Steadfast Defender 2024: demonstration of the Alliance waiting for Italy to be a reliable link in the chain?

(To Andrea Sapori)

“Training, for a soldier, means being ready and prepared to carry out the mission (which is that of fight) when you are called to do so. In complex scenarios such as the current ones, thetraining modern is perhaps the most important part of your assignment. Being trained in an organized and methodical way will allow you to carry out your task using a tested and shared operating procedure. It will also mean being ready to quickly adapt to changes in the scenario and to any alternative plans, both at a personal and team level (where the team can be understood as a platoon or an army).". I wrote this in the article “The 4 pillars of teamwork" some weeks ago.

In a few weeks we will witness the Steadfast Defender, qualitatively and quantitatively the most important (enlarged) NATO exercise since the end of the Warsaw Pact (which were then called Reforge and took place in West Germany on the border with what was then East Germany).

It would seem that the time has come to apply, in the most rational way possible, the relatively simple concept above...

Although confident in the ability of individual Italian soldiers, their officers and non-commissioned officers, to carry out the assigned tasks "in the field", I have doubts, however, about the team spirit of the Italian nation.

As is well known, our Armed Forces are subject to the absolute and unconditional, constitutionally required will of the Italian people, who elect their representatives through democratic elections.

Long story short: our country does not have the political structure, the economic, administrative, as well as social and civil capacity, to participate in a functional way in military land exercises (and god forbid operations) at a multi-divisional or greater level.

We can realistically deploy in the operations area a flock of aircraft, a couple of ships and an amphibious support ship, a submarine, a brigade (perhaps two) of light infantry, a mobile artillery regiment but - according to the words of the Minister of Defense - provided that our allies support us with the various necessary ammunition (provided that they have it, that it is compatible with our weapons systems and that they are willing to give it up).

To this we could add some assets of the special forces and, above all, a very large number of carabinieri acting as military police. And this for a country of sixty million souls, which claims to be the seventh or eighth economic power in the world, with a GDP even higher than Russia's. Which wants to count on the European, Middle Eastern, African and global chessboards. Nothing less! Or that's all...

Some of our elected politicians (and therefore us, whether we like it or not), variously from the government or the opposition, little or nothing matters, as always, they will take the opportunity to criticize the commitment, the work, the sacrifice of the soldiers, in this case in a very punctual and sensational way, and to unload on them every responsibility for inefficiency, waste, and in this case also violence… because Italy repudiates war, by law - Be very careful if you are holding an assault rifle! Then very ready to take the honors, in case of effectiveness, and to mourn together with the relatives the fallen, if there are any (and there usually always are).

Whoever does the job of defending this country with weapons (constitutionally required and which was once even an obligation for adult male citizens) must know from the outset what the fate that could await him will be, whether he leaves for an operational mission, to peacekeeping or even just to train: It's happened several times before (the last one a few years ago, where there were those in parliament and on the street who shoutedUS invasion of Western Europe! for a much smaller and less complex exercise than this one - as if, in fact, the invasion had not already occurred eighty years ago, rightly and fortunately, but which is still being discussed, whether it was really necessary, given the militarily and politically decisive importance of the Resistance, in our liberation and that of the entire continent, and perhaps with the disinterested help of the Red Army or the Yugoslav partisans) . 

Let us prepare ourselves, like Lieutenant Drogo in "The Desert of the Tartars", not so much to fight an enemy that will never arrive, but to being used, in one way or another, for electorally convenient purposes, whatever that means.

Except that the enemy will eventually cross the desert and arrive, finding the Bastiani fortress already fallen, defeated by the stupidity of the commands and the hypocrisy of the politicians.

Photo: US Army