The hearing of General Portolano: a comment

(To Philip Del Monte)

General Luciano Portolano, general secretary of defense and national armaments director, held a particularly interesting hearing at the foreign affairs and defense commissions of the Chamber and Senate (see link), especially because it draws the line with regard to the transformation - now unavoidable - of the Italian Armed Forces, in the light of the return of conventional warfare in Europe.

The short and medium-long term consequences resulting from the war between Russia and Ukraine seem to justify the French general François Lecointre, theorist of the return of high-intensity clashes and wars between states which could also involve the European powers and which would impose, consequently, a revision of the strategic approach, personnel and armaments for all the armies of the old continent.

The picture of world instability caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is not a passing phenomenon, but an integral part of the now open challenge that the so-called revisionist powers have launched against the US-led liberal international order, of which what in Moscow they call the "West collective” (including Italy) is one of the pillars. Neither the (more or less "enlarged") Mediterranean nor the Indo-Pacific, both areas of direct interest to Italy both in terms of national security and projection, are immune from the cycle of systemic instability, exacerbated by a strong competition between powers that concerns so much the new Scramble as African as the reflections of the Sino-American rivalry in warm oceans.

Faced with epochal challenges, which require having a proactive strategy and no longer mere passivity, Italy has the obligation to review the setting of its Armed Forces, to be understood as one of the privileged instruments of national foreign policy. General Portolano's declarations go in this direction, with a broad program that envisages the preservation of strategic technological autonomy, the implementation of short, effective and flexible procurement processes to adapt to the international scenario and the guarantee of a competitive industrial base in able to provide essential supplies and preserve national interests.

Second pilot book "in order to fully define the actions and priorities on which to direct our work, it is necessary to understand the strategic-operational effects that international dynamics determine on the defense system", which means reflecting on the structural deficiencies not only of the Italian Armed Forces but in general of European countries "unused" to thinking strategically that the war in Ukraine has brought to light.

In the order Rome will have to repay i weapon systems and stocks of munitions ceded to Kiev, bridge i capacitive gaps already existing before the crisis and develop operational capabilities, i.e. systems, technologies, infrastructures and human resources up to the challenges and future scenarios. Objectives that can be achieved only if the war industry will be able to keep up with the pace imposed by wars and large-scale transformations of military instruments and if the political decision-maker will be able to better integrate the functions of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces with the industrial system .

It will not be enough to reach 2% of GDP for defense expenditure to repair the damage of these years, it will be necessary to choose not only how much but also how to spend the funds.