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NDC - News-Senior Course 144 Takes Part in Italian Days: Insights on Italy’s 360-Degree Approach to Defence and Security

Senior Course 144 Takes Part in Italian Days: Insights on Italy’s 360-Degree Approach to Defence and Security

  • 07 May. 2024
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  • Last updated: 07 May. 2024 08:41

On 2 and 3 May, Senior Course 144 took part in Italian Days, a two-day tour in Rome during which Course Members attended briefings by high-level speakers from key Italian institutions such as the Italian Joint Operations Command (ITA JFHQ), the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate (SG/DNA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, and the House of Deputies. This Field Study provided Course Members with first-hand insights on Italy’s strategic concerns and priorities and how such issues align with NATO’s objectives.

Lieutenant General Portolano delivers his welcome address to the NDC delegation

The Field Study programme started at the Italian Joint Operations Command in Rome at the Centocelle barracks with a welcome remarks delivered by ITA JFHQ Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Zappellini. Course Members were then briefed by Rear Admiral Annunziata, Head of the 3rd Division in the Italian Defence General Staff, and Captain Tongiorgi, ACOS J3-5 of the Command for Joint Operations, on Italian defence policies and operations. These two lectures presented the Italian Armed Forces’ main priorities and emphasized Italy’s contribution to global peace and security, especially through its pivotal role in the Mediterranean region. Both speakers underscored Italy’s significant role within the European security environment as a major contributor to NATO, EU, and UN operations, and through its leadership of the ATALANTA and ASPIDES operations.

The importance of the Mediterranean region as the southern flank of the Alliance was reiterated by Mr Andrea Romussi, Head of Atlantic Alliance, Security Strategic Issues and Political-Mililtary Issues Office at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his lecture, he noted how Italy’s role and objectives in the region such as addressing uncontrolled migration flows and illegal trafficking, radicalization, terrorism, as well as political instability in the Middle East and the Sahel, align with NATO’s strategic goals. Raising the concern of multi-faceted challenges in this key geographical area and beyond, he stressed the relevance of Italy’s “360-degree” approach to defence and deterrence, coherent with NATO’s vision.

Moreover, this visit also enabled a productive exchange between the NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Max A.L.T. Nielsen, and Lieutenant General Figliuolo, Commander of ITA JFHQ and Special Commissioner for Reconstruction, on the occasion of an office call held at the Italian Joint Operations Command, or Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze (COVI).

Senior Course 144 then continued the visit at the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate (SG/DNA) where Course Members learned about Italy’s industrial policy of defence and its approach to innovation. After a welcome speech from the Secretary General of Defence and National

Armaments Director Lieutenant General Portolano, Course Members attended lectures delivered by Colonel Parmeggiani, Head of the Industrial Armament Policy Office, and Rear Admiral Alighieri, Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director. Both briefings emphasized the crucial importance for Italy and the Alliance in fostering and prioritizing technological innovation to enhance preparedness and efficiency in today’s ever-changing security environment. In addition to discussing the SG/DNA’s structure and activities, these lectures highlighted the strategic importance of seeking synergies between the public and private sectors, as well as between NATO and the EU, to maintain a competitive lead in multi-domain operations through the development of cutting-edge technologies.

The following day, Course Members learned about migrations flows in Europe from Mr Ennio Schettini, Attaché for Frontex Affairs. In his briefing, he addressed Italy’s response to illegal immigration flows and discussed how critical cooperation and information-sharing with EU agencies such as Frontex is to enhance situation awareness when it comes to border control.

The delegation then headed towards Palazzo di Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, for a meeting with the Hon. Lorenzo Cesa, Member of Parliament and Head of the Italian Delegation at NATO. After an office call with the NDC Commandant Lieutenant General Nielsen, the Hon. Cesa delivered welcome remarks to the Course Members before answering some questions from the audience. In his address, he recognized the value of the NDC for the Alliance in providing high-level strategic education and reiterated Italy’s commitment to the objectives of the Alliance. Of note, he emphasized the current relevance and importance of defence and deterrence on the southern flank, as well as Italy’s contribution to the Alliance as a key player in this strategic region.

After this last briefing, Course Members concluded the Italian Days with a guided tour of the House of Deputies, as well as of the Vittoriano and Palazzo Venezia, two historical landmarks of Rome.

NDC Public Affairs Office
(Prepared by Ms Chloé Ketels, FRA C)