry of Defence and at the RAF’s Air Command headquarters. His last 7 years in the Royal Air Force saw him working with NATO. From 2009 to 2011 he was Deputy Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands; following that, he was the UK’s Military Representative to NATO and the EU. More recently, from 2013 to 2016, he was Director General of the NATO International Military Staff. From this high-level military-diplomatic position in NATO’s HQ in Brussels, he managed the Alliance’s political-military seam and was responsible for developing, negotiating and gaining consensus amongst NATO’s 28 allies for innumerable major NATO strategic policy decisions.
Sir Chris left the Royal Air Force in January 2017. Determined not to let his experience in aviation and the international defence and security domain go to waste, he started a small, independent consultancy company, CH4C Global Ltd, based in Norfolk, UK. The company advises companies such as Improbable, Adarga, Eagle Eye Innovations, Harmonic and, most recently, Accenture.
Sir Chris has a passion for harnessing new, innovative, positively disruptive technology for application in the defence and security sector. He regularly speaks at key events such as the Munich and Berlin Security Conferences and at Wilton Park and was appointed a Non-resident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United States in 2017. Maintaining his links with the RAF, Sir Chris is the Honorary Air Commodore of No 2620 ‘County of Norfolk’ Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force based at RAF Marham. He is also a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; he serves on the Society’s Council and on the Committee of its Air Power Group. Sir Chris served as a Trustee of the Air League from 2016 until relinquishing that role on being appointed the League’s President in December 2020. He maintains a lifelong love of flying; he built and flies a Vans RV-8 aircraft in which he and his wife Jan tour regularly.