Institute for Higher National Defence Studies

Institute for Higher National Defence Studies

Institut des hautes études de défense nationale (IHEDN)

Defence – Foreign policy – Armaments and defence economics

Training – Raising awareness – Influencing Background…


The Institute for Higher National Defence Studies replaced in 1948the Collège des hautes études de défense nationale founded by Admiral Castex in 1936. Since its foundation, the remit of IHEDN has been to train senior officials, both civilian and military, in defence issues that are approached from a perspective that goes beyond the purely military context, and to promote a sound knowledge of these issues in the Nation. Over the years, the Institute has adapted itself to the evolution of conflicts and the nature of war and to the requirements that this imposes on the Nation in an environment becoming increasingly internationalised. To the original national training sessions were added sessions in the regions (1954), international sessions (1980), seminars for young people (1996), economic intelligence cycles (1995) and targeted seminars. In 1997, as the end result of a process undertaken following the Edict of 1959 and in the light of the concept of global defence, the Institute became a public administrative establishment placed under the authority of the Prime Minister. …and today’s revamped Institute In an uncertain world marked by the effects of globalisation, France’s ambition to continue to live in freedom and peace has led to the definition of a concept of national security whose objective is to provide responses to all the risks and threats likely to undermine the life of the Nation. The acceptance of this innovative strategy by the greatest number is the key condition for its effectiveness. In 2010, in keeping with the approach of the concept of national security, IHEDN is merging with the Centre des hautes études de l’armement (CHEAr) and is entering into partnership with the Institut national des hautes études de la sécurité et de la justice (INHESJ). Reinforced in its identity, the new IHEDN maintains its remit to develop the spirit of defence, to which is added today the task of raising awareness about international questions. For over seventy years, thanks to the diversity of its training courses and auditors, both civilian and military, French and foreign, IHEDN has been a place dedicated to the circulation of knowledge and raising awareness of defence issues, and has become an influential player.


A wider remit

This now encompasses foreign policy, armaments and defence economics. Hence, the Institute brings together senior officials belonging to the civilian and military public administrations as well as from the different sectors of activity of the Nation, the Member States of the European Union and other states, with the aim of achieving a shared in-depth knowledge of the questions concerning defence policy, foreign policy, armaments and defence economics. It prepares senior military and civilian officials, both French and foreign, to take up their duties in the fields of defence policy, foreign policy, armaments and defence economics. It contributes to the promotion and circulation of all branches of knowledge involving these three fields. To this end, it cooperates with the other institutions responsible for the dissemination of knowledge relating to defence and national security, notably with the associations of auditors. Numerous training courses adapted to needs Depending on the fields they cover, they are designed to provide more in-depth knowledge, or to raise the awareness of different audiences. The training courses take the form of national sessions on "Defence Policy" and "Armaments and Defence Economics", regional sessions and international activities. The Institute also organises seminars targeted at young people aged 20 to 30, students of universities and other third-level institutions, locally elected representatives, judges, departmental prefects, MPs, etc. and to all audiences concerned with economic intelligence. The study themes are chosen in the light of current issues approached from the angle of defence policy, foreign policy, armaments policy and defence economics. Original teaching methods While the duration of the studies differs according to the training courses, the working method is identical, based on three approaches:

- "working in committees" providing a rich complementarity which goes beyond socioprofessional and national segmentations;

- "lectures-debates" during which top-level speakers expound their views;

- "field visits and missions" providing a concrete approach to the course contents.

The Training Department monitors the pedagogical contents and methods of the Institute’s training courses. Institut des hautes études de défense nationale 1, place Joffre, 75700 Paris SP 07


The national training courses

The national session on "Defence policy"

This training course is designed to deepen the knowledge of high officials from all sectors of activity, civilian and military, French and foreign, on the questions of defence and foreign policy as well as the issues of armaments and defence economics so that they can contribute to the debate on strategy. It is held in Paris from September to April. It brings together around 90 auditors, aged 35 to 50, drawn from four professional fields:

- officers of the Air Force, Army and Navy, the Gendarmerie nationale and the DGA;

- senior officials of the state administrations;

- executives and managers from the different economic sectors;

- outstanding "opinion formers": press, elected representatives, representatives of non-profit organisations, professional bodies, employers’ syndicates and trade unions, etc.

