Didier Audenaert was born in 1959. After his classical secondary education, he started his military career at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels in 1977. He has served in Antwerp and in Werl and Lüdenscheid in Germany. As from mid-1992, he was employed at Army Headquarters, in the Internal Audit Section, where he was in charge of several projects resulting from the suspension of conscription. In 1994 he was appointed the personal assistant of the Belgian Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Charlier and then of his successor Vice-Admiral Herteleer. In 1996 he joined the "Army Command and Staff Course" in Camberley (UK), where he graduated with a study on “Should there be a European Security and Defence Identity?”. In 1998 he obtained the best thesis prize of the Chief of Defence for his paper on "The perspectives of a European security and defence policy" at the end of Senior Officers’ Course at the Royal Defence College. Afterwards he stayed in the College as a military professor for (total quality) management and communication. He provided the commentary for the parade of the troops on the Belgian national day for three consecutive years for the national broadcasting company. In 2000, he assumed command of a battalion Damme and later of another battalion in Berlaar.
In 2004 he followed the Senior Course at the NATO Defence College (NDC) in Rome. In the summer of 2004 he became a member of the private office of the Assistant Chief of Staff Strategic Affairs (ACOS STRAT), focussed on national defence policy and international relations, and worked on a renewed long-term vision for the Forces. At the end of 2005 the Commandant of the NDC invited him to become the national faculty adviser of the directing staff of the NDC.
Early in 2009 the Permanent Representative to NATO invited him to become his Defence Counsellor at the Belgian Delegation. In this position, which he kept until half 2015, he has been directly involved in the national positions and preparations for the Summits of Allied heads of state and government in Strasbourg-Kehl, Lisbon, Chicago and Wales (2014). With his team he prepared each year 3 ministerial NATO meetings for ministers of Defence and 2 meetings for ministers of Foreign Affairs. Key dossiers in this period were France joining the military structure, the Strategic Concept and the Political Guidance, the military command structure, ballistic missile defence, the operations in Afghanistan and the Western Balkans, NATO’s response to the Russian illegal actions in Ukraine, the rise of cyber defence, weapons control and disarmament, NATO enlargement, burden sharing, NATO-EU relations etc. He retired from active military duty on 1 April 2015.
After the summer of 2015 he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an expert adviser in NATO-matters and foreign security policy. Again, he was directly involved in the national positions and preparations for NATO Summits of heads of state and government in Warsaw and Brussels (2017 and 2018). Furthermore, in 2018 he assisted the cabinet of the Prime Minister in preparing the national organisation of the Brussels NATO Summit. When he reached the age of 60 he ended his professional career.
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