Willem M. Tanis
Chief Warrant Officer of the
Royal Netherlands Armed Forces
June 2001 – Present
Chief Warrant Officer Willem M. Tanis began his military career with the Royal Marechaussee (Military Police) in 1969. In 1974 he transferred to the Royal Netherlands Army, joining the arm of Infantry.
From there, he served as squad commander, deputy platoon commander, company sergeant major, and S2 with the 45th Armoured Infantry Battalion in Steenwijk. He attended the Advanced NCO Training and Arm-Specific Training courses in 1985 and earned early promotion to the rank of Warrant Officer. He served as the Deputy Class Officer at the Conscript Reserve Officers and Infantry NCO School at the RLNA Training Command, and subsequently, as Class Commander for Infantry NCO Training at the Infantry Training Centre.
In 1989 he returned to the Army Corps, where he served as the Company Warrant Officer at the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 43rd Armoured Infantry Brigade. In January 1991, he was appointed to be the first Dutch NCO to attend the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. After graduation, he returned to the Netherlands to serve as the Cadet Battalion Warrant Officer at the Royal Military Academy (equivalent to the U.S. Military Academy) in Breda.
He went on to serve in an international function within the Headquarters of the Dutch Military Representative at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) as an Operations Warrant Officer. During this period, he was also the Chairman of the Senior NCO of the representative NATO countries.
On 8 May 1998, he was appointed as the first Chief Warrant Officer of the Royal Netherlands Army (equivalent to the Sergeant Major of the Army). In June 2001, he was selected as the Chief Warrant Officer of the Netherlands Armed Forces next to the Chief of the Defence Staff. While serving in these positions, he frequently visits troops in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other deployed areas.