The year’s activities cover 50 half-days of study, with a full day on Friday and Sunday morning, along with 30 days of study missions in France or abroad, making up a total of 55 days of training. During their training course, the auditors learn about national security questions in course modules they attend with the other auditors of INHESJ. The list of auditors, drawn up by the Prime Minister’s office, is published in the Official Gazette. Department of "Defence policy" sessions "National Sessions" office


The national session on "Armaments and defence economics"

This purpose of this session is to widen the knowledge of auditors on the issues in the field of armaments and defence economics, in the framework of the national security strategy. Set up in 1964, it is held from September to June, on Thursdays and Fridays. Each year it brings together 50 top-level French and foreign officials, representatives of the Direction générale de l’Armement (DGA, section of the armed forces dedicated to building & testing armaments) and the Ministry of Defence, the administration, senior managers from the defence industry as well as representatives of civil society. Focused on the questions of armaments and, more generally, defence, with a special emphasis on defence economics and European construction, this training course provides a closer knowledge of the armaments sector and the links between its different components. The activities of the course alternate between committee sessions dedicated to strategy issues and study missions in France or abroad. The auditors also attend lectures delivered by top officials of the Ministry of Defence, the armaments industry or authorities in their fields: researchers, journalists, etc. The total duration of the training course is about 70 days. During their training course, the auditors learn about national security questions in course modules they attend with the auditors of INHESJ. Department of "Armaments and defence economics" sessions "National Sessions" office


The training courses in the regions

The "Defence policy" regional sessions

They are intended to raise the auditors’ awareness on defence and security issues, promote the culture of national security, and deepen their knowledge and understanding of these subjects. Since 1954, four regional sessions have been organised each year throughout the country, including the Overseas Departments and Territories. The objective is to enable auditors who cannot attend the national sessions owing to their professional obligations or their geographic remoteness to attend the training courses offered by IHEDN on national defence, foreign policy, armaments and defence economics. The groups consist of about 80 auditors, aged 30 to 55, two thirds of whom come from the public sector, military and civilian, and the other third from the private sector. The activities take place over four periods of four days of study, spread over six weeks, followed by a break of two days. Mondays are free to enable the auditors to meet their professional commitments. The recruitment takes place between the sixth and fourth month before the start of each session. The candidates can apply to their local Prefecture (Service interministeriel de défense et de protection civile). The list of auditors, drawn up by the Prime Minister’s office, is published in the Journal Officiel after each session. Department of "Defence policy" sessions "Regional sessions" office "Stakes" section The IHEDN seminars for young people Three seminars per year, organised in the Paris region and in the provinces, bring together about 80 young people with a minimum of 2 years of higher education. Over one week, these young people from universities and other higher-education institutions or from professional life become familiarised with the problems of defence and security, covering the same content and following the same three key methods as their elders: lectures-debates, committee deliberations and field visits. These seminars are residential in order to favour cohesiveness. Department of "Defence policy" sessions "Economic intelligence and seminars" office


The international training courses

The "Defence policy" international sessions

Since 1980, in partnership with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence, IHEDN has organised international sessions intended for foreign senior officials, both civilian and military. The objective is to invite the auditors to analyse and debate the security and defence issues concerning their own regions and to familiarise themselves with the French and European outlooks on these questions. These sessions contribute to spreading the influence of French thinking on strategy. The international sessions concern:

- the IHEDN forum on the African continent (Fica) which receives about 50 representatives of the continent’s countries (duration: 10 days);

- the Euro-Mediterranean international session (Siem) which brings together 40 auditors from most of the countries on the two sides of the Mediterranean Basin (duration: one week);

- the Asia/Middle East international session (Siamo) which brings together about 35 auditors from Asia and the Gulf countries (duration: one week);

- the Latin America international session (Sial) which brings together 30 auditors from Central and South America and the Caribbean (duration: one week).

The level of recruitment, organised by our embassies, is high. The people concerned are top civil servants, general officers or higher ranks, parliamentarians, ambassadors, academics, journalists, etc. The courses, held in French and the local languages, are conducted in the strictest confidentiality. The bilateral activities The international sessions are backed up by bilateral activities based on setting up cooperation agreements with counterpart foreign Institutes and the organisation of seminars, notably with internationally recognised foreign Institutes.

Principal seminars:

- seminar on "The French approach to anti-terrorism", in partnership with the George Marshall Center (United States);

- Franco-Chinese seminar, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the general staff of the army, navy and air force;

- seminar on "Shared point of view: strategic trends in East Asia", in partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia.

