- Air Force
Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force
The Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force heads the Air Force Command. His primary task is to ensure that the Air Force units are ready for deployment. The Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is tasked with preparing, leading and completing Air Force operations. He reports to the Chief of Defence.
Lieutenant General A. (Alexander) Schnitger is the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Lieutenant General Alexander Schnitger, born in Rotterdam on 3 November 1958, began his military career in 1979 as a cadet at the Royal Military Academy in Breda.
He started his pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base In Texas, US, in 1983, and received his wing in March 1984.
Back in the Netherlands, he became an operational pilot with 314 Squadron based at Eindhoven Air Base. In 1988, he was team leader of the “Double Dutch” NF-5 demo team. He converted to the F-16 in 1990 and was subsequently assigned to 312 Squadron at Volkel Air Base.
In 1992, Schnitger became flight commander of 306 Reconnaissance Squadron at Volkel Air Base. In 1994, he was deployed to Villafranca, Italy, as Ops Officer in an F-16 detachment that later took part in Operation Deny Flight. Upon his return to the Netherlands, he became Ops Officer of 312 Squadron.
In late 1995, Schnitger was transferred to the Directorate of Operations of the Air Force Staff in The Hague. During that period, he was, among other things, involved in the F-16 Replacement project. From August 1998 to July 1999, Schnitger completed the Advanced Military Studies course at the Netherlands Defence College.
In September 1999, by then a lieutenant colonel, he was appointed Commander of 315 Squadron of Twenthe Air Base. While holding this post, he was deployed again, this time as detachment commander of the Dutch-Belgian F-16 unit based at Amendola air base in Italy that participated in NATO operations over the Balkan region.
In 2001, he was appointed to the Defence Staff as a Planner. In that capacity, he was involved in the major restructuring operation that the Netherlands armed forces was undergoing at the time. In 2004, he became Director of Operations at the CAOC in Kalkar, Germany, and was simultaneously promoted to colonel.
Schnitger was appointed Commander of Volkel Air Base in 2005. Three years later, in 2008, he was promoted to air commodore and assigned to the Air Force Staff of the Royal Netherlands Air Force as Director of Operations. He was appointed Director of Operational Requirements, Policy and Plans at the Defence Staff in December 2009 and simultaneously promoted to the rank of major general.
On 9 March 2012, he took up his current position, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, for which he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.