The Italian CHOD opens the European Perspectives Field Study at the NATO Defense College
Senior Course 131’s first Field Study started in Rome on 2 October with excellent presentations from the Italian Chief of Defence (CHOD) General Claudio Graziano and from officials representing the Ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs and the Interior.
The Commandant of the NATO Defense College LtGen Chris Whitecross and the Senior Italian Representative welcomed the Senior Course and guests and the Commandant underlined the outstanding support given by Italy as Host Nation to the NATO Defense College.
General Claudio Graziano, Chief of the Italian Armed Forces, praised the Field Study Programme as a great opportunity for development and personal growth offered to Course Members, providing them with the chance to be in contact with different countries. He then spoke about the most pressing topics in international security: the migration flows from the Sahel, international terrorism and the proliferation of transnational criminal organizations. General Graziano stated that “this three dimensional approach needs to be simultaneously tackled and to do so we need all our capabilities in our hands”. In order to cope with these crises, General Graziano defended the role of international organizations (i.e. NATO, the EU and the UN) and stressed the importance of their cooperation to raise operational effectiveness. Touching upon Italy and its strategic posture, General Graziano underlined the priorities and main interests of the country, mentioning the daily communication on security between the different ministries . “Italian strategy”, – General Graziano stressed – “is focused on the Mediterranean for obvious historical and geographical reasons. In all international fora as well as in terms of domestic policy, Italy promotes the development of strategies dealing with the security challenges emerging from the so-called “Southern Flank” of NATO and Europe, without shirking its responsibility, as an active and engaged member of NATO, in Eastern Europe.”
He then described the concrete contributions made by Italy to international and also national operations, like the regional hub for the South, based at NATO’s Joint Forces Command in Naples. “Hub for the South is a key answer able to build a bridge with the MENA region. It has to be conceived of as a control room for planning and implementing all southern activities” the General stated. In his view, the hub represents another example of how Italy implements the strategy described in its White Book. At the end of his outstanding presentation he kindly answered questions from Course Members.
Continuing with the demonstration of whole of government efforts, Course Members heard presentations from Major General Lorenzo D’Addario, representing the MoD, Mrs Federica Favi, Embassy First Counselor of the MFA and Dott Ezio Gaetano from the State Police, working for the MoI. They all emphasized the necessary complementarity between the EU and NATO from their different perspectives. From the Foreign Affairs standpoint, this complementarity is necessary to fulfill the current process of adaptation in NATO; from the military perspective it is necessary to contain today’s crises and to prevent them in the future; and from the police perspective, to better cooperate and use the different instruments (Europol, Interpol) to address the different challenges Italy is facing too. The presentations were followed by a question and answer period.
In the afternoon, Course Members were invited to visit the Joint Operations Centre of the Armed Forces in Rome, and were able to appreciate the concrete operationalization of the morning’s briefings, i.e. multi-operational complexity.
Course Members enjoyed a very informative programme for the initial day of their first Field Study. Italy demonstrated the coherent and realistic approach adopted by all ministries, which is the result of a carefully drafted and implemented strategy.
The NATO Defense College organizes Field Studies so that Course Members can gain first-hand knowledge of security policies, structures, workings and functions of national defence establishments, governments and international organizations by meeting national, regional, and global decision-makers in their respective capitals and headquarters.