Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army
The commander of the Royal Netherlands Army is the ‘chief’ of the army and he is responsible for the readiness of the operational army units. He is the main adviser to the Chief of Defence, and in some cases the political leadership, with regard to land operations.
Lieutenant General Mart de Kruif, the new Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army, was born in Apeldoorn on 1 September 1958. He is married and has four children. After completing his education at the Royal Military Academy in Breda in 1981, he held various positions at 11 Mechanised Infantry Battalion Grenadier Guards, that in the 1990s was transformed into an air mobile infantry battalion. In 1991, De Kruif completed the Advanced Military Studies course in The Hague, after which he was posted to Seedorf (Germany) as Head of Operations at 41 Mechanised Brigade, formerly 41 Light Brigade. In 1994, he left this unit to attend the Army Command and General Staff Officer course (Lehrgang Generalstabsausbildung Heer) at the German Defence College (Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr) in Hamburg.
Upon his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1996, he was transferred to the Directorate of Operations at the Army Staff in The Hague. He was then again posted to Seedorf, where he assumed command of 42 Armoured Infantry Battalion ‘Limburgse Jagers’. In 2001 he commanded this battalion in Bosnia-Herzegovina for a period of six months as part of Stabilisation Force (SFOR) 11. In 2002, De Kruif, by then a colonel, spent a year at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to obtain a Master of Strategic Studies degree. Back in The Hague, he fulfilled two positions at the Army Staff and the Defence Staff respectively, from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, he was appointed Deputy Director of Operations of the Royal Netherlands Army in Apeldoorn.
In 2007, he was appointed Commander of 43 Mechanised Brigade in Havelte and simultaneously promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In that capacity, De Kruif was responsible for, among other things, the training, formation and operational deployment of elements of 43 Mechanised Brigade in ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) missions in Uruzgan (Afghanistan). On 27 March 2008, Mart de Kruif was promoted to the rank of major general. From late October 2008 to early November 2009, as Commander Regional Command South, he commanded 45,000 ISAF troops stationed in southern Afghanistan.
In May 2010, he was appointed Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army and, on 25 October 2011, Lieutenant General Mart de Kruif took over command of the Royal Netherlands Army from Lieutenant General Rob Bertholee.