Italy, the Centre of Excellence’s Framework Nation, participates with all the four Services of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force and the Carabinieri Corps. The latter being the leading Service for the Centre.
On 4th May 1861, by a Decree of the Minister Fanti, the Sardinian Army, was named Italian Army after having absorbed several pre-unitary armies. The history of the Italian Army, however, has much older roots encompassing those of the pre-unitary armies that have contributed to it.
On 18 April 1659, for instance, the Duke Carlo Emanuele II di Savoia, needing ready to deploy and trained soldiers, made a call for recruitment to fill the ranks of a 1.200 men unit of his Sardinian-Piedmontese Army named “Regiment of Guards”.
This event made the passage from militias of fortune to permanent units. The “Regiment of Guards” was then the first European permanent military unit, precursor of the current professional armies.
1990 – 2004
The Army starts to recruit also volunteers besides conscripts and, starting in 2000 women start joining the ranks of the Armes Forces.
With the suspension of the obligatory military service, the Army continued a process of restructuring and rationalization, which enabled a strong reduction in terms of numbers and a new and more agile structure and concept of employment.
The Army Chief of Staff exercises command over the Italian Army. He exercises his functions, supported by the staff within the Army Headquarters located in Rome. He availing himself of High Commands in charge of:
- education, specialization and doctrine
- logistic support to the forces
- force generation, preparation, training, exercises and readiness of forces
- management of combat support Commands and forces
- command and control of operational support activities provided within the national territory
- training and preparation of the Alpine troops
The NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Italy is also directly subordinated to the Army Chief of Staff.
The Army personnel consists of around 98.000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, which fill up the ranks of Headquarters, Commands and the 15 available Brigades.
The Italian Army contributes, as a Branch of the Armed Forces, to the defence of the Nations and to the military operations outside of its territory, including crisis management operations.
In addition, the Army concurs to civil protection tasks in case of natural disasters or other national emergency situations.
It also supports the national police forces in the protection of national critical sites and crime prevention.