Brigadier Dennis Blease was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1973. His early career was spent in Germany and Northern Ireland in a variety of Regimental and staff appointments. After Staff College in Australia he served on the staff of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and assisted in a number of procurement projects including the UK's AS90 SP Howitzer. He subsequently commanded an artillery battery both in Germany and on operations in Northern Ireland, and then spent a year on the operations staff of HQ 1st British Corps at the start of its transformation to be NATO's HQ ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC).
After promotion to Lieutenant Colonel he moved to London, where he was responsible for managing doctrine and operational requirements for UK Artillery. This period included service in Iraq and Kuwait conducting a review of lessons learned from the first Gulf War. From 1993 to 1995 he commanded 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery, which included a 6 month tour of duty in Northern Ireland as an infantry battalion.
A two year period on the teaching staff of the Royal Military College of Science (RMCS), Shrivenham, was followed in 1997 by promotion to Colonel and an appointment in the Plans and Policy area of the MOD in London. Initially he was an Assistant Director and then latterly Deputy Director of NATO and European Policy. During this period he was involved in presenting the UK's Strategic Defence Review to NATO. In May 2000 he was posted to Bosnia for a 6 month tour as Chief J3 in HQ SFOR; at the end of which he was awarded the US Army Meritorious Service Medal. He was then appointed Chief of Staff of the UK's Joint Services Command and Staff College in December 2000.
In January 2002 he was promoted to Brigadier and posted to Naples, where he was the Director of the Joint Operations Centre for NATO's Southern Region. This included the Western Balkans. Between 31 March and 15 December 2003 he was also double-hatted as the European Union Operations Director for Op CONCORDIA. He left Naples at the end of 2003 and assumed the appointment of Commander NATO Headquarters Skopje and NATO Senior Military Representative in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* on 14 January 2004. Since then he has been intimately involved in advising the host Government on defence and security sector reform.
He graduated from RMA Sandhurst in 1973, RMCS Shrivenham in 1983, and the Australian Command and Staff College at Queenscliff, Australia, in 1984. In July 1998 he completed a 3 year part-time master's degree with Cranfield University in Corporate Management. He was awarded 2 academic prizes upon graduation, including one for his dissertation, which was on the management of change. Brigadier Blease is married to Diane, who is a modern languages teacher. They have two children: a son and a daughter, who are in graduate and post-graduate studies.
*Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.