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Centre for Advanced National Defence Studies


The Higher Centre for Advanced National Defence Studies (CESEDEN in Spanish) is the main joint military training centre of the Spanish Armed Forces. CESEDEN is responsible for providing courses in higher national defence studies, as well as carrying out tasks of research, promotion dissemination of the defence culture.

In order to carry out its duties and, especially, to provide studies leading to postgraduate degrees, CESEDEN will collaborate with public universities, university defence centres and other public and private corporations, by means of the pertinent agreements.






Lieutenant General Francisco Bisbal Pons was born in Palma de Mallorca, 8th January 1959. He grew up and attended school in San Fernando (Cadiz).

He joined the Naval Academy in 1979, being commissioned as a 1ST Lieutenant in 1984.


1st Lieutenant:

·          Special Operations Unit (Amphibious Marine Brigade) San Fernando (Cadiz), 1984-85.

·          Naval Aviation School, Rota (Cadiz), 1986.

·          6th and 3rd Helicopter Squadrons, Naval Aviation Wing, Rota (Cadiz), 1986-87.


·          3rd Helicopter Squadron, Naval Aviation Wing, Rota (Cadiz), 1987-1991.

·          Amphibious Warfare School (student), Quantico (USA), 1991-1992.

·          Amphibious Marine Brigade, (Battalion S-1 and S-3), San Fernando (Cadiz) 1992-93.

·          HQ and Sv Company Commander, Amphibious Marine Brigade, San Fernando (Cadiz) 1993-1995.


·          Marine Corps School (teacher in Amphibious Operations), San Fernando (Cadiz), 1995-1997.

·          Naval War College (student), Madrid, 1997-98.

·          Amphibious Marines Brigade (Chief of Operations) San Fernando (Cadiz), 1998-1999.

·          Maritime Component Commander NATO HQ (Plans and Policy Division) Northwood (UK). 1999-2002.

Lieutenat Colonel:

·          Navy General Staff (Plans and Policy Division), Madrid, 2002-2004.

·          3rd   Amphibious  Mechanized  Battalion  Commander  (Amphibious  marine  Brigade),  San  Fernando (Cadiz), 2004-06.

·          Spanish Marine Corps HQ (Plans Branch), Madrid, 2006.

·          Spanish High Readiness Force Maritime Headquarters (Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy), Rota (Cadiz), 2006-09.

·          Spanish Marine Corps Headquarters (Plans and Policy branch), San Fernando (Cádiz), 2009-10.

·          Chief of Staff at the Spanish High Readiness Force Maritime Headquarters, Rota (Cadiz), 2010-11.


·          Chief of Staff in the Spanish Marines Headquarters, San Fernando (Cadiz), 2011-13.

·          Spanish Joint Staff College, (Head of the Strategy and International Relations Department), Madrid, 2013-15.

Brigadier General:

·          Academic Director at the Spanish Joint Staff College, Madrid, 2015-2017.

Major General:

·          Commandant of the Spanish Joint Staff College, Madrid.

Lieutenat General:

Director of the Higher Centre for National Defence Studies (CESEDEN).

Operational experience

·          OPERATION “IRAQI FREEDOM” (JUL 03-JAN 04). He was assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad (Iraq) as a Military Advisor in the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT). He was assigned as acting Chief of Plans in the CMATT and he bore the responsibility as Project Officer for the creation of the first 3 battalions in the NIA and the new Joint Headquarters. He was awarded an Army Cross Medal by the Spanish Secretary of Defence and the US Bronze Star by the US Secretary of the Army.

·          OPERATION “MAR CARIBE” (MAR 05- JUL 05). He held the position of Spanish contingent commander and Spanish-Moroccan multinational battalion commander, under the framework of the UN Military Mission for the Stabilisation of Haiti (MINUSTAH).

OPERATION “ALTHEA” (NOV 08- MAY 09), JOC DIRECTOR in EUFOR HQ, in Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina).

Main Courses Attended

·               Naval War College, Madrid, 1998

·               Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico (USA), 1992

·               Naval Aviation Military Speciality, Rota, 1986

·               Amphibious Operations Course, San Fernando 1994

·               Helicopter Basic Course, Armilla, 1986

·               Naval Aviation speciality, Rota, 1986

·               Helicopter Instrumental Flight Course, Armilla, 1987

·               Peace Support Operations Course, NATO School Ogerammenrgau (Germany), 1999.

·               NATO Operational Planning Course, Delft (The Netherlands), 2000

·               Parachute School, (Paratrooper), Alcantarilla, 1984

·               Forward Air Controler, Tablada, 1983

·               Peace Support Operations Course, Spanish Army War College, 2007

·               Flag Officers qualification Course. Joint Staff College, Madrid, 2013.

·               National Defence Course, CESEDEN, Madrid, 2016.

·               Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors Course (GFOAC), NADEFCOL, Rome, 2018.

He has been guest lecturer on operational, leadership and Geopolitics at the following institutions: NATO  School  (Oberammergau,  Germany),  the  Army War  College  (Madrid),  the  Spanish  Naval Academy (Marín), the Spanish Marines School (Cartagena), the Amphibious Warfare School (USA), the Army War College (Madrid), the Joint Staff College (Madrid), the Portuguese Institute for Military Studies (Lisbon), the Diplomatic School (Madrid), NATO Northwood HQ (United Kingdom), NATO Joint  HQ  Brunssum  (The  Netherlands),  NATO  Joint  HQ  Naples,  NATO  School  Oberammergau (Germany) and the Ortega-Marañon Foundation (Madrid).

Language Profile

English, NATO, SLP, 4, 4, 4, 4

Military Awards

·       1 St. Hermenegildo Grand Cross

·       1 Navy Merit Grand Cross

·       1 St. Hermenegildo Plaque

·       1 St. Hermenegildo Commendation Medal

·       1 St. Hermenegildo Cross Medal

·       6 Navy Merit Cross Medals

·       1 Army Merit Cross Medal

·       1 Commendation Medal of the Spanish Order “Isabel la Católica”

·       1 US Bronze Star (Iraqui Freedom)

·       1 Naval Medal Rep of Chile

·       1 UN Medal MINUSTAH (Haiti)

·       1 European Security and Defence Policy Medal (OP ALTHEA)

·       1 Mariscal Trompowsky Medal (Brasil)

·       1 Guardia Civil Silver Cross

·       2 Navy Commendations

Other information

 Lt.  Gen  Bisbal  has  published  several  articles  in  professional  magazines,  related  to  operational experiences, leadership, strategy and international relations.