National Defence University of Warsaw

Coordinates: 52°16′00″N 21°10′23″E / 52.26667°N 21.17306°E / 52.26667; 21.17306
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National Defence University of Warsaw
Akademia Obrony Narodowej
Typemilitary university/public university
Active1990 (1990)[1]–2016 (2016)[2]
Rectorpułkownik doktor inżynier Ryszard Parafianowicz
Aleja Generała Chruściela "Montera" 103, 00-910 Warszawa
Logo AON.png

The National Defence University of Warsaw[3] (Polish: Akademia Obrony Narodowej – AON) was the civil-military highest defence academic institution in Poland, located in WarszawaRembertów. In 2016 it was succeeded by the War Studies University.[4]

The National Defence University in Warsaw was established on 1 October 1990 after reform of the General Staff Academy[1][2] (est. 1947) and continued traditions of the Szkoła Rycerska ("The School of Knights") founded on 15 March 1765 and other subsequent military schools. The National Defence University was subordinate directly to the Polish Ministry of National Education. AON was the alma mater of Polish commanding and staff officers and civilian experts in national and international security matters. It also conducted extensive scientific research on state defence issues, military doctrine, theory of warfare, military art, including military strategy, operational art and tactics, also in the field of national and international security. The National Defence University in Warsaw cooperated with the Polish Ministry of National Defence, General Staff, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other Polish and foreign military, scientific and academic institutions.

The school's master's program was a five-years study program, but also AON provided two-years under- and over graduate study programs and four-years PhD (Doctor of Science) programs and higher doctorate (habilitation) opportunity as well.


Corps of Cadets[edit]

The present National Defence University inherits the traditions of all previous Polish military academies. The first such school, the Szkoła Rycerska, was founded in 1765 by King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Its graduates included some of the most notable military men of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Tadeusz Kościuszko, Jakub Jasiński, Maurycy Hauke, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Karol Kniaziewicz, Józef Sowiński, Kazimierz Nestor Sapieha and Rajmund Rembieliński.

Artillery and Engineers School[edit]

In 1794, after the Partitions of Poland, the school was closed. However, after 1815 the recreation of the Kingdom of Poland allowed for opening several military colleges in Poland. The most notable, Szkoła Aplikacyjna Artylerii i Inżynierii (Artillery and Engineers School), was located in Warsaw and trained cadres of the Polish Army that fought in the November 1830 Uprising against Russia. Only some 24 officers were admitted each year, making its graduates an elite of the Polish armed forces. The instructor in French language was Mikołaj Chopin, father of renowned composer Fryderyk Chopin. After the November Uprising, the school was closed by Russian authorities. However, military training of Polish officers continued in foreign schools, most notably in France and Italy.

The War College[edit]

Monument to Napoleon Bonaparte in front of the main Higher War School campus in Warsaw; after the war the monument was moved to the Museum of the Polish Army

Wyższa Szkoła Wojenna (English: War College—literally, "Higher War School") was the most important Polish military academy in the period between the World Wars. Located at Warsaw, it was established to train high-ranking officers of the Polish Army and of the armed forces of several allied states.[5] It was a predecessor of Poland's present National Defense Academy (Polish: Akademia Obrony Narodowej).

After the rebirth of Poland in 1918, there was already a well-trained and experienced cadre of Polish field officers trained in the armies of the partitioners (Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary) as well as in France. However, the occupants of Poland rarely promoted the Poles to higher ranks and the reborn Polish Army was seriously lacking officers trained in general staff duties and in command of entire armies. To eliminate the problem, in cooperation with the French Military Mission to Poland and the Paris-based École supérieure de guerre, a Szkoła Wojenna Sztabu Generalnego (War School of the General Staff) was formed in mid-1919.

After the Polish–Bolshevik War, on August 16, 1922, the school was renamed to Wyższa Szkoła Wojenna (WSW, Higher War School). Until 1928, most professors were French, with Polish officers serving mostly as their assistants. Among them was Charles de Gaulle, the future president of France, who was a professor of tactics. The training was not limited to military affairs and among the civilians working there were some of the most notable scientists of the era, including Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Edward Lipiński and Marian Kukiel. Apart from the theoreticians, the professors included a large number of officers who gained combat experience in World War I, Polish–Bolshevik War, Polish–Ukrainian War and Polish–Lithuanian War, as well as the Greater Poland Uprising and Silesian Uprisings. Because of their experience, the school became prestigious and attracted many students from abroad, most notably from France, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia and even Japan. Among them were also the officers of the former Ukrainian army of Semen Petlura and White Russian emigrees.

