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Italian Day at the NATO Defense College

On September 27, 2021, Senior Course 139 participated in the first day of Field Study I at the NATO Defense College.

A special guest was General Luciano Portolano, Commander of the Joint Operations Headquarters – COVI, representing the Defence Staff, who was received in the morning by General Olivier Rittimann, Commander of the NATO Defence College.

After the customary signing of the Guest Book and an office call, the two Generals moved to the auditorium to begin the day’s sessions.

The Commander of the NDC, in his opening speech, thanked Italy as Host Nation and introduced Gen. Portolano, who then took the floor for his speech, in which, while thanking Gen. Rittimann for the opportunity to open the Italian day in the Field Study I, also praised the College, defining it as an essential element of the Atlantic Alliance and one of the most important Colleges in the world in military studies. Its presence in Italy since 1966 is a source of pride for the Italian Armed Forces.

The following session on “NATO: Current Adaptation and Italian Priorities” was led by Counsellor Alessandro Cattaneo, Head of the 4th Office “NATO and Strategic Security and Military Policy Issues” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The session was followed by a question and answer session. The course members asked the briefer some interesting questions.

After a short break, the sessions resumed with two more detailed presentations, the first on “Elements and Strategic Perspectives of Italian Defence Policy”, delivered by Rear Admiral Luca Conti of the Defence Staff, and the second on “National Commitments in the Current Strategic Context” given by Air Division General Luigi Del Bene, of the Joint Operation Headquarters – COVI.

Last but not least, there was the speech on “Challenges of contemporary terrorism: the Italian experience” by Dr Ezio Gaetano, 1st Director of the State Police – Director of the International Relations and Counteraction to Radicalisation and Violent Extremism Divisions.

Then again, the three sessions were followed by a very compelling Q&A panel that ended the Italian day, the first day of Fields Study I of Senior Course 139.