The Italian Defense, The White Paper, and the Italian Parliament


2015-06-06 On June 4, 2015, Defence Minister Pinotti testified before the joint Italian House and Senate Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees with regard to the recently released White Paper.

According to a piece published on the Italian MoD website on June 4th:

The White Paper is a concrete initiative of the Ministry of Defence, aimed at providing the country with a systematic, efficient  and consistent  medium-to-long term project.

Minister Pinotti, answering today’s questions and those she was asked on 14 May (when she illustrated the Paper to the joint committees),  underscored that the project will guide the adaptation process of the Armed Forces  to the new requirements and, at the same time, raise people’s awareness level as regards defence and security being our common heritage and an indispensable condition for the development of our society.

With reference to the questions asked by 29 members of the committees, the Minister highlighted the central role of Parliament in the reform process, for both political and technical reasons.  In fact,  developing the culture of Defence among the public opinion is a goal that can be met only by the Parliament: 

“Promotion of the Defence  culture can only start from here, from the place where we must give a shared assessment of threats looming over our country  and the  tools needed to  face them.” 

The opportunity to enlarge the Defence concept to make it more inclusive as compared to other available  tools is illustrated in the White Paper, and  integrates the Government’s decisions on the reform of the Third Sector, in particular as regards the role of the civilian service.

As regards the central role of Parliament and its technical nature, the Minister added: “Many of the solutions that the Government may intend to adopt will need to be substantiated and enforced by legislative measures to be discussed by these committees and by the Parliament.”

The latter will play a central role also as regards resources: in fact, the Government has committed itself  to submit the six-year law on military investments to the parliamentary assembly.

The White Paper  “is the Government’s policy guidance tool, and its content is to be regarded as an order by the Defence administrative bodies”, the Minister added, explaining that within 6 months “ the Defence administrative bodies will have to produce legislative proposals to be submitted to the Parliament.”

As for the theme of a European common defence, evoked by various parties, the Minister agreed that “proceeding as single, isolated  countries would result in  waste of  resources and lack of interoperability.”

That’s why Italy has proposed  to establish a EUNAVFOR Med mission at European level, to be decided upon at the end of June.

Expressing the wish that a European Army be established, the Minister underscored that building a European Defence will require common industrial projects on the one hand, and “working together at operational level” on the other.

Regarding  governance, Roberta Pinotti explained that the reform process must proceed toward force integration at joint level in order to avoid duplicating roles, thus establishing  a fully joint military while safeguarding individual specificities.