Stéphane Abrial

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Officier général francais 5 etoiles.svgStéphane Abrial
General Stéphane Abrial 080524-f-1014w-154.jpg
Général d'Armée Aérienne Stéphane Abrial, Commander Allied Command Transformation-NATO
Born (1954-09-07) 7 September 1954 (age 64)
Condom, Gers
Allegiance France
Service/branch French Air Force
Years of service 1976 – 2012
Rank French Air Force-général d'armée aérienne.svgGénéral d'armée aérienne
Commands held Chief of Staff of the French Air Force (2006–2009)
Allied Command Transformation (2009–2012)
Battles/wars Gulf War
Awards Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour
Officer of the Order of National Merit
Médaille de l'Aéronautique
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Grand Officer of the Order of Abdulaziz al Saud (Saudi Arabia)
Grand Officer of the Order of Aeronautical Merit (Brazil)

Stéphane Abrial (French pronunciation: ​[abʁiɑl]), (born 7 September 1954 in Condom, Gers), is a French General who is the previous Commander of Allied Command Transformation based in Norfolk, VA, one of the two NATO strategic commands. His previous posting was as the Chief of Staff of the French Air Force.[1]

French military career[edit]

General Stéphane Abrial graduated in 1973 from the French Air Force academy (École de l'air), and in 1974 from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He completed pilot training at the French Air Force Academy in 1976.

From 1977 to 1991, he served as a fighter pilot both in France (in Cambrai, Dijon and Orange) and, from 1981 to 1984, in a West German Luftwaffe unit. In 1988, he assisted the Greek Air Force in converting its first unit equipped with the Mirage 2000.

In 1991, he took part in the first Gulf War as a fighter pilot and commander of the French Air Force's 5th Fighter Squadron. Later that year, he attended the Air War College, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

From 1992 to 1996, he served in the staffs of the French Air Force Chief of Staff and the Chief of Defense Staff. From 1996 to 1999, he served at NATO Headquarters, in Brussels. In 2000, he became deputy head of the French President's military staff, and in 2002 was appointed head of the French Prime Minister's military staff.

In 2005, General Abrial became head of the French Air Defense headquarters, in Taverny, and in 2006 Air Force Chief of Staff.[2]

NATO Supreme Allied Commander[edit]

Gen. Stéphane Abrial received appointment by the North Atlantic Council as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation on 29 July 2009, the first European to be appointed permanently as head of a NATO strategic command.

In April 2010, he received a Distinguished Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council.[3]

Major military awards[edit]

Legion Honneur GO ribbon.svg Ordre national du Merite Officier ribbon.svg
Gold star
Croix du Combattant (1930 France) ribbon.svg Medaille de l'Aeronautique ribbon.svg Medaille d'Outre-Mer (Coloniale) ribbon.svg
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Silver ribbon.svg GER DOSB Sports Badge ribbon bar.png
Al Saud Commander ribbon.png Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg
BRA Ordem do Mérito Aeronáutico Grande Oficial.png Santos-Dumont Medal of Merit Ribbon.png ESP Gran Cruz Merito Naval (Distintivo Blanco) pasador.svg
NATO Meritorious Service Medal bar.svg SVK Commemorative Medal of the Chief of General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces.png BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg
POL Order Zaslugi RP kl3 BAR.png GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 4 GrVK.svg

Civilian career[edit]

Since July 2015, Abrial is senior executive vice president of international and public affairs of Safran.[9]

Since February 2014, Abrial is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Musée de l’air et de l’espace Paris, since April 2013 Director of the Atlantic Council, and since December 2013 member of the Advisory Board of the Aspen Institute France.[10]


Military offices
Preceded by
Richard Wolsztynski
Chief of Staff of the French Air Force
16 July 2006 – 24 August 2009
Succeeded by
Jean-Paul Paloméros
Preceded by
James Mattis
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
9 September 2009 – 6 August 2012
Succeeded by
Jean-Paul Paloméros