The European Security and Defence College (ESDC) As the French correspondent of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), set up in 2005, IHEDN represents France on the Steering Committee and the Executive Academic Board. Moreover, for the two course levels, the Orientation Course and the High-Level Course, it designates the French candidates and organises the modules taught by France. These training courses are open to the 27 countries of the European Union, as well as to international organisations and other countries. Department of "International Activities" sessions


The international training courses on "Armaments and defence economics"

The European session for armaments officials (Sera) An annual event since 1989, this session is held on one week every month for four months, bringing together 60 top officials from European countries concerned by the questions of armaments, with the emphasis on reuniting a varied range of professional experience. Its aims are to develop better mutual knowledge, favour greater awareness Europe-wide and set up a network that can mobilise itself on the issues of armament policy. It is now recognised as a benchmark training course at European level, under the patronage of the European Defence Agency. The international sessions Since 1994, they have brought together top-level French and foreign auditors from the same geographic zone. For example, they may be dedicated to the countries of Central Asia, Latin America, South-East Asia or of the Near and Middle East. They promote closer contacts between senior officials of the administration and industry who are called upon to work together on military equipment programmes. International Programme Managers (IPM) These sessions have a similar aim, but they are more directly focused on the skills required by programme managers involved in international cooperation. The Centre français de formation pour l’interdiction des armes chimiques (Ciac) / French Training centre for the banning of chemical weapons Set up in the framework of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, since 1993 it has trained international inspectors, French and foreign, and the personnel of the different ministries involved in the application of the Convention in France. Its scope and remit have since been widened to include working with international bodies dedicated to the control of nonconventional armaments and to limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their carriers. It also provides training courses in these fields for the Ministry of Defence. Department of "Armaments and defence economics" sessions "International sessions" office


The specific training courses

In order to disseminate more widely the culture of defence and to intensify social and territorial networking, the Institute has set up various special seminars aimed at targeted audiences. They are organised with the Ministries employing the participants. In line with current concerns and the demand, the Institute can organise specifically themed seminars. Several projects are currently on the drawing board in order to further widen the range of audiences concerned with defence issues (religious authorities, rectors, etc.). They are organised as lectures-debates with experts. The seminars for "Locally elected representatives" Locally elected representatives, whether they are mayors, municipal, departmental or regional councillors, and the elected members of chambers of commerce and industry, owing to their responsibilities and their dedication to serving their local communities, form a sector which it is essential to inform about the realities and issues of national defence. That is why the Institute organises 1-day seminars for these key audiences. The seminar on the "Defence and security of judicial activities" In the framework of the continuing training scheme and in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, an annual 2-day seminar is organised for 30 senior judges. The objective is to inform them about developments involving threats linked notably to terrorist activities and all other kinds of risks. The emphasis is put on preventive measures and crisis management. The seminar for "Prefects" In relation with the Ministry of the Interior, the Institute organises an annual seminar for Prefects of departments lasting 1½ days. It informs the participants about current threats and their impact on the security of society and enables them to establish links between the major international conflicts and more local situations. The seminars for "Parliamentarians" In cooperation with the National Assembly and the Senate, two alternating seminars lasting one morning are organised for the elected representatives of these two chambers. They give them the opportunity to analyse and debate major defence issues with senior public decision-makers behind closed doors. Department of "Defence policy" sessions "Economic intelligence and seminars" office


Training courses for young people

The Institute is also interested in reaching young people, whether they are students or already employed. Their commitment, the responsibilities they already have or will have in the future make them a key audience. So IHEDN has developed specific training courses aimed at them, since 1980 for postgraduate students or students of the “grandes écoles”, and since 1996 for other young people, students or employees, aged 20 to 30. The objective is to make them aware of the key issues and challenges involved in the sphere of defence and security. The IHEDN seminars for young people Three seminars per year, organised in the Paris region and in the provinces, bring together about 80 young people with a minimum of 2 years of higher education. Over one week, these young people from universities and other higher-education institutions or from professional life become familiarised with the problems of defence and security, covering the same content and following the same three key methods as their elders: lectures-debates, committee deliberations and field visits. These seminars are residential in order to favour cohesiveness. The Master 2 "Security-Defence" seminars These seminars, organised in the Ecole militaire, bring together about 80 students in the Master 2 "Security and Defence" course. Drawn up in cooperation with the school’s teaching staff, they provide a practical complement to their more academic courses. They are held three times per year and each one lasts a week. They consist of lectures-debates, deliberations in committees and discussions with senior officers of the three armed forces and the gendarmerie, as well as a visit to an operational unit. The registrations are made with the partner universities of IHEDN.

