Who we are

Before the foundation of the ESDC back in 2005, there was no single entity within the EU devoted either to training and education at European level, or to the development of a common European security culture. It was only then that ESDC was officially established, aiming to deliver strategic-level education on CSDP, and provide knowledgeable personnel, within both EU Institutions and EU Member States. Currently ESDC reaches out even beyond the European borders, aiming to further promote EU values and share best practices in security and defence.

Our mission

The ESDC, in the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), provides EU–level training and education, in the field of the Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It aims to develop and promote a common understanding of CSDP among civilian and military personnel, and to identify and disseminate, through its training activities, good practices in relation to various CSDP issues. By doing so, the ESDC complements the national efforts in the field of training and education.

Our Objectives

The ESDC, following the Council decision of its constitution, has the following objectives:

  • to further enhance the common European security and defence culture within the Union and to promote the principles laid down in Article 21(1) TEU outside the Union;
  • to promote a better understanding of CSDP as an essential part of CFSP;
  • to provide Union instances with knowledgeable personnel able to work efficiently on all CSDP and CFSP matters;
  • to provide Member States’ administrations and staff with knowledgeable personnel familiar with Union policies, institutions and procedures in the field of CSDP and CFSP;
  • to provide CSDP Missions’ and Operations’ personnel with a common understanding of CSDP Missions’ and Operations’ functioning principles and a sense of common European identity;
  • to provide training and education responding to training and educational needs of CSDP Missions and Operations;
  • to support Union partnerships in the field of CSDP and CFSP in particular partnerships with those countries participating in CSDP missions;
  • to support civilian crisis management including in the field of conflict prevention, and establishing or preserving the conditions necessary for sustainable development;
  • to promote the European Initiative for the Exchange of Young Officers;
  • to help promote professional relations and contacts among the participants in the training and education activities. Where appropriate, attention shall be paid to ensuring consistency with other activities of the Union.
  • to provide Member States’ and Union administrations with knowledgeable personnel familiar with Union policies, institutions, procedures and best practices in the field of cyber security and defence.’;

Management & Organization

The ESDC is organised as a network bringing together civilian and military institutes, colleges, academies, universities, institutions and other actors dealing with security and defence policy issues within the Union as identified by Member States. The College is embedded in the European External Action Service, but has its own legal capacity. The European Security and Defence College is organised in a four tier structure:

Coordination & Direction

The Steering Committee draws responsible for the overall coordination and direction of the ESDC training activities;

Organising & Managing

The Head of the ESDC is responsible for the financial and administrative management of the ESDC, as well as assisting the Committee and the Board in organising and managing ESDC activities;

Quality and Coherence

The Executive Academic Board ensures the quality and coherence of the ESDC training activities;

Assist Head of the ESDC

The ESDC Secretariat assists the Head of the ESDC in fulfilling his tasks.

The ESDC is funded via an operating grant guided by the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), which is co-located with the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Our network members

The ESDC was created as a network college and therefore relies on certified national entities. The college is currently composed of more than 100 National Training Institutes with various areas of expertise and back-grounds. Network members range from national defence academies to peace universities, from police colleges to diplomatic training institutes. Some of the college’s activities are hosted by Ministries or Permanent Representations, others by EU Institutions or other EU entities including the European External Action Service.