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Military Of Italy
The Italian armed forces are under the command of the Italian Supreme Defense Council, presided over by the President of the Italian Republic. The total number of military personnel is approximately 308,000. Italy has the seventh highest military expenditure in the world.
Article 11 of Italian Constitution
Article 11 of the Italian Constitution says: "Italy rejects war as a means for settling international controversies and as an instrument of aggression against the freedoms of others peoples; it agrees, on conditions of equality with other states, to the limitations of sovereignty necessary for an order that ensures peace and justice among Nations; it promotes and encourages international organizations having such ends in view".
The four branches of Italian Armed Forces
The Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) is the ground defense force of the Italian Republic. It has recently (July 29, 2004) become a professional all-volunteer force of 115,687 active duty personnel. Its most famous combat vehicles are Dardo, Puma, Centauro and Ariete, and Mangusta attack helicopters, recently deployed in UN missions.
The Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI), the air force of Italy, was founded as an independent service arm on March 28, 1923, by King Vittorio Emanuele III as the ''Regia Aeronautica'' (which equates to "Royal Air Force"). After World War II, when Italy was made a republic by referendum, the ''Regia Aeronautica'' was given its current name. Today the Aeronautica Militare has a strength of 45,879 and operates 585 aircraft, including 219 combat jets and 114 helicopters. As a stopgap and as replacement for leased Tornado ADV interceptors, the AMI has leased 30 F-16A Block 15 ADF and four F-16B Block 10 Fighting Falcons, with an option for some more. The coming years also will see the introduction of 121 EF2000 Eurofighter Typhoons, replacing the leased F-16 Fighting Falcons. Furthermore updates are foreseen on the Tornado IDS/IDT and the AMX-fleet. The transport capacity will be improved with the delivery of twenty two C-130Js (for 2°Gr) and an upgrade programme for the C-130Hs.
Also a completely-new developed G222, called C-27J Spartan, will enter service replacing the G222's.
The Marina Militare, the Italian Navy, was created in 1946 as the Navy of the Italian Republic, from the Regia Marina. Today's Marina Militare is a modern navy with a strength of 35,261 and ships of every type, such as aircraft carriers, destroyers, modern frigates, submarines, amphibious ships and other smaller ships such as oceanographic research ships.
The Marina Militare is now equipping herself with a bigger aircraft carrier (the ''Cavour''), new destroyers (Horizon class frigate Orizzonte class) and Luigi durand de La Penne, submarines (Sauro) and multipurpose frigates. In modern times, the Marina Militare, being a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), has taken part in many coalition peacekeeping operations. The Guardia Costiera is a component of the Marina Militare.
The Carabinieri are the gendarmerie and military police of Italy. At the Sea Islands Conference of the G8 in 2004, the Carabinieri were given the mandate to establish a Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) to spearhead the development of training and doctrinal standards for civilian police units attached to international peacekeeping missions.
[[http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2006/coespu.pdf The Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units: Exploring the Way Ahead]]
The Guardia di Finanza also functions as a specialized military police force and is a component of the Italian Armed Forces.
NATO membership and UN missions
Italy has worked closely with the United States and others on such issues as NATO and UN operations as well as with assistance to Russia and the other CIS nations, Middle East peace process, multilateral talks, Somalia and Mozambique peacekeeping, and combating drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, and terrorism.
Under long-standing bilateral agreements flowing from NATO membership, Italy hosts important U.S. military forces at Vicenza – home of 173d Airborne Brigade – and Livorno (USA); Aviano (USAF); and Sigonella, Nisida, and Gaeta – home port for the U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet. The United States has about 16,000 military personnel stationed in Italy. Italy hosts the NATO Defence College at Cecchignola, near Rome.
Italy did take part in the 1990–91 Gulf War but solely through the deployment of eight Italian Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS bomber jets to Saudi Arabia; Italian Army troops were subsequently deployed to assist Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq following the conflict.
As part of Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, Italy contributed to the international operation in Afghanistan. Italian forces have contributed to ISAF, the NATO force in Afghanistan, and a Provincial reconstruction team and five Italian soldiers have died under ISAF. Italy has sent 411 troops, based on one infantry company from the 2nd Alpini Regiment tasked to protect the ISAF HQ, one engineer company, one NBC platoon, one logistic unit, as well as liaison and staff elements integrated into the operation chain of command. Italian forces also command a multinational engineer task force and have deployed a platoon of Italian military police. Three AB 212 helicopters also were deployed to Kabul and four Tornado.
The Italian Army did not take part in combat operations of the 2003 Second Gulf War, dispatching troops only after May 1, 2003 – when major combat operations were declared over by the U.S. President George W. Bush. Subsequently Italian troops arrived in the late summer of 2003, and began patrolling Nasiriyah and the surrounding area. On 26 May, 2006, Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema announced that the Italian forces would be reduced to 1,600 by June; Italian participation in the military operations in Iraq was concluded by the end of 2006, with full withdrawal of Italian military personnel except for a small group of about 30 soldiers engaged in providing security for the Italian embassy in Baghdad, and about 87 soldiers stationing in bases in the Persian Gulf (but not in Iraqi territory). As of June 2006 32 Italian troops have been killed in Iraq – with the greatest single loss of life coming on November 12, 2003 – a suicide car bombing of the Italian Carabinieri Corps HQ left a dozen Carabinieri, five Army soldiers, two Italian civilians, and eight Iraqi civilians dead.