Interview with Undersecretary Matteo Perego of Cremnago: "capacitive development and greater effectiveness in the use of military instruments"

(To Andrea Cucco)

The first 100 days of the new government have gone by for a week.

Will it be a 2023 in which we will still pretend that there is no war 700 kilometers from our eastern border or will we finally begin to concern ourselves - or rather "concern" ourselves - of the real conditions of our Armed Forces?

At the end of 2022 we asked for an interview with the minister and the two undersecretaries. The first we manage to meet is Matteo Perego from Cremnago, a man we have already had the opportunity to appreciate in the past years, coinciding with many initiatives that he has completed with determination. Like when, a few weeks after the start of the conflict, he left for Ukraine together with two veterans' associations with a load of humanitarian aid (read article).

We interview him hoping that he will maintain the same audacity in his current role...

You are continuing a job that began with your entry into parliament and five years in the defense commission. For a year you have also been the national head of the Defense Department in your party (Forza Italia). What does it mean now to hold the role of undersecretary?

It means having a great institutional and political responsibility. It means following up on a professional path that from the outset found its place in the world of defence, in a strategic and vital area for the Italian country-system in all its facets: industrial, military, geopolitical, diplomatic, economic. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to hold this position which I interpret alongside and at the service of the women and men of our Armed Forces who operate in Italy and abroad with the utmost professionalism and dedication.

I am dedicating my commitment to supporting the minister's decisions regarding the redefinition of cyber legislation that takes into account the needs of the Defense, not only the simplification of procedures in the export sector, in particular with reference to 185 of '90, as well as on obligations relating to the Eurofighter program, military justice, the Navy and civil unions and military associations.

He fought - shared or not - for many projects, for training courses for young people in the Armed Forces, for the establishment of the figure of the "Military Rescuer of the Special Forces, for the recognition of higher allowances for the latter and above all for the establishment of the figure of the "Veteran" What are your priorities now?

These are all important topics and there are many others also linked to the proxies I have received.

The relationship with civilian unions and military associations is certainly equally decisive: they must be listened to because they are the voices of our personnel for all aspects connected also to their well-being.

It is absurd to hear claims of "privileges" by the National Armed Forces - and it is a topic of television current affairs - when we speak of people subject to constant transfers, with few service accommodation, who often work away from loved ones and above all who risk their lives every day.

In addition to this, it is advisable to think about the future of defense and of the nation, and think about being ready whenever a crisis breaks out. It is a priority to anticipate emergencies and monitor what is happening everywhere at all times.

It is necessary to continue investing in the military instrument from a multi-domain perspective, also developing the potential of the new Underwater domain which intersects economic interests (rare earth elements on the seabed), energy and security interests of a country which has 8.000 km of coastline and boasts this sector is an entrepreneurial fabric made up of SMEs and large national companies.

What does it mean to collaborate with a prepared minister: incentive to do more or concern?

It means a lot, Minister Crosetto is an important reference, he too was undersecretary before me, he has clear ideas, he is dynamic and knows the defense environment very well. His programmatic lines are a strong signal that I fully agree with.

No worries, on the contrary, just encourage us to give our best for the good of this country.

In this first period he had the opportunity to carry out various missions abroad. What is the importance, what are the sensations?

The work that our Armed Forces carry out abroad is of vital importance for international but also national security. Both in NATO fora and in strategic areas where our peace-keeping missions insist, our soldiers play an essential role, of great importance, especially at the service of the local populations.

The sensations are of respect, of appreciation, accompanied by the awareness of those who recognize the service performed in its strategic and enabling dimension.

It must be specified that speaking of international missions tout court is an understatement: the nuances of a presence of institutions abroad also concern the fields of inter-ministerial summits with allied countries and industrial events in the sector.

As a young man he worked in Asia and South America. Are there any countries that need to pay more attention?

Africa, in an imaginary triangle whose vertex is Libya passing through the Sahel is the Horn of Africa: a significant part of our national interest is at stake here, just as South East Asia and South America are equally important .

He was also in Ukraine… Is a Russian defeat conceivable?

Yes, I was in Ukraine at the beginning of the conflict to bring humanitarian aid and in May on a parliamentary diplomacy mission. I also represented my Dicastery for the approval of the so-called DL Ukraine in the House and in the Senate.

I belong to a party, Forza Italia, which under the wise guidance of President Berlusconi has always clearly indicated the way forward: the achievement of peace by any means or instrument.

At the same time, it will be necessary to put in place the greatest possible effort to support Ukraine in the reconstruction process, this phase must see the commitment of the entire European community.

Italy has (in the words of the minister!) Armed Forces modeled on the times of "peacekeeping". Can we hope, a year later, that we adapt quickly to new threats before they become "dates"?

I think so, I think it is clear what is happening now - despite the sterile controversies of some politicians - fortunately minimally.

The achievement of 2% of GDP for military investments by separating military expenditure from the stability pact are elements that mark a change of approach.

The development of capabilities and greater effectiveness in the use of the military instrument are the second objective of the dicastery. This means investing seriously and without stepping back, with the support of the national defense industry and in synergy with friendly and allied countries.

For every six shipments of arms approved in parliament, can we hope for a "half" extraordinary law to fill the serious shortcomings of our Armed Forces or do we continue with the usual "blind eye, heart that doesn't hurt"?

I hope that the structural supply of the Funds for the modernization of the instrument will continue, which would make it possible to acquire two important results: a guarantee of financing of the programs identified by the Defense and, at the same time, it would allow companies to program industrial resources with greater certainty with benefits also in descendants staffing plans.

Photo: Ministry of Defense