Mission of General Figliuolo in Kuwait

(To covid)

In recent days, Army Corps General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, operational commander of the Joint Forces Summit (COVI), concluded an official visit to Kuwait, where he met various political and military authorities and visited theItalian National Contingent Command Air/Air Kuwait Task Force (IT NCC Air/TFA-K) redeployed at Ali al Salem air base.

Together with the Italian ambassador Lorenzo Morini, the COVI commander was received by the assistant undersecretary for Foreign Procurement, Dr. Shamayel Ahmad Khaled Al Sabah. Also present at the meeting were the military attaché for Defense, Colonel Michele Rega and his colleague Paolo Castelli, commander of the Italian contingent.

With Dr. Al Sabah, a picture of the general security situation in the region was drawn and future developments were discussed in terms of bilateral military cooperation between Italy and Kuwait, countries united in the common commitment to counter terrorism in the of the global coalition to fight Daesh.

General Figliuolo underlined how concretely Italy has committed itself, with the "Levante" operation, to bringing humanitarian aid to the populations affected by the ongoing war in Palestine. He also highlighted the Italian effort to contribute to peace and security through a military presence which sees the Italian Armed Forces deployed in Iraq and Kuwait with the "Prima Parthica" operation, as well as in the Strait of Hormuz, in that of Bab el- Mandeb, in the Red Sea, in the Gulf of Aden and up to the coasts of the Horn of Africa with the maritime defense operations “Aspides”, EUNAVFOR “Atalanta” and Combined Task Force 153.

Subsequently, the delegation reached the Joint Forces Command of Kuwait, where General Figliuolo met his counterpart, Brigadier General Mubarak AlZuabi, with whom they discussed training in the aeronautical field and higher education of Kuwaiti officers at the Academies and Italian military training institutes.

The visit continued at the headquarters of the Italian Embassy. “It is an honor to meet all those who represent Italy in the world”, said General Figliuolo, greeting the civilian and military personnel present. In bringing greetings from Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, he expressed his satisfaction for the continuous and constructive dialogue with the Kuwaiti authorities, which has as its core the "Italian team" and the strong synergy between Foreign Affairs and Defense.

Ambassador Morini, grateful for the visit, told with a small anecdote that General Figliuolo is also well known in Kuwait, as in the action to combat the spread of COVID19, the Kuwaiti authorities had taken precisely that as a reference model Italian, based on a leadership and organization dictated by the then extraordinary commissioner Figliuolo and which had seen the Defense among the main protagonists of the national vaccination campaign.

At the Ali al Salem air base, the COVI commander met the soldiers of the SAMP/T "Scutum" Task Group, one of the units included in the IT NCC Air. Since 2022, with the SAMP/T anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile weapon system, the Task Group has carried out the task of ensuring the defense of Kuwaiti airspace, integrating with the Theater air defense system in protecting the assets and national forces, of the coalition Inherent Resolve and of the host nation from threats coming from the third dimension. The "Scutum" mission has ended and, soon, the personnel and the weapon system will return to Italy. Addressing the soldiers of the Task Group, the COVI commander expressed his satisfaction with the work carried out, underlining that “the anti-aircraft artillery has proven to be a professional team, capable and fully integrated into the Coalition's air and missile defense”.

The visit continued to the Italian camp, where General Figliuolo was updated by the IT NCC Air commander on the activities conducted by the contingent.

Accompanied by Colonel Castelli, the COVI commander went to the hangars of the "Tornados" of the task group Devil and the “Predators” of the task group Phoenix, which carry out tactical reconnaissance missions and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and in the operational headquarters ofItalian Integrated Multisensor Exploitation Capability, a joint force cell that operates in close connection with the air assets, because it analyzes the images collected through them and processes them for the benefit of the international coalition. And again, to the task group medal, which with C-130J aircraft guarantees the activities of Medical Evacuation, of Air lift and tactical transport not only for the personnel of the “Prima Parthica” operation, but also for the Italian contingents deployed in Somalia and Djibouti. During this year alone, Italian Air Force aircraft have completed more than 3000 hours of flight in the skies of Kuwait and Iraq.

The general visited each of the different Italian units, cells and articulations present in Ali al Salem, visiting the premises and speaking with the soldiers involved in their workstations: the administrative center of the Interforce Intendence, the logisticians of the Joint Multimodal Operational Unit (JMOU), the offices and technical sections of the IT NCC Air, the Italian staff employed in the combined joint task force operation Inherent Resolve, located in the nearby US base of Camp Arifjan.

Particularly important was the moment of the meeting with the personnel of the Italian contingent, deployed for the flag raising ceremony. “The contribution that this very varied task force gives to the coalition is a contribution of great quality. It is highly appreciated by our allies and even more so by the nations that host us." said General Figliuolo, “this is truly a contingent that can provide many lessons learned, because it expresses professionalism that can rarely be brought together at joint force level in the Homeland”.

General Figliuolo's visit to the units deployed in Kuwait is part of the coordination and direction action that the Joint Forces Operational Command (COVI) exercises on the operational activities carried out by the Armed Forces abroad. COVI is in fact the high command of the Defense responsible for the planning, coordination and direction of military operations, national and multinational joint exercises and related activities.