The circular inviting the army to be ready

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A letter sent by the Army General Staff (EMS) to the commands in which the armed forces are divided has caused some controversy and some apprehension in recent days. It is a circular dated 9 March and made known two days ago, signed by General Bruno Pisciotta, head of the general office of the head of the EMS, which in turn is the head of the Italian army. In essence, he recommends military commands to be ready for any eventuality, given what is happening in Ukraine, inviting them to carefully evaluate requests for early leave, in order not to deprive themselves of personnel who could be useful, and to direct the training of soldiers to the “warfighting “, that is to combat activities.

In reality it is a rather obvious letter, if not quite routine, given the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the possibility, at the remote but still possible moment, that the conflict also involves the forces of NATO, the military alliance between many countries Europeans and the United States. However, it provoked critical reactions. Rifondazione comunista, which released the letter, wrote in a statement that “our army is preparing to fight. And the circular of 9 March is very serious: it is the clear demonstration that our country is already a co-belligerent part of the ongoing conflict ».

The Army General Staff replied by letting it be known that the letter was “for internal use and of a routine nature with which the Armed Force Summit adjusts the priorities of the Army units, in order to respond to the needs dictated by the changes in the international context. . These are therefore clarifications in the light of a change that is visible to all ». The document was not classified as a secret.

The letter begins by referring to the current war situation with the words “following the well-known events in question”, then continues with a first indication given to all commanders to carefully evaluate applications for early leave. The Chief of Staff explains that “every possible effort must be made so that the valuable capabilities can be available.” The explicit invitation is therefore to try to retain the most specialized personnel, potentially important in a context of war.

“All units in readiness must be 100% manned ready to move»Says the letter, also including medical and health personnel. Again the delivery is quite explicit: military personnel must be ready for action. The letter goes on to direct “all training activities to the warfighting “: therefore all non-combat drills must be postponed or canceled. Republic, in an article, among other things, he recalled how often in recent years the training of military personnel has been very slow. This is due both to the coronavirus emergency and to the Safe Roads operation, launched in 2008 by the Berlusconi government to employ the army in the fight against crime and terrorism. In 2020, he pointed out Republicout of 95 thousand soldiers only 2,698 took part in war exercises, while another 8 thousand worked on Safe Roads.

An important part of General Pisciotta’s letter concerns weapon systems. “The highest levels of efficiency of all tracked vehicles, helicopters (with a focus on self-defense platforms) and artillery weapon systems must be maintained”.

Finally, a further point is specifically intended for healthcare personnel: «The healthcare structures constitute an essential capacity for the operation of the departments. In this context, any request for support must take due consideration of the priority commitments connected with the preparation of the Instrument, the forces in readiness and the operational activities in progress “. In practice, if a new health emergency should arise again, perhaps a fifth wave of the pandemic, the Army General Staff makes it known that it would be better not to rely on military medical personnel given the possibility, even if remote, that it should be used in one war scenario. General Francesco Figliuolo himself on March 31st will leave the role of extraordinary commissioner for the coronavirus emergency to take care of the international missions as head of the Covi, Joint Summit Operational Command, that is, the one who has the responsibility of coordinating the operational components in those that come defined as “the five domains”: earth, sea, sky, space and information technology.

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