Taranto to host key NATO Command. The Atlantic Alliance is working on the activation of its Multinational Maritime Command for the South, as noted by Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Enrico Credendino on Tuesday. And it’s slated to choose the Southern Italian city as its headquarters, reports La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.
- The new Command will focus on the Alliance’s Southern Flank – essentially, the Mediterranean region – and is expected to achieve initial operational capability within the next year.
- An Italian Read Admiral will be in charge of the Command, which will be able to host the staff and naval units of the other allied countries.
Keeping a lookout on the South. Admiral Credendino noted the new structure would be able to pursue NATO’s three core tasks, as detailed in the latest Strategic Concept: deterrence and defence, crisis prevention and management, and cooperative security.
- Setting up the Multinational Maritime Command also testifies to the Alliance’s attention to the Mediterranean area, he added.
- Italy has been pushing for increased NATO attention towards its Southern flank, especially in light of the North-Eastern focus, due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and Sweden and Finland’s accession bid.
The Taranto factor. The Command will operate in synergy with existing commands in Taranto. The city also hosts the Italian Maritime Forces Command (Comitmarfor), a NATO-certified Maritime Rapid Response Capability Command, which acts as a platform for aeronaval and amphibious forces standing by for tasks of peacekeeping or peace enforcement, humanitarian aid and collective defence.
- Comitmarfor is currently headed by Rear Admiral Vincenzo Montanaro, who also commands the Second Naval Division – also based in Taranto.
- The Navy is “an integral part” of the city, noted Admiral Credendino, and its importance is kept front and centre in the development plans – geared at modernising, upgrading and expanding both its military and commercial facilities.