The Italian Armed Forces (italian: Forze Armate Italiane) encompass the Italian Army, the Italian Navy and the Italian Air Force. A fourth branch of the armed forces, known as the Carabinieri, take on the role as the nation's military and territorial police force. The President of the Italian Republic heads the armed forces as the President of the Supreme Council of Defence. As of 2012, the total number of active military personnel is 183,000, with an additional 117,943 personnel of the Carabinieri and 68,134 personnel of the Guardia di Finanza. Italy currently maintains the tenth highest military budget in the world.
Italian Constitution[edit | edit source]
Article 11 of the Constitution of Italy says:
Italy rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedom of other peoples and as a means for the settlement of international disputes. Italy agrees, on conditions of equality with other States, to the limitations of sovereignty that may be necessary to a world order ensuring peace and justice among the Nations. Italy promotes and encourages international organisations furthering such ends.
Article 52 says:
The defence of the country is a sacred duty for every citizen. Military service is obligatory within the limits and in the manner set by law. Its fulfilment shall not prejudice a citizen’s job, nor the exercise of political rights. The organisation of the armed forces shall be based on the democratic spirit of the Republic.
And part of article 87 says:
The President [of the Republic] is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, shall preside over the Supreme Council of Defence established by law, and shall make declarations of war as have been agreed by Parliament.
The four branches of Italian Armed Forces[edit | edit source]
Esercito Italiano[edit | edit source]
It is the Army (ground force) of the Italian Republic. The Army's history dates back to the unification of Italy in the 1850s and 1860s. It fought in colonial engagements in China, Libya (1911-1912), northern Italy against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, Abyssinia before World War II, and in World War II in Albania, Greece, north Africa, Russia and Italy itself. During the Cold War the Army prepared itself to defend against a Warsaw Pact invasion from the east. Since the end of the Cold War it has seen extensive peacekeeping service and combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. In July 29, 2004 it became a professional all-volunteer force when conscription was finally ended.
Aeronautica Militare[edit | edit source]
It is the air force of Italy, 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.
Marina Militare[edit | edit source]
It is the Navy of Italy, created in 1946 as the Navy of the Italian Republic from the Regia Marina. 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.
Carabinieri[edit | edit source]
It is 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.