Military Wiki
Italian Armed Forces
Forze Armate Italiane
Stemma araldico e distintivo dello Stato Maggiore Difesa.svg
Coat of Arms of the Italian Defence Staff
Founded 4 May 1861
Service branches Esercito Italiano (Army)
Marina Militare (Navy)
Aeronautica Militare (Air Force)
Arma dei Carabinieri (Gendarmerie)
Headquarters Rome
Commander-in-chief Giorgio Napolitano
Minister of Defence Mario Mauro
Chief of Defence Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli
Military age 18 years of age
Conscription voluntary (since 2003)
Available for
military service
13,791,260, age 15-49 (2005)
Fit for
military service
10,963,513, age 15-49 (2005)
Reaching military
age annually
350,000 (2005)
Active personnel 319,529 personnel[1] (incl 31,459 civilians and 109,499 paramilitary, excl 61,286 Guardia di Finanza[2] )
Reserve personnel 41,867
Deployed personnel 8,300[1]
Budget € 21.2 billion (FY 2013)[3]
Percent of GDP 1.2% (2013)
Domestic suppliers AgustaWestland
Alenia Aermacchi
Alenia Aeronautica
Fiocchi Munizioni
Oto Melara
Piaggio Aero
SELEX Galileo
SELEX Sistemi Integrati
Simmel Difesa
Foreign suppliers  European Union
United States
Annual imports €1,168 mil. (2009)[4]
Related articles
History Military history of Italy
Regio Esercito
Regia Marina
Regia Aeronautica
Ranks Italian Army ranks
Italian Navy ranks
Italian Air Force ranks

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,[5] 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

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

Esercito Italiano

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

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

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.


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.[6]

NATO membership and UN missions

Alpini of the 4th Alpini Parachutist Regiment attached to ISAF.

Italy has joined in many UN and NATO operations as well as with assistance to Russia and the other CIS nations, Middle East peace process, multilateral talks, peacekeeping, and combating the illegal drug trade, human trafficking, piracy and terrorism.

Italy did take part in the 1982 Multinational Force in Lebanon along with US, French and British troops. Italy also participated in the 1990–91 Gulf War, but solely through the deployment of eight 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, Italy contributed to the international operation in Afghanistan. Italian forces have contributed to ISAF, the NATO force in Afghanistan, and to the Provincial reconstruction team. 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 Carabinieri military police.

The Italian Army did not take part in combat operations of the 2003 Iraq War, dispatching troops only 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. 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). Italy played a major role in the 2004-2011 NATO Training Mission to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions.


Current operations of Italian Armed Forces highlighted on a map of Afro-Eurasia.

Since the second post-war the Italian armed force has become more and more engaged in international peace support operations, mainly under the auspices of the United Nations. The Italian armed forces are currently participating in 23 missions.[7]

  •  United Nations
    • UNMOGIP, from 1951 (India and Pakistan) – 4 out of 38 soldiers from 8 countries
    • UNTSO, from 1958 (Israel, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon) – 8 out of 145 soldiers from 23 countries
    • UNIFIL, from 1978 (Lebanon) – 1,100 out of 12,056 soldiers from 36 countries
    • MINURSO, from 1991 (Western Sahara) – 5 out of 237 soldiers from 29 countries
    • UNFICYP, from 2005 (Cyprus) – 4 out of 918 soldiers from 20 countries
    • UNAMID, from 2008 (Sudan) – 3 out of 23,129 soldiers from 51 countries
  •  European Union
    • EUPM, from 2003 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 3 out of 490 soldiers from 33 countries
    • EUFOR Althea, from 2004 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 5 out of 2,150 soldiers from 25 countries
    • EUBAM Rafah, from 2005 (Rafah Border Crossing) – 1 out of 22 soldiers from 9 countries
    • EUMM Georgia, from 2008 (Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia) – 15 out of 370 soldiers from 26 countries
    • EUTM Somalia, from 2010 (Somalia) – 11 soldiers
    • Operation Atalanta, from 2008 (Gulf of Aden) – 8 soldiers
  • NATO
    • KFOR, from 1999 (Kosovo) – 670 out of 5,500 soldiers from 30 countries
    • ISAF, from 2001 (Afghanistan) – 4,250 out of 130,670 soldiers from 49 countries
    • NATO HQ – Skopjie, from 2002 (Macedonia) – 1 out of 12 officers from 7 countries
    • NATO HQ – Sarajevo, from 2004 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 2 out of 42 officers from 10 countries
    • Operation Active Endeavour, from 2001 (Mediterranean and Strait of Gibraltar) – 17 soldiers
    • Operation Ocean Shield, from 2009 (Gulf of Aden) – 240 soldiers
  • Multinational force
    • MFO, from 1982 (Israel and Egypt) – 75 out of 1,700 soldiers from 11 countries
    • TIPH-2, from 1997 (West Bank) – 13 out of 37 soldiers from 6 countries
  • International cooperation and technical assistance
    • Italian Mission of Military Cooperation, from 1988 (Malta) – 26 soldiers
    • Italian Delegation of Experts, from 1997 (Albania) – 17 soldiers
    • Italian Operation of Technical Assistance, from 2011 (Libya) – 10 soldiers


External links

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