During the 20 years of its existence, the Wyższa Szkoła Wojenna trained more than 1300 officers of the Polish Army. Most of them repaid the debt for Poland during the Polish Defensive War of 1939, while the majority of professors formed the staff of Poznań Army, the most successful of Polish Armies in the 1939 campaign.

After Poland was overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union, the school was closed. However, on November 11, 1940, it was recreated in London. It trained the officers of the Polish Army in Exile, fighting alongside the Allies on all fronts of World War II. The professors were recruited from among the active officers of the Polish HQ and the students included many of the notable generals of the Polish forces in Exile. In addition, the school was the alma mater of all highest-ranking Czechoslovak officers of the exiled army. It was closed in 1946, after the Allies withdrew their support for the Polish government.

The War College in Exile[edit]

The outbreak of World War II interrupted the activities of War College only for several months. Order of the Supreme Commander of 11 November 1940, resumed its activities initially in London (United Kingdom) and later in Scotland. To the War College in Exile were appointed officers – in ranks of lieutenants and captains. Students were also the Czechoslovak army officers. The purpose of education was to prepare personnel to serve in the brigade and division staffs of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. The program and methods of education were similar to those from the period War College in Warsaw. School received establishment to the exercises, instructions and other normative documents from the British armed forces, allowing joint operations. School staff were officers of the Polish Commander of Staff. The activities of the War College in Exile was halted in July 1946. After the World War II, traditions of higher military education were continued in the Poland.

General Staff Academy[edit]

In 1947 a General Staff Academy was created. Its graduates have included Zygmunt Zieliński, Bolesław Chocha, Antoni Jasiński and Wojciech Jaruzelski.

Organizational units[edit]

  • National Security Faculty
  • Management and Command Faculty
  • War Games and Simulation Center
  • CBRN Defence Training Centre
  • Officers Training Centre
  • Foreign Languages Teaching Centre
  • Physical Education and Shooting Training Branch
  • Centre of International Cooperation
  • Library
  • Studies Organization Department
  • Financial Office
  • Human Resources Department
  • Logistic Department
  • Science and Research Branch
  • Promotion of Education and Culture Branch
  • Protection of Classified Information Branch
  • Work Safety Section
  • National Defence University Publishing House


Studies for officers:

Second degree studies (leading to a master's degree) in the following areas:

  • National Security
  • Economics
  • Logistics
  • Management with two specialisations: command and command of aviation National Security

Postgraduate studies and advanced courses:

  • Post-graduate Defence Policy Studies
  • Advanced Operational-Strategic Course
  • Post-graduate Operational-Tactical Studies
  • Post-graduate Air Force Command Studies

Studies for civilians:

Full-time and part-time first degree studies (leading to a bachelor's degree) and second degree studies (leading to a master's degree) in the following areas:

  • National Security
  • European Studies
  • Logistics
  • Management with two specialisations: Management and Command or Aviation Management
  • History

Postgraduate studies in the field of:

  • National Security
  • Aviation Management
  • Information Security Management
  • Economic Systems Logistics
  • Crisis Management
  • International Military Relations
  • Management in Military Staffs
  • State's Economic Security
  • Public Organizations Management
  • Civil-Military Cooperation
  • Management and Command in Multinational Organizations
  • Education for Security
  • Polemology – study of war and peace
  • The Use of Force in Armed Conflicts
  • Counter-Terrorism


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "25 lat Akademii Obrony Narodowej". 21 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b "AON zostanie przekształcona w Akademię Sztuki Wojennej". 22 June 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  3. ^ Statut Akademii Obrony Narodowej Archived 2012-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ War Studies University
  5. ^ Jędrysiak, Jacek (2020-10-12). Prussian Strategic Thought 1815–1830: Beyond Clausewitz. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-43843-9.
52°16′00″N 21°10′23″E / 52.26667°N 21.17306°E / 52.26667; 21.17306