Chief of Defence – Italy
General Biagio Abrate was born in S. Albano Stura (Cuneo, Italy) on November 8th 1949.
From 1969 to 1971, he attended the Modena Military Academy, and, from 1971 to 1974, the Turin School of Application with the rank of Infantry Second Lieutenant.
After being promoted Alpine Lieutenant, he covered the position of Commander of the Rifle Platoon of the “Bolzano” Alpine Battalion in Bressanone.
In 1975, he was assigned to the “Trento” Alpine Battalion in the Puster Valley, where he commanded the Mortar and Rifle Companies with the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain.
In 1979, he served as Commander of the Non-Regular Officer Cadets’ Company at the Alpine Military School in Aosta.
From 1987 to 1990, he was posted to the 2nd Section of the Recruiting, Status and Promotion Office of the Army General Staff, where he served with the ranks of Major and Lieutenant Colonel.
From 1990 to 1992, he was Commander of the “Bassano” Alpine Battalion in San Candido (Bolzano).
In 1992, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Alpine Military School in Aosta.
In 1994, with the rank of Colonel, he covered the position of Commander of the Florence Military District.
In 1996, he was assigned to the Cabinet of the Minister of Defence as Head of the 1st Office.
In 1998, he was posted to the “Taurinense” Alpine Brigade in Turin, where he held the position of Deputy Brigade Commander until October 29th 1999, with the ranks of Colonel and then Brigadier General.
From October 30th 1999 to November 11th 2000, he was Commander of the “Taurinense” Alpine Brigade. In that period, namely from July 3rd to November 3rd 2000, he commanded the Multinational Brigade West in Pec, Kosovo.
From November 12th 2000 to July 3rd 2001, he was Chief of Staff of the Alpine Troops in Bolzano.
On July 4th 2001, he took on the post of Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Defence.
On January 1st 2003, he was promoted Major General, and, on February 8th 2006, he was appointed Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Defence, the Hon. Antonio Martino.
During the following Parliament, he was appointed Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Defence, the Hon. Arturo Parisi, and, on January 23rd 2007, was promoted Lieutenant General.
In the current legislative term, his appointment as Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Defence, the Hon. Ignazio La Russa, was confirmed, until he assumed the position as Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director.
On January 18th 2011, he was appointed Chief of Defence Staff.
He attended skiing and mountaineering training courses (1974) and advanced skiing and mountaineering courses (1975 and 1976), qualifying as Highly-Skilled Military Ski Instructor and Highly-Skilled Military Mountaineering Instructor, as well as Military Alpine Guide and Academic Alpinist.
He also attended the 108th Basic Staff Course (1983-1984), the 108th Advanced Staff Course (1986-1987) and, in 1995-1996, the Institute of Higher Defence Studies.
He attained a degree and a 2nd level master certificate in Strategic Sciences from the University of Turin. Moreover, he obtained a degree in Political Sciences from the University of Trieste with a thesis in Public International Law.
General Abrate received the Silver Medal of Merit for Length of Command, the Gold Cross with Star for Service Seniority, the Mauritian Medal for Distinguished Military Service, the decoration of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the Cross of Commander with Swords pro Merito Melitensi, and the decoration of the Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great.
He has also received the Knight’s Cross of the Military Order of Italy and the Army Bronze Cross for Merit, for his meritorious service as Commander of the Multinational Brigade West in the Kosovo mission in 2000.