From 28 to 29 March 2023, Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee visited Italy upon the invitation of Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, Chief of Defence of the Italian Armed Forces. Admiral Bauer met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Antonio Tajani, Minister of Defence, Mr. Guido Crosetto, and the diplomatic and military advisors and counsellors for the President and Prime Minister of Italy. The Chair also delivered the lectio magistralis at the Center for Higher Defense Studies, where he spoke on the importance of societal resilience and of upholding the international rules-based order.
Discussions with the Chief of Defence, Admiral Cavo Dragone focused on the Alliance’s enhanced deterrence and defence posture, the development of the Regionals Plans and the need for a 360-degree approach to security.
In his meeting with the Minister of Defence, Admiral Bauer expressed his appreciation of Italy’s strong commitment to NATO’s operations, missions and activities. “Across all domains, Italy plays an important role. It contributes to NATO’s multinational battlegroups, air policing and maritime surveillance; it hosts several NATO entities including Joint Force Command Naples; and currently two of our missions, the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) are led by Italian Generals.”
In the meeting with Mr. Antonio Tajani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, discussions focused on the global implications of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, the importance of the transatlantic bond, and the need to work closer with defence industries to increase production capacity. “The war in Ukraine is essentially about the international-rules based order. This war affects us all. Therefore we must do everything we can to support Ukraine and to enhance resilience, deterrence and defence in the Alliance,” said Admiral Bauer.
At the Centre for Higher Defense Studies, Admiral Bauer was welcomed by its President, Vice Admiral Giacinto Ottaviani. Delivering the lectio magistralis, the Chair emphasized “We need to be aware of all our vulnerabilities. We have to realise that an adversary will use anything to bring us to our knees. Energy, food, migration can be used and are being used as weapons by Russia.”
Discussions with the President of Italian Republic’s diplomatic and military counsellors, Minister Fabio Cassese and Lieutenant General Gianni Candotti centred on the Alliance’s strengthened deterrence and defence and the security challenges emanating from South-East and Mediterranean region. “NATO’s defence planning addresses the challenges and threats across all geographic areas and all operational domains,” stated Admiral Bauer.
At the meeting with Ambassador Francesco Talo and Lieutenant General Franco Federici, the diplomatic and military advisor’s to the Prime Minister, discussions focused on the Western Balkans region and the importance of continuing to work with international organisations such as the European Union to contribute to peace and security. “NATO and the European Union have a strategic partnership, shared values, and different skillsets. This partnership will become even more important once Finland and Sweden become full NATO members. With their accession, NATO will be protecting 96% of the citizens in the European Union.”
From Rome, Admiral Bauer travelled to Naples to join the NATO Military Committee for an official visit of Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples. The visit is part of the adoption of the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the development of the Regional Plans. It also concludes the series of official visits to all three Joint Force Commands in the NATO Command Structure. On 29 February 2023, the Military Committee visited JFC Norfolk, in the United States and on 23 March 2023, the Military Committee visited JFC Brunssum, in The Netherlands.