Home World “Many critical issues, but there will be no compulsory military service.”

“Many critical issues, but there will be no compulsory military service.”

“Many critical issues, but there will be no compulsory military service.”

Peace be upon you Ukraine It's just a distant mirage. However, the situation is becoming increasingly complex, and there is always the risk of a casus belli that could involve one of the NATO countries, effectively prolonging the conflict. A hypothesis from the political imagination but certainly not entirely unlikely.

General of the Lake Army Corps Luigi Chiapprini, former planner in the NATO Force Command in Kosovo, Commander of the NATO National Units in Kosovo in 2001, the United Nations in Lebanon in 2006 and the NATO Multinational Unit in Afghanistan in 2012, author of the book “The Conflict in Ukraine” (Francesco D'Amato Editore 2022), currently a member of the Center for Army Studies, analyzes the current scenario.

Italian forces on NATO's eastern flank: exercises in Latvia, Hungary and Bulgaria with an Ariete tank and a Centuro armored vehicle

What would happen if the conflict extended and one of the NATO countries entered into a war with Russia? Will the famous Article 5 be applied?
“Not automatically. NATO is a political-military organization created to collectively defend each of its members. Therefore, when we refer to NATO's hypothetical entry into war with Russia after one of its countries was involved, the assumption is that it has been attacked, not that it is simply at war because of a unilateral choice. The news also sparked a sensation that Moscow would, in the words of the Russian president, shoot down F-16s supplied to the West and target airfields in the NATO region if Ukraine used them for it. Her attacks. But I think these are dramatic statements based on hypothetical scenarios that will not happen. As has happened so far, the F-16s and all other equipment to be supplied to Ukraine will certainly operate from Ukrainian territory, and in this case, Russia has the right to counter them, and only in this case. It would be completely different if Moscow, for example, carried out military actions against one of the Baltic states without committing any crime against its territory and armed forces. In this case, NATO will apply Article 5 and enter directly into the conflict to defend its area of ​​jurisdiction.”

Who will intervene first and to what extent?
“The first to intervene are the armed forces of the country under attack and the NATO reinforcement forces stationed there for deterrence. The latter has been deployed on NATO's eastern flank for several years following Russia's assertive and aggressive policy that led to the occupation of Crimea and Donbass. These are eight multinational task forces of varying sizes, from regiment level to brigade level, supported by air and naval assets depending on which countries are currently participating, in addition to the three Baltic states, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria. . These forces, which are very limited, will be the first to respond in the event of an attack to give the alliance enough time to deploy additional forces, called NATO Response Forces.

What will Italy's tasks and roles be?
“Italy, like other members of NATO, contributes some assets to all armed forces by deploying them periodically on the eastern flank. Naturally, Italy also has additional units and commands ready to deploy alongside its allies if necessary. At the last Vilnius summit in July 2023, the alliance decided to increase the size of its response force to about 300,000 units, compared to 30,000 units before the Russian attack on Ukraine.

In the event of war, if the forces are not enough, who will be employed in Italy?
“If we hope that a world war will never break out, we may find ourselves in difficulty. We are already in a critical situation. All the commitments in the East that we talked about, in addition to those related to the ongoing stabilization operations in Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq and in other parts of the world and the assistance needs of police forces on national territory in order to combat terrorism, make the current burden placed on our armed forces as heavy as To the extent of sustainability. Therefore, the statements of our political and military leaders should not cause a stir, the most recent of which are the statements of Minister Crocito and Chief of Defense Staff Cafu Dragone, who urged a national effort aimed at strengthening our armed forces quantitatively and qualitatively.”

Will compulsory military service be reactivated?
“Compulsory military service was a positive experience for our country, but it was only good in times of the Cold War or if it led to a world war. We are not in this situation even if critical issues related to security at the global level continue to grow. Moreover, the aging of our human potential, with the average age of soldiers in service being more than forty years, the scarcity of resources allocated to defense which has not yet allowed us to guarantee the availability of certain types of military equipment, and, most seriously, the failure to guarantee continuous and realistic training for our soldiers. These are critical issues that deserve more attention, as our leaders have continued to repeat for years. At this stage, instead of compulsory military service, it is appropriate to “modernize” the armed forces and increase their number, as we mentioned, and to think about a reserve force of a certain size.”

In this case, proper training will be necessary. How long will it take in the most optimistic forecast?
“We have project experience. It takes at least a year to properly educate and train new soldiers, especially in some specialized roles. Modern and technologically advanced weapons systems require sufficient operators capable of meeting the challenges presented by these systems for their effective use.

Do you think that in such situations it would be useful to embody that common European defense and that European army that we talk about so much?

“European common defense is a priority when US commitment, which guarantees, for example, nuclear deterrence, strategic military transport and superiority in the space domain, does not exist. But it is not about building a European army, as many say, because it already exists on paper, except for the strategic capabilities that I was talking about. Instead, it will be about creating a truly common EU foreign and defense policy, which is much more difficult to achieve. The West is under attack, and we see it in Africa, in Ukraine, in Israel, in the Persian Gulf, and in the South China Sea. Therefore, it is necessary at the present time to at least remain cohesive at the European level, and to rely on the basic role of NATO, without forgetting friendly countries, such as the moderate Arab countries in the Levant, Japan, and others. New Zealand and Australia in the Indo-Pacific region. To remain indifferent and pretend that all is well in the world or that it does not concern us would be tantamount to suicide.”

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