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Each year, this session brings together auditors, including those from the French overseas departments and territories, from a wide range of sectors, such as members of parliament and local elected representatives, senior civil servants, senior officers, high-level managers from the public and private sectors, employees from the voluntary sector, religious representatives, academics, journalists, trade union leaders, lawyers, consultants and entrepreneurs.

La diversity of the candidates selected to take part in the national session makes an essential contribution to the richness of a session designed to promote a collective reflection on issues marked by their strong dimension interdepartmental and concerning all of the Nation's sectors of activity.

The aim of the training is to provide a comprehensive and complex understanding of defence and security issues: a range of questions that require coordinated responses and an integrated approach. unity of actiona guarantee of their effectiveness.

Whatever the auditors' field of expertise, their skills are put to good use in a collegial discussion of strategic issues. With this in mind, the national session offers all its auditors a common method for drawing up a strategy and situational exercises designed to develop their decision-making skills.

Sharing experience, crossing points of view and decompartmentalising knowledge are a key objective of the national session. The collegial nature of the work undertaken, in the same way as the unique teaching model structuring the training provided, is an essential feature of the national session.



The course is structured around three types of activity:

  • Lecture-debates providing a basis for analysis, discussion and understanding of the issues addressed;
  • Committee workThey are the guarantors of the collegiate nature of the discussions;
  • Research assignmentsThese will be chosen on the basis of the issues to be addressed, so that the discussions can be backed up by practical experience.


▸ Understand to act
The national session gives auditors the opportunity to acquire an knowledge of defence and security issues, and to take ownership of the skills useful for strategic decision-making. In particular, you will learn how to :
- master the issues and problems of national and international defence and security, linked to public policies ;
- mobilise a critical, reasoned and innovative intellectual approach ;
- think strategically;
- deciding in complex situations ;
- be a driving force behind proposals in the fields of defence and security.

▸ Understanding each other to act together
The training provided will also collective experienceThis will enable auditors with a wide range of backgrounds to :

- step outside their sphere of expertise to broaden their viewpoints and question their practices;
- share their knowledge and experience;
- to form a network and a community of commitment acting in the service of the country's strategic interests through its capacity for influence and influence.


The national session of the IHEDN prepares auditors who wish to do so for the skills certification entitled "Mastering defence and security issues for strategic decision-making", registered with the French Ministry of Defence. Specific France Compétences directory under number RS5607.

Skills certification is based on four assessment methods:
- an individual summary ;
- a collective report ;
- an individual recommendation score ;
- a simulation exercise.
Deliverables must be handed in by the deadline indicated at the beginning of the year. It will not be possible to make up or partially validate skills.

France compétences
Satisfaction rate

At the end of each session, auditors are asked to fill in a questionnaire assessing the training, covering: communication, general organisation, support and supervision, conference-debates, study visits and missions, committee work and innovative teaching exercises. Concerning the 2022-2023 national session, 93,5 % of auditors felt that the training as a whole met their expectations.


The national session has two inseparable components:

A COMMON BASE aimed at forging a common defence culture among auditors from a wide variety of backgrounds;

A MAJOR chosen from five themes: armaments and the defence economy, economic defence and security, maritime issues and strategies, defence policy, digital sovereignty and cybersecurity.

The Common Learning Baseis spread throughout the year, with the main aim of acquiring the necessary knowledgeand skills and the methods needed to monitor the sessionThe aim is to ensure that we have a clear understanding of our national defence policy in each area.

In addition to the theoretical and cross-disciplinary aspects of the training, the study assignments, both in France and abroad, also contribute to the development of a solid knowledge base. common defence culture backed up by experience in the field.

These times of shared reflection between the national session auditors, as well as participating in joint activitiesThe content of the common base is based on the principles of solidarity, unity and cohesion.


The national session is divided into modules, each of which includes a section relating to the common foundation and a section specific to each major.

This common structuring of training helps to strengthen the unity of the national session. It also contributes to the necessary sharing of experience and cross-fertilisation of perspectives involved in defence and security issues, which are now more closely intertwined than ever.


National session candidates opt for at moment from registration for one of the following five majors:

From these five majors, candidates choose the one that best suits their needs. need for further informationThis enables them to develop complementary skills in the strategic management of their missions, directly useful in carrying out their responsibilities.

Applicants from the French overseas departments and territories can enrol in the 'Maritime Challenges and Strategies' major, which has been adapted to enable them to complete the entire course.

The five majors of the national session involve, in the same way as the common core of training, on the one hand a sharing of experience between auditors with varied skills, and on the other, going beyond one's initial sphere of expertise.

Each major has its own specific objectivesdetermined on the basis of expectations of the listeners it brings togetherparticularly in terms of specialisation.

In view of their interdependence, the subjects specific to each major are also marked by their transversality.

IHEDN offers permanent residents of French overseas departments and territories special arrangements for taking the national session. For further information, contact


Target audience

Managers and future managers aged between 35 and 55 :

  • parliamentarians and elected representatives ;
  • senior civil servants, senior officers and academics;
  • high-level officials from the public and private sectors;
  • employees in the voluntary sector, journalists and religious representatives, lawyers, consultants and entrepreneurs.

Application requirements

The course is open only to candidates of French nationality.

The course is accessible to people with disabilities, subject to special assistance and within the limits of the requirements for travel (in France and abroad) and teaching activities.

To register : No pre-requisites are required, apart from compliance with the following conditions:

  • register on the website and submit an application in the required digital format before 28 March 2024 ;
  • only complete applications will be examined.

Selection criteria

The main criteria used to select candidates are as follows:

  • career path and level of responsibility;
  • the wealth of their personal experience;
  • commitment during and after the session ;
  • Motivated interest in defence and security issues and in the chosen major;
  • open-mindedness and ability to integrate ;
  • an appetite for collective thinking, dialogue and interaction;
  • career prospects ;
  • the ability to convey your ideas clearly and convincingly.

Selection procedure

After analysing the applications that meet all the conditions and include all the supporting documents required, individual 30-minute interviews with a panel of judges will take place remotely from the end of February to the beginning of May.

Successful candidates are appointed by order of the Prime Minister during the first ten days of July.

Rates and financing

The national session is eligible for the personal training account (CPF).

Private sector (large companies, mid-sized companies and their subsidiaries, banks and insurance companies, law firms and consultancies); comparable organisations: 22 000 €

SMEs, SMIs, VSEs, the professions, the self-employed (excluding law firms), airports and ports, the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the Banque Postale, SNCF, public industrial and commercial establishments, professional bodies for the defence of private interests, company foundations; comparable bodies: 13 000 €

Elected representatives, public employees in the three civil service sectors, public establishments other than EPICs (EPAs, EPSCPs, EPSTs), military personnel, academics, audiovisual journalists, public interest foundations; comparable bodies: 6 500 €

Representatives of trade unions, religious bodies, print media journalists, employees of sports, social, cultural or humanitarian associations or comparable bodies: 3 300 €

The choice of tariff is declarative (and validated by the IHEDN after examining the application)

Registration fees are payable between the time when candidates are admitted to the national session in July 2024 and the start of the school year in September 2024.

The course is eligible for the auditors' personal training account (CPF).


All participants in the national session will be required to complete the following tasks:

  • a committee report ;
  • a summary ;
  • a recommendation;
  • a case study exercise.


Auditor status will be awarded on the basis of the following criteria:

  • attendance ;
  • production of the committee report ;
  • writing the summary.


The Certificate of Competence will be awarded on the basis of an assessment of the following tasks:

  • the committee report ;
  • the summary ;
  • the recommendation note ;
  • the case study exercise.

Registration is now closed.