Home » Meet Admiral Cavo Dragone: Italy’s candidate for the NATO Military Committee

Meet Admiral Cavo Dragone: Italy’s candidate for the NATO Military Committee

The current Chief of Defense Staff of Italy has been supported by the Italian government for the top military role of the Alliance. He recently joined the Atlantic Council emphasizing the importance of NATO’s cohesiveness and the need for permanent forces and high-end capabilities deployed in Eastern Europe to deter Russia

An admiral for NATO. The Italian government has expressed its support for the candidacy of Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, the current Chief of Defense Staff of Italy, for the chairmanship of the NATO Military Committee. This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani in Brussels on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council.

A short bio. Born in 1957, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone attended the Naval Academy in Livorno, where he graduated in 1980.

  • His initial tour included Flight Training in Naval Air Station Pensacola (FL) and Corpus Christi (TX), where he was awarded the Naval Aviator wings in 1982. He served as an embarked helicopter pilot for almost seven years, then, in 1989, he was selected for transition to jet aircraft and returned to the USA, where he followed the flight training program in Meridian, MS, and Cherry Point, NC, from 1989 to 1991. He was carrier qualified on board USS Lexington in January 1990. He was among the first pilots of the newborn Italian Navy Harrier Squadron, the first Commanding Officer.
  • His most significant sea duty assignments have included: flight commander of Maestrale class frigates (1986 – 1987); commanding officer of minehunter Milazzo (1987 – 1988); commanding officer of AV8B Squadron (Grupaer) (1991-1993) (1997-1998); commanding officer of frigate Euro (1996 – 1997); commanding officer of aircraft carrier Garibaldi (2002 – 2004).
  • From 2005 through 2008, he was appointed Navy General Staff Air Warfare and Naval Air Force Commander. From 2008 through 2011, he was appointed Commander of the Italian Navy Operational Raiders and Divers Group (Comsubin). From 2011 through 2014, he was appointed Superintendent of the Italian Naval Academy. In January 2012, he was appointed as head of the board of experts to advise and assist the designated judge in the trial related to the Costa Concordia shipwreck off Giglio Island (Tuscany). From 2014 through 2016, he served as the Italian Joint Special Forces Operations Headquarters Commander. On 1st July 2016, he was appointed Commander of the Italian Joint Operations Headquarters.
  • From 22nd June 2019 until 5th November 2021, he was the Chief of the Italian Navy.

When he joined the Atlantic Council. In April, Admiral Cavo Dragone joined the Atlantic Council for a hybrid conversation assessing Italy’s defense posture in light of Russia’s continued war in Ukraine and systemic changes to the European security architecture. The following are excerpts from his speech.

  • NATO is “our very shield for defense and deterrence,” he said.
    • “The fact that we are a strong and cohesive Alliance is shown by our ability to come to agreement on our major interests and concerns. This can be seen through the implementation of the Eastern Posture. the renewed focus on our Southern flank, the clear confirmation of Russia as an active menace, and the recognition of terrorism as a continued threat. In addition to our traditional trans-Atlantic concerns, our ability to reach a consensus in labelling China as a ‘systemic challenge’ further underlines the cohesiveness of the Alliance.”
  • “The 40+ nations participating to the so-called Ukraine Contact Group are rightly focused on providing defense capabilities to Ukraine as well as on coordinating future support (including reconstruction plans after the war). While such Group is focused on a single task, China is carrying out a vast and deliberate political and diplomatic offensive. Its goal is to expand Chinese influence across the countries in the so-called Global South, that accounts for almost two thirds of global population. Some of those countries have not condemned the Russian invasion and stick to a neutral posture.”
  • “The Eastern flank is the military priority for our Alliance and we must deploy every possible effort to win this fight for democracy, freedom and the indisputable right of each country to choose its own destiny. No doubt, we can never go back to the world we knew before Ukraine was invaded. There is now a widening consensus that NATO needs permanent forces and high-end capabilities deployed in Eastern Europe to deter Russia.”
  • “Italy showed no hesitation in assuming a proactive stance in support of the eastern and southeastern allies. We readily contributed and continue to support our fielded forces that include air, land, and naval assets. Our round-the-clock operations actively reinforce the overall Alliance posture in continued response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

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