Letters to Defense Online: "Carabinieri and sinking of the Garibaldi"


Mine is not meant to be a sterile controversy but after more than thirty years of wearing the uniform I consider it a "fair" controversy.

Decisions regarding the size and composition of the Italian armed forces also depend on budgetary policies and national defense strategies established by the government and military high command. These decisions should be the result of a combination of political, strategic and financial factors. In times in which tensions between the main world powers, such as the United States, China, Russia and Europe, can fuel speculation on the possibility of a large-scale conflict, it makes sense that an Armed Force such as the Carabinieri which mainly carries out public order and internal security (also entrusted to the Police) has numbers even superior to that Armed Force which is mainly responsible for national defense: the Army.

If we exclude some elite units, the rest of the Army would have no real capability in an operational theater.

In recent years, Italy has had to face cuts to its defense budget, which have certainly influenced its military capabilities, perhaps from a future perspective it would be better to allocate the few resources where they are needed before it is late.



Dear reader, the problem of budget allocation is now "ancient". I still remember a conference 30 years ago in which a famous magistrate of the time, on the subject, commented that, with the defeat of 1945, Japan was ordered not to spend more than 1% of GDP. The reason? Below this altitude no defense was credible...

Without the Army's count, for decades, Italy would have revealed an effective budget of less than 0,90% of GDP. Today we boast of 2% in 2028 (after having reneged on 10 years of ritual promises to achieve it in 2024...). Will the State Police have to be remilitarised?

It is also true that the Army's manpower is smaller than that of the Praise (~90.000 vs ~110.000), however I do not agree on the lack of capacity in the operational theatre: for decades we have seen carabinieri in action in the most difficult areas of the world demonstrating capacity, preparation and fortitude.

I will always remember the joy of an Army officer who was assigned to "mentoring" duties with fellow Afghan military personnel. He feared he would end up working as an instructor in contact with the police force... "Those are the real criminals", he told me.

The Carabinieri on mission could hardly escape certain "summary" and direct experiences. Although with the necessary exceptions, it was and it's a truly thankless job in contact with other distant "realities", with not infrequent psychological repercussions (in the photo one of the many group poses on display at the Herat police headquarters 12 years ago...).

When needed, given the much more serious improper use of Army soldiers for public order tasks, I am sure that they will be able to carry out - as always - their task.

However, don't worry, yours is not a wrong controversy. The problem is that, up to now, a war has been waged at home "among the poor".

Andrea Cucco


Good evening editor, I have been following your online magazine for years. For pure pleasure, I like to read about defense and geopolitical topics. I wanted to point out that the French magazine opex.360 reports in an article on the "virtual" sinking of the Nave Garibaldi, by a German U212 submarine, during the NATO Nordic Response exercise (photo).

Our aircraft carrier/helicopter carrier will have to be laid up in a few months, barring any breaking news and yet, as a citizen, I am sorry that its latest training activity has to coincide with a failure.
The responsibility obviously lies with the escort vessel, presumably multinational.

It would be interesting to reflect on the state of our navy (a topic which your newspaper has addressed numerous times in the past), on the chronic lack of anti-ship missiles, on training, especially now that the risks of high intensity conflict are not only in the context of the so-called enlarged Mediterranean, they appear anything but hypothetical.

Sandro P.


No failures. If an Italian U212 "sunk" a thirty-year-old US nuclear aircraft carrier inOcean Atlantic 16 years ago (photo), because a German officer has no right to be able to do the same with our now forty-year-old, in a Seaside off the coast of Norway?

Obviously the responsibility should lie with the escort vessel. So altrui since we do not participate with national anti-submarine units...

I don't want to comment on the disarmament program because, after so many options brought out in recent years (satellite launchers, drone carriers...), with an ongoing war it could be revised at the last moment.

Regarding the state of our army, which we have already written about (often alone and against the grain!), the only innovation we can witness is a real race to fill the gaps: since last year the defense companies seem to be churning out armaments and systems with some haste. Someone must have urged the increase in production rates... We don't know if and with what (improper) use of chilli pepper.

Time has always been dedicated to training at sea, albeit without ammunition. In the past, anti-submarine missions (when the sonar did not work) or naval confrontation (without missiles on board) were also carried out. In short, if we are ready for the worst eventualities and conditions, let alone the best!

Andrea Cucco

Photo: Navy / Online Defense