The "Grandes écoles" seminar

This 4-day seminar brings together 100 students from the “grandes écoles”, the higher-education institutions parallel to the universities, dedicated to studies in administration, military affairs, public works, etc. as well as the schools of business and engineering studies (ENS, HEC, Polytechnique, etc.) This annual seminar enables the Nation’s top-level executives to meet and discuss the issues and challenges involving defence and security. The "National cohesion and citizenship" seminar Set up in 2006, this seminar is devoted to analyses and debates on the questions of citizenship and the diffusion of the spirit of defence throughout the Nation. It is aimed particularly at young people managing non-profit organisations, young private and public sector executives and young elected representatives with responsibilities in the districts of the Île-de-France region. It is an annual 5-day event held at the Ecole militaire. Department of "Defence policy" sessions "Economic intelligence and seminars" office


The training courses in economic intelligence

Set up in 1996 by the Institute, the training courses in economic and strategic intelligence meet the need to incorporate the problems linked to the management of information, a strategic raw material, into the central concerns of players in the country’s economic life. The objective is to make executives and senior management in private and public companies as well as those in the administrations aware of the issues involved in economic and strategic intelligence (ESI). The training cycles on economic and strategic intelligence (ESI) Three cycles are programmed each year. They take place over 7 Fridays of two consecutive months and each one brings together about 50 auditors. These cycles consist of fifteen lectures-debates illustrated by concrete cases, chaired by prominent speakers and specialists of the subjects tackled. The "Economic intelligence" thematic seminars They are held 8 times each year and are intended for auditors already familiar with these issues who make an in-depth study of various aspects of ESI. Lasting one to three days, depending on the subjects dealt with, these seminars provide an opportunity to the small group of participants to deepen their knowledge through concrete case studies of themes such as lobbying, crisis management, juridical intelligence, monitoring tools, knowledge management, etc. The thematic seminars on "Economic security and protection of the heritage" These highlight the reality and the extent of the threats facing the political, military, economic, scientific and industrial sectors, as well as the scale of the damage they can cause to companies and local authorities. They raise the awareness of the participants to the risks of intrusions by external powers or interests to which they may be exposed in their activity. They present the defensive and offensive responses organised at governmental level to offset these threats. Six seminars are organised each year in partnership with four administrations: the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information (ANSSI), the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), the Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI) and the Direction de la protection et de la sécurité de la défense (DPSD). 40 auditors take part in each of these 2-day seminars whose content is adapted to the people concerned: executives of the administrations and public establishments, higher education and research institutions, executives from the private sector, etc. French nationality is required for participation in these seminars. Civil service candidates apply to the senior civil servant for defence of the Ministry concerned, and candidates from the civilian sectors apply directly to IHEDN. Department of "Defence policy" sessions "Economic intelligence and seminars" office


Support for research

 In the fields relating to its remit, the Institute can carry out studies and research either on its own or in cooperation with other French or foreign institutions. It can also provide assistance to the Ministries and to institutions of higher education and research. In liaison with the Ministry of Higher Education, it promotes university courses covering the questions of defence, international relations, armaments and defence economics. In order to carry out this remit and favour cooperation with the university and research world, the Institute concentrates its efforts in two areas: support for student researchers and the valorisation of research. Support for young researchers This is aimed at students enrolled in a French university who have chosen to devote their research work to questions of defence, international relations, armaments and defence economics. It takes the form of two annual programmes. • The joint support programme for defence and security studies of the Secrétariat général de la défense et de la sécurité nationale (SGDSN) and IHEDN. It concerns students enrolled for a doctorate in the human and social sciences. The grant winners are selected by a jury made up of academics and qualified outstanding figures appointed and chaired by the Director of IHEDN. They benefit from a grant for one year that also covers their research expenses, especially those involving field trips. Those receiving grants also join a team of researchers in the Institute which meets every two months to discuss the progress of their work. • The "IHEDN Scientific Prizes" Set up in 1998, they reward Master 2 research theses and doctoral theses defended during the year which make significant contributions to knowledge of defence and security in the field of the human and social sciences. The winners are selected by the scientific council of IHEDN. The "Scientific Prizes" provide encouragement for student researchers completing their Master 2 research or doctoral theses to continue in the field of scientific research. The valorisation of research This is intended to develop the cooperation of the Institute with the higher education institutions, the research centres and the administrations. The valorisation of research also corresponds to the primary remit of the Institute which is to develop the spirit of national defence and spread awareness of international questions. This valorisation activity also promotes strategic and academic research while creating a meeting space for civilian and military researchers, between experts and players in the field. The Institute thus takes the initiative of organising lectures, round tables and conferences either on its own or in partnership with scientific institutions. It may also participate in or support the organisation of seminars by providing intellectual as well as material support. An editorial team circulates the work produced to the audiences interested in it. Lastly, the young researchers supported by IHEDN are associated whenever possible with the scientific activities undertaken by the Institute. Training Department