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NDC - News-Italy and NATO: A close look at Italy’s Defence and Strategic Approach

Italy and NATO: A close look at Italy’s Defence and Strategic Approach

  • 03 Nov. 2023
  • |
  • Last updated: 21 Jan. 2024 12:55

The start of Field Study 2 for the NATO Defense College's Senior Course 143 was marked by a comprehensive two-day tour in Rome, Italy, encompassing visits to key institutions, including the Italian Joint Operations Command, the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Italy is one of the 12 founding members of the Alliance and a consistently strong supporter of NATO. Through these immersive experiences, Course Members learnt about Italian defence and political priorities and how these align with NATO’s strategic vision and priorities.

Italian House of Deputies Vice-President Giorgio Mulè addressing Senior Couse 143

The Field Study 2 programme is focused on understanding the strategic security priorities of European countries from first-hand sources. The programme started in Rome, on 30 October 2023, with a visit to the Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze (COVI – Italian Joint Operations Command), where Course Members were welcomed by the Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Zappellini. During the visit, they attended two informative presentations, expertly delivered by Captain Martinuzzi, Head of Strategic Direction at the Italian Defence General Staff, and Captain Tongiorgi, ACOS J3-5 of the Joint Operations Command.

The presentations described Italy’s defence policies and its strategic approach to addressing contemporary global security challenges. Of particular interest were those issues generating instability within areas of paramount national strategic concerns, such as the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Mediterranean regions. These challenges include, inter alia, uncontrolled migration flows, illicit trafficking, terrorism, the increased presence of Russia and China in the Mediterranean and in Africa, violent extremist organizations in the Middle East, Africa and the Sahel, as well as disinformation.

The visit also provided an opportunity for the NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Max A.L.T. Nielsen, to exchange views with Rear Admiral Zappellini, and to discuss the employment of Italian military forces in light of the current security challenges.

One of the priorities within Italy’s strategic approach is to foster technological innovation in the defence industry. The briefings at the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate addressed the importance of technological innovation for defence readiness and leverage. The briefers were Rear Admiral Pietro Alighieri, Senior Adviser to the Italian Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director, and Colonel Parmeggiani, Industrial Policy and International Relationships, 3rd Division.

The following day, Course Members visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and heard briefings from Minister Plenipotentiary Alessandro Azzoni, Ambassador Andrea Romussi, and Mr Ennio Schettini, Attaché for Frontex Affairs at the Embassy of Italy to Poland. The briefings highlighted Italy's commitment to NATO's 360-degree approach to deterrence and defence across all domains, as well as the importance of increased cooperation among NATO Allies and partners, particularly in order to address challenges originating from the southern flank.

Ambassador Ferrara, Director General for Security and Political Affairs, emphasized the profound significance of the courses offered by the NATO Defense College in shaping the future of our security landscape. He highlighted the pivotal role of NDC programmes in cultivating skills such as strategic thinking, which are essential to address the array of challenges that lie ahead. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of fostering increased cooperation among our partners and Allies in order to promote a collective security mindset, ensuring that no challenges or threats go unaddressed by adopting a comprehensive, all-encompassing approach.

The first leg of the Field Study in Italy wrapped up with a tour of Palazzo Madama (Senate) and Palazzo Montecitorio (Chamber of Deputies), where Course Members were greeted by Vice President Giorgio Mulè. In his address, Vice President Mulè underscored Italy's unwavering commitment to strengthening cooperation with NATO, emphasizing the pivotal role played by the NATO Defense College in enhancing the effectiveness and unity of the Alliance.

NDC Public Affairs Office
(Prepared by Ms Sofia Carvalheiro, PRT C)