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Italy and NATO

Italy is amongst the 12 founding members of NATO, established in 1949 with the Washington Treaty signed by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Since the beginning, Italy has been a driving force in the Alliance, particularly during the Cold War, thus showing full adherence to the principles of unity and solidarity.

In the last 30 years, NATO’s internal structure and objectives have been transformed: from the bipolar world created by the Cold War to a comprehensive approach to security. In this regard, Italy has been fully committed not only by taking part to deterrence and defence activities and NATO operations and missions around the world, but also by strengthening NATO’s partnership relations with Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and Partners across the globe, as well as with other international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union and the OSCE.

From Afghanistan to Kosovo, from Iraq to Libya, passing through counter-piracy and the fight against international terrorism, Italy has always provided its support in terms of economic and human resources to NATO’s main operations and missions, especially in light of its crucial role in ensuring stability to the borders of the Alliance, actively working in the entire Mediterranean basin, in the Balkans and in the Middle East.

Specifically, on the operational level, Italy firmly supported the missions in Bosnia in the 90s, in Afghanistan (2001-2021) and it still plays a key role in Iraq and Kosovo. Today, Italy confirms its crucial role in the Mediterranean, also thanks to the establishment of the Hub for the South at the Allied Joint Force Command Naples, with essential functions of monitoring and gathering of strategic information in the Southern Flank. Besides, Italy plays a fundamental role in Air Policing operations in different areas, such as the Balkans, the Baltic States and Iceland.

Italy hosts on its territory several Allied bodies, such as:

  • Allied Joint Force Command, Naples – One of three JFCs of the NCS, located in Lago Patria (Naples). The command’s mission is preparing, planning and conducting military operations in order to preserve the peace, security and territorial integrity of the Alliance’s member States throughout the SACEUR Area of Responsibility (AOR) and beyond. Answering to the Chief of Staff of JFC NP, the NATO Strategic Direction-South HUB is designed to increase NATO’s understanding of the regional dynamics of North Africa, the Middle East, the Sahel, Sub-Saharan Africa and adjacent areas, through a network of experts and local organizations in the region, in order to identify and analyze common challenges and opportunities for cooperation affecting stability and security.
  • NATO Defense College, Rome – Training Institute located in Rome whose mission is to contribute to the efficiency and cohesion of the Alliance mainly through high-level education, on transatlantic security issues, enabled by research on issues relevant to the Alliance and supported by engagement with Allies, Partners and non-NATO entities (NNE), with a 360-degree approach.
  • Multinational CIMIC Group, Motta di Livenza (Treviso) – Its mission is being ready to deploy on SACEUR orders, in a designated area of operations, for support and rotation, for sustained operations and to undertake joint military operations across the operational spectrum as entailed by its civil and military cooperation role.
  • DACCC Deployable Air Command and Control Centre, Poggio Renatico (Ferrara) – Located in Northern Italy, the Centre provides a deployable capability for surveillance and control of the Alliance’s air operations. Its mission is to prepare elements for operational deployment worldwide and, together with the CAOCs, provide well-trained and specialized experts to increase the Allied air command capacities during Allied operations and exercises.
  • NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy, Solbiate Olona (Varese) – NRDC-ITA’s mission is being ready to deploy as an Army Corps, Land Command or Joint Task Force HQ for joint operations (Land Heavy) under NATO, EU, or a coalition command to conduct or support missions across the operational spectrum, both within and beyond NATO’s area of responsibility for the collective defense of the Alliance’s territory or in support of the security interests of the Alliance, the EU, or the coalition.
  • Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, La Spezia – The CMRE is the executive body of NATO’s Science and Technology Organisation whose mission is to organise and conduct scientific research and technology development in the maritime domain, by providing innovative, field-tested scientific solutions to meet the Alliance’s security and defence needs.

Moreover, several NATO Centres of Excellence have been accredited in Italy: the Modelling and Simulation Centre in Rome, the Security Force Assistance Centre in Cesano (Rome) and the Stability Policing Centre in Vicenza.