General (Ret) Prof Dr. Zoltán Szenes, Ph.D.

General (Ret) Prof Dr. Zoltán Szenes, Ph.D.

Professor of Security and Defence Studies
National University of Public Service, Budapest


Visiting Professor / NATO Studies



General (Ret) Dr. Zoltán Szenes was born in Köcsk, Hungary on 23 July 1951. He joined the Hungarian Army in 1969. After graduating from Military Technical Academy (Budapest) he was commissioned in 1973 and assigned to 25th Tank Regiment in Tata as a supply officer. He served in the 11th Tank Division from 1974 to 1975 as a staff officer.

After completing the War College of Logistics and Transportation in former Leningrad in 1979, he served for three years as the Chief of Staff for Logistics of the 9th Mechanised Division, Kaposvár, HU.

From 1982 to 1985, General Szenes was a student, earning his Ph.D. at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 1985, he was a senior lecturer at the Zrínyi Miklós War College in Budapest. In September 1986, he became the Head of the Logistics Department.

General Szenes was appointed as the Chief of Supply Services in the Defence Command in 1991 where he was in charge of logistics supply for the both Services of the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF). In 1992, he earned a Master of Science degree in Economics at Budapest University of Economics and then University Doctor Degree in World Economics in 1994. In 1995, he served as a Fellow at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, UK.

In January 1996 he filled the position of Head of the Education and Science Department, Ministry of Defence in Budapest, HU. With his leadership, the Hungarian military higher educational institutions were transformed into one, single National Defence University in 1997.

Between February 1998 and March 1999 General Szenes was the Hungarian Military Representative to NATO and WEU in Brussels, BE. He played an important role in meeting the Minimum Military Requirements by the HDF during NATO enlargement process.

From April 1999 to July 2002 he was ACOS Logistics at HQ AFSOUTH, Naples, IT. In his NATO post he was responsible for coordinating the logistic support in five different NATO peace support operations in the Balkans. He was a permanent rapporteur about the Balkans theatre logistic issues for Senior NATO Logisticians’ Conference in Brussels.

In July 2002 he was promoted to Major General and between July 2002 and February 2003 he filled the position of Director of Defence Staff of HU MOD. He was also the Project Director of the Defence Review 2002-2003 in Hungary.

On 1 March 2003 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned to the position of Chief of Defence Staff. During his CHOD tour, the HDF were transformed into the all voluntary force, the new capability-oriented planning system was introduced in the Ministry of Defence, and the Hungarian contribution to various peace operations almost doubled. As he did not agree with some defence policy changes in Hungary, he resigned from his position on 1st February 2005 and took an early retirement.

Dr. Szenes joined the Department of Security and Defence Policy at Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University (ZMNDU) in June 2005 as an Associate Professor. He teaches Security Studies, Defence Policy, NATO Studies and Defence Management at BSc, MSc and PhD level. In 2013 he was appointed the Head of Department for International and Security Studies in the Institute of International Studies at the National University of Public Service (NUPS). He is the chair of the Security Studies Course in the Military Science Doctorate School at the University Gen Szenes has also been an Adjunct Professor in the Baltic Defence College since 2007.

Since 2008 he has been the Chairman of the Military Science Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Between 2007 and 2013 he was a Doctor Representative in the Assembly for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. General Szenes was a member of the Advisory Team on Foreign and Security Policy to the Prime Minister from 2007 to 2009 and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009-2010. He was also a Member of the Advisory Committee for Science and Education in the MOD. From this capacity, he was the co-writer of the first Hungarian Military Strategy in 2008-2009. General Szenes also worked for the Allied Command of Transformation from 2005 to 2009 as a Senior Concept Developer. In recognition of his Academic and Advisory Accomplishment, the President of Hungary promoted him General (retired) in 2008 and appointed him Professor in 2009. Gen Szenes was involved in the New NATO Strategic Concept work as Member of MFA Expert Group in Hungary.

Dr. Zoltán Szenes is a Member of the Hungarian Logistics Association, the Hungarian Society of Military Sciences, and the Eurodefence Hungary. He was also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London from 1995-2005. He was the Co-President of the Budapesti Honvéd Sports Club, Budapest from 2004-2010. He also run “Honvéd” Military Pension Fund between 2005- 2012.

General Szenes’ personal awards include the Meritorious Service Award, the “Pro Scientia” Gold Medal, Hungarian NATO Enlargement Medal, NATO KFOR and SFOR Medal, the Officer Service Medal 1st Class, Andrássy Gyula Price for developing the international military relations and Tanárky Sándor Price for outstanding research work. In 2004 he received the NATO Service Award, the Cross of the Legion of Honour (officer grade) of the Republic of France and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (military division). He was honored by Medal of Merit from the Baltic Defence College in 2010.

General Szenes is married, has one daughter and three grandchildren. His hobbies include running, reading and travelling.

Budapest, February 2014. 


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Gen. Joachim Spiering


Professor John F. Troxell

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