Colonel (GS, Retd) Johan Swennen started his military career as a young cadet in 1972. After completing the Military Academy in Brussels he became a cavalry officer and served for 17 years in Germany at platoon, squadron, battalion, and brigade level. In 1993 he served for 4 months as an EU observer in Bosnia. From 1994 till 1996 he was the commander of a Battlefield Surveillance Unit. In 1997 and 1998 he was the commander of the Intelligence School of the Army. As the battalion commander of a reconnaissance battalion he served for 4 months in 2000 with his unit in Kosovo. In 2001 he was prepositioned with his unit in Gabon for an extraction operation in Congo. From 2001 till 2004 he served as a staff officer in the Belgian General Staff. In 2004 he was appointed for more than three years as the Belgian Defense Attaché in Moscow, accredited for Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. From 2008 till 2010 Colonel (GS, Retd) Swennen served as a Faculty Member at GCSP, seconded by the Belgian Government. In 2011 he was deployed in Afghanistan at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul. Colonel (GS, Retd) Swennen did Staff and War College in Brussels, is an alumnus of the NATO Defense College in Rome and an Associate Fellow at GCSP.