Poisoned wells for the annihilation of the Italian Armed Forces

(To VARCO32)

The tactic of poisoned wells is typical of desert regions, or with scarce sources of water supply, and has been practiced successfully over the centuries, but it is certainly prohibited by International Conventions regulating conflicts between State Entities, those that - that is - recognize having to maintain a high ethical level in every situation.

With this due premise, and in metaphorical terms, we would have expected the current legislature to respect at least the international conventions in what appears to be a struggle without quarter to achieve the annihilation of the national Armed Forces. A respect that is not denied even to the most bitter enemy, even if as an institution clearly appointed to perform constitutional tasks, the Armed Forces deserve much further consideration.

The reason for such statements is soon clarified. The Chamber of Deputies is examining the DDL n. 521 (Integrated Water Service) with urgency procedure voted by the Assembly the 2 last October2. The theme is certainly important and concerns problems submitted to the Referendum in the 2011, in which the citizens gave clear indications of the popular will, and in this article we do not want to enter into the merits of the subject.

What leaves us astonished in the examination of the DDL is the provision of financial coverage for the charges deriving from the approval of the draft regulatory provision. In Art. 17, is expected - among other things - that at least 1 BILLION EUR per year must derive from the reduction of the Ministry of Defense budget.

In metaphorical terms, it is appropriate to speak of "poisoning of the wells" in the long survival march that the Armed Forces have been doing for many years in an attempt to keep alive a complex and technologically advanced structure, against resources that any analyst would define derisory.

The Armed Forces of the Country have maintained their consistency, convinced that with the economic recovery and the liberation of new resources the uniformity of the recovery of the quality standards that had to be compressed over the years could also be guaranteed to the citizens in uniform. Standards, which for a military are identified in ability to operate and survive in real operating conditions. Unfortunately, this aspiration has resulted in a dangerous illusion, since this long crossing of the Armed Forces in the desert of underfunding and undercapitalization is punctuated by "poisoned wells" by those who seem to want a Defense without any operational capacity due to institutional ignorance. Basically, it seems to be intended to have a pool of staff useful for carrying out tasks not appreciated by other organizations of the State, at a low cost, as well as to ensure a minimum level of employment in military and industrial structures in the referral basins. Clearly it is not a problem born in this term, but there are all the conditions for this is the legislature that sets the point of no return.

The Defense Budget in pills

As indicated by the Multi-year Defense Policy Document (2018-2020)3, the budget allocated to the Defense function4 amounts to about 13,8 billion, to which we must add about 2,7 billions of euros included in the budget of the Minister of Economic Development but intended to support the industry with programs of development and production of military platforms.

The golden formula, cited in all the national and international forums, wants that of the armed Forces destined no more than the 50% to the expenses of the personnel, an 25% to the maintenance and the 25% to the investment (modernization and renewal).

Within the scope of the resources indicated, 1,4 billions of Euros are allocated to the Exercise, that is to support the life of the soldiers and their equipment, with which the bills, the provisioning, the maintenance of the barracks, the clothing, the purchase of the equipment, the acquisition of spare parts, the purchase of training ammunition and commercial logistic vehicles, just to mention a few items. The insufficiency of resources is so macroscopic that the legislator, for some years now, comes to the rescue of the sector by authorizing the financing, with the investment, of the SOFUTRA program, intended to allow the procurement of additional spare parts / equipment and maintenance capacity to avoid the collapse of the whole apparatus.

The 2,3 billion for investment must therefore be purified of the approximately 450 million of the SOFUTRA program. There are less than 2 billion available, for the 2018, which represent about 13% of the budget of the Defense Function, that is 50% of what should be guaranteed, according to universally recognized parameters. The fact, therefore, that the maintenance and the investment are sustained, on the whole, with only the 26% of the budget of the Defense function (instead of the 50%), highlights the extremely critical situation of the Armed Forces.

It could be argued that the investment sector is, however, also supported by the introduction of resources by the MiSE. True, but it must be said that the support of the dicastery of economic development includes the development costs of the new platforms (which also includes those for the development of technologies not available in Italy) and obliges, in a certain sense, the Defense to adopt state-of-the-art technological solutions in the national industry. All this translates into the procurement of industrializable platforms, but not of capacities that need to be integrated with further complexes and sub-complexes, if not complementary platforms. The MiSe resources, therefore, represent an important card in the complex mosaic of the Defense, which, however, can never be completed without the intervention of the ordinary budget. Moreover, it is not the task of the MiSE to guarantee the tactical and operational coherence of the Armed Forces.

Thus, reducing the Ordinary Defense Report would deprive the ministry of the possibility of keeping national operational capacities efficient and effective.

In short, it would guarantee the transformation of the Armed Forces into a sort of "decaying deposit" of personnel and means, pending their final disposal from the service.

How do we finance the aqueducts and the integrated water service?

Firstly, every citizen is convinced that the integrated water service is financed with bills as well as with investment plans launched with national and European funds, as in the rest of Europe. In fact, looking at the ISTAT data5, we learn that there are significant percentages of drinking water supplies that are not invoiced or not measured. There are, therefore, areas of the national territory where water is supplied with a flat-rate service that does not allow a direct correlation between consumption and payments, discouraging any virtuous behavior and distorting the budget logic. These percentages of "water", not measured or not invoiced, affect the so-called "water leaks in the network" which, contrary to what the ordinary citizen might think, are not constituted only by "perforated pipes", with a heavy impact not only on the quality of the service, but also on the financial statements of the companies in the sector.

The first suggestion to give to the legislator, therefore, is to start optimizing the system rather than diverting its costs on other functions of the state. Another element to be evaluated is that relating to investments and resources for maintenance. Going to analyze the financial statements of the companies in the sector, starting with the public ones, it turns out that in the face of few virtuous companies, many companies are making very low investments. Therefore, would it not be more correct to impose percentages of investment and reconstruction of plants that are directly related to the development of the distribution network and its age, instead of making cash in order to cover the budgetary holes of the shareholders, public or private?

An excellent example, also thanks to its size, is that of the Soc. ACEA of Rome. Analyzing the 2017 budget6 we can see that the management costs of the water sector amounted to about 50% of revenues. The system, therefore, could potentially self-finance a robust investment and maintenance program that meets the needs, if it does not meet the previous debt situation with the gains (the management has always been up to the situation? ) and guarantee, in any case, the general results adequate - probably - to shareholder expectations. All this in a city that has ancient traditions in the water supply sector and in which ACEA itself has been in the past the architect of the construction of aqueducts that represent real engineering works, but which in the recent past had to experience one of the crises more severe water in the modern history of the city.


It is right that the Political Power tries to optimize national resources and sets ambitious objectives in this area. Making strategy means, however, understanding that the defense of the vital interests of the state, to which the Defense and Security function is voted, are not negotiable. To renounce - in fact - to having the Armed Forces will place us in a position of absolute weakness, in the face of an international situation that presents numerous outbreaks of crisis able to turn into at least regional conflicts.

We safeguard the integrated water cycle, but we save the "Defense" soldier by not poisoning the wells.


4Net of the Safety Function of the territory and External Functions.