Session européenne pour les responsables d'armement (European Session for Armament Officials)


Aim of SERA

The “session européenne des responsables d’armement” has been organised since 1989. The aim of the SERA is to broaden the links between European nations who are planning to co-operate on military procurement programmes.

The SERA provides senior managers involved in defence equipment matters and in European collaboration with an environment for training and reflection, meetings and uninhibited discussion with the aim of strengthening the European outlook in matters concerning defence and defence equipment and to improve mutual understanding between partners.

The training available does not require any specific technical working knowledge, but supposes a basic knowledge of how the international organisations involved in armaments matters operate. It aims to prepare participants for their future responsibilities by giving them information about methods and procedures used by organisations in charge of military equipment programmes, and by directing their thoughts towards European defence equipment matters, in their geopolitical, strategic, economic and industrial context.

This training is provided over 4 weeks, distributed over 5 months between February and June, in France and in two other European countries.

One of the most important benefits of the SERA is the value gained by the auditors, both on their own account and for their country, from a comparison of working methods and professional experiences. The joint activity and the visits favour a dialogue between individuals of similar status and from different backgrounds, and ensure that benefits are gained from a confrontation of ideas.



A session consists of about 60 participants whose background is as follows:

  • Senior government executives/managers, civil or military, from the defence equipment directorates of the country concerned or belonging to other ministerial departments which are involved with Defence matters,
  • Generals or colonels from the service staffs either with operational functions or who have responsibilities involving the definition of military requirements or plans,
  • Directors and senior managers from companies directly linked to equipment manufacture (prime contractors, but also major co-operative partners, sub-contractors and equipment manufacturers), and sometimes from financial institutions involved in defence equipment activity.

The participants must already be involved in European matters involving defence and defence equipment, and in their economic, industrial and social aspects. Importance is attached to a variety of backgrounds and previous experiences.

The auditors must be available to participate in all the activities throughout the 4 weeks of the session.

A general theme is chosen for each session. The auditors of the session will be asked to join a committee where they will have the task of writing a report on a sub-theme of this general theme and presenting it at the end of the session in June. It is reminded that between the different phases of the session, work related to the final report should continue between the auditors of the different committees.

A good knowledge of the English language is essential to ease communication between participants and to allow them to properly follow the session activities as well as to enable understanding of all the documents.

A typical participant holds or is about to take up high levels of responsibility in the defence equipment field and is to serve for at least 7 years more. The adequate/nominal age is between 40 to 50.


Training organisation

The training of SERA participants relies on an original and interactive method built around a group of activities linked to a central theme:

  • Conferences intended to supply information to the auditors, followed by an exchange of opinions with the speaker.
  • Committee work where each committee (groups of 10 people from different nationalities) is in charge of studying a defined subject whose conclusions are presented at the end of the session in June. These reports are then published and forwarded to the National Armament Directors and different International Organisations.
  • Visits within and outside France which give an insight into certain aspects of the defence industry and the organisation of the armed forces.

The principle adopted for the lectures, debates, committees and visits is to use English as a working language.



Content of the application file

An application file contains:

  • a completed SERA application form,
  • an activity resume,
  • a good quality identity photo (preferably in electronic form).



The hosting countries (France and the countries co-organisers) are responsible for organisational and training costs. Accommodation expenses (hotel and a certain number of meals) will be the responsibility of the participants.


Further information

For any further information please contact the international training department.

Vincent DUEZ
Project Manager
Tel : +33 1 44. 42.38.40
Fax : +33 1 76 64 88 52
E-mail :

1 place Joffre,  Paris 7ème