European Security and Defence College

European Security and Defence College
Type Network college
Established 2005

The European Security and Defence College (ESDC) is a body of the External Action Service (EEAS) of the European Union (EU) that provides training and education at EU level in the field of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), which is part of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The ESDC has limited legal capacity.

The ESDC aims is to develop a common understanding of CSDP among civilian and military personnel, and to disseminate best practice in relation to various CSDP issues.[1]


Under the auspices of the Greek Presidency in 2002, the concept of 'common training' was introduced. The idea behind this was to develop a European security culture by providing equipped personnel both in the EU Member States and within the EU institutions.

The ESDP was created in 2005 by decision of the Council of the EU [2].

In 2008 the Military Erasmus programme was introduced.


The ESDC is organised in a four-tier structure:

  • Head of the ESDC, responsible for the financial and administrative management of the ESDC;
  • ESDC Secretariat, responsible for supporting the Head of the ESDC in fulfilling his tasks.
  • Steering Committee, responsible for ESDC training activities;
  • Executive Academic Board, responsible for ensuring the quality and coherence of ESDC training activities via initiatives such as Military Erasmus, eLearning, the task force on CSDP missions and operations training, and the Doctoral School;

The college is currently composed of around 140 national training institutes (including national defence academies, police colleges, diplomatic training institutes, the European Defence Agency and other educational and academic institutions).

The ESDC develops numerous training activities, mostly with a regional or horisontal focus, ranging from newcomer courses up to strategic leadership level courses such as the CSDP High Level Course. The latest discussions on CSDP in various Council bodies have put pre-deployment training, in-mission training and other mission-related training on the ESDC agenda.

Military Erasmus

The ESDC's Military Erasmus programme, formally the European initiative for the exchange of young officers, aims to instil a common security and defence culture in young European officers and thereby amplifying interoperability between armed forces. This programme is modelled on its civilian counterpart, Erasmus+.

See also


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