Director of Defence Projects, Netherlands Armed Forces
Air Commodore Harold Boekholt (Groningen, 1969) started his career as an army cadet at the Royal Military Academy (KMA) in 1988. After completing engineer officer training, in 1993 he was appointed platoon commander with the Engineer Corps of the Royal Netherlands Army in Havelte and Steenbergen. After earning his maroon beret, he was posted to the Air Mobile Brigade. During this posting, he was deployed to the IFOR mission in Bosnia for six months. In 1997, he was trained as an Apache attack helicopter pilot to strengthen cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). In 2001, Harold officially joined the RNLAF. He fulfilled several operational positions within Defence Helicopter Command. During this period, he participated in several operational missions in Eritrea, Djibouti, Iraq and Afghanistan. While under his command, the Apache detachment was deployed to Uruzgan as part of Deployment Task Force Afghanistan. Harold ended his operational period with a four-month stretch as Commander of the Apache Detachment, which had been deployed in support of Task Force Uruzgan. In 2010, Harold successfully completed the Advanced Defence Studies course, after which he held several positions within the Defence Staff, at Woensdrecht Logistics Centre and within the Royal Netherlands Air Force Staff. In 2014, Harold was promoted to the rank of colonel to join the Royal Netherlands Air Force Staff and focus on the continued development of all helicopter types. After two years, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force asked him to take on the position of Head of the RNLAF Core Staff. In this role, Harold was responsible for integrating plans, developments and budgets within the RNLAF. In order to strengthen strategy development, Harold set up a new department. In 2017, he was appointed head of this department of strategy and advice. In this position, he was responsible for drawing up integrated plans for the future and advising the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force on strategic issues, while contributing to the development of the vision on the 5th Generation Air Force. In mid-2018, Harold assumed command of Eindhoven Air Base, the military component of Eindhoven Airport, the second airport of the Netherlands in terms of size. In close consultation with civilian partners and local authorities, Harold worked on a solid strategic plan for the future that set the framework for the transformation to Air Mobility Command. In November 2020, Harold was appointed Head of Policy Support of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), in preparation for his posting as Director of Projects. He has held the latter position since 1 December 2021, after simultaneous promotion to the rank of air commodore. Harold Boekholt is married to Elanor. They have two children.