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Seminar Opening

Gen. C.A. Guido Bellini

I would like to greet and welcome you all at the Officers’ Academy and thank you for having accepted our invitation. My special thanks to the authorities present. I would like to mention, among others, the presence among us of Under-secretary Bosi who represents Minister Martino. In the modern geo-strategic scenarios, characterised by ever widening dimensions, the problems of security generally develop and are defined in global contexts that do not exclude any area of our planet. Actually, geographic distances have lost most of their significance and all social, economic and political phenomena, including the relative pathologies (criminality of all sorts and thus terrorism as well) normally develop globally.

In sum, there is an actual widespread awareness nowadays that no State can close itself up in its small world and equip itself autonomously as regards security, which, on the contrary, largely depends on the climate of security, lawfulness and stability present all over the world. Italy has fully understood this concept and has long been working to bring stability to crisis areas, to help those populations to find the path for development and wealth as well as, though indirectly, safeguard as far as possible tranquillity and development in our own country. This is the scenario where the premises for multinational operations arise and on these scenarios the Carabinieri Corps is called to give its contribution and enhance, as far as possible, the peculiarities that have characterised right from the beginning its long history, always intimately woven with the history of our country.

Right from the start the Carabinieri Corps have always operated, without problems of sort, both in typically military contexts in combat activities and in non military ambits to maintain and restore public order and security or, more simply, to support social and humanitarian aims. These peculiarities are proving especially useful in the present scenario. In fact, the characteristics of the interventions in the destabilised areas cover a wide range of activities from peace imposing armed interventions, generally the competence of the Armed Forces, to simple technical and humanitarian assistance, the competence of more or less structured civilian bodies.

Within this range we can spot a vast segment that can no longer refer exclusively to operational activities such as combat, but cannot yet be considered as mere technical or humanitarian assistance. Here the use of military Police Forces such as the Carabineri Corps is particularly significant. In fact, a particular skill is required, a sort of “intermediate police” that the Carabinieri Corps have succeeded in expressing adequately right from the beginning. Hence the original contribution offered by the MSU regiments, in which the Carabinieri Corps, in a balanced and co-ordinated manner, transferred operational procedures and organisational modules already employed efficaciously in our country by its multifarious components.

The need to employ on the theatre military police forces to bridge what had been defined the security gap existing between the capacities of military Forces - non specifically trained to maintain public order and security with a preventive approach - and the lack of local security structures, was felt in 1997 by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe (SACEUR), responsible for carrying out the Dayton Agreements. In February 1998, the North Atlantic Council approved the establishment of a tool specialising in collecting information for police ends and in the field of public security and charged Italy, and the Carbinieri Corps in particular, with its organisation and leadership.

Since August 1998, the Carbinieri Corps deployed the MSU-SFOR regiment in Bosnia with the task of guaranteeing public order and security, assist in the return of refugees and the displaced, sustain the installation of governments and contribute in controlling crises in co-operation with the International Police Task Force (IPTF) under the aegis of the UNO. The acknowledged adequacy of the model adopted and the flattering results obtained determined the request for the establishment of a similar MSU in Albania, within the “Allied Harbour” Mission. Following the undersigning of the Military Technical Agreement between NATO representatives and Serbians, a NATO force deployment in Kosovo (KFOR) was authorised. Thus, since 4 August, 1999, the Carbinieri Corps have a new MSU in Pristina, within the KFOR, carrying out information and investigation tasks, searching and seizing war criminals besides the usual tasks of the SFOR regiment. Lastly, as you know, since last July another Regiment operates in Iraq within the Italian intervention to guarantee security and the reconstruction of the free Institutions in the province of the Dhi Khar, carrying out the same tasks as the MSU-KFOR with the addition of specialized engagements.

Nowadays the MSU operate with a more complete and articulated structure, equipped with “modules” to carry out territory control, prevention and law enforcing tasks regarding public order and security, counter terrorism, military intelligence, search and seizure of war criminals, logistic support and local police training, with important contributions and consultancy in other specialized issues such as the safeguard of the environment, health, the cultural heritage and scientific investigation. The Regiments staff personnel from the Special Intervention Group to carry out when necessary high risk interventions and VIP security tasks. The appointment of Carabinieri drawn from investigation and intelligence departments to the MSU Regiments has proved extremely important.

These men have specific professionalism and experiences as well as technologies and analysis tools (software) used in our country to contrast eversion and organised criminality. The choices adopted have been up to our expectations. Their validity is confirmed by the results obtained by the MSU Regiments that, in 2003 alone, carried out 19,840 patrols, arresting 344 people and 120 seizures of fire arms, grenades and rocket launchers as well as great quantities of drug and tobacco designed for smuggling. It is now time for a new normative and doctrinal restructuring of MSU and this Seminar is an important contribution to an in depth survey indispensable for the best realisation of the issue.


(*) - General of the Army, General Commander of the Carabinieri Force.