Admiral Robert P. Burke, NATO Allied Joint Force Naples Commander, met Major General Claudio Gabellini Air and Space Operations Commander, on 9 March 2021. The office call focused on Italy’s participation in the NATO Response Force (NRF) 21. The NRF is the rapid reaction force the Alliance created in 2002 as a tool to achieve cohesion, deterrence and the improvement of its member nations’ military capabilities.
On a tactical level, the Italian Air and Space Operations Command (COA) takes part in the NRF as NATO Force Structure JFAC in the event the Alliance should decide to actively respond to an emerging crisis.
Admiral Burke and his team conducted a site survey of the installation. The intent was to get an insight into the capabilities of the Poggio Renatico Base and in the several specialties the Italian Air Force shares with other international entities.
During the visit, a comprehensive overview was given to the JFC leadership on the many aspects of the Italian COA’s activities, including the Italian JFAC, that belongs to the NATO Force Structure, and represents the heart of Italy’s participation in the NRF 21; the Italian Air Operations Centre; the Integrated Missile Air Defence unit and the recently-activated Italian Space Surveillance and Tracking Operation Centre operations room. A special briefing was provided for NATO’s Deployable Air Command and Control Centre at Poggio Renatico, which includes the DARS (Deployable Recognised Air Picture Production Sensor Fusion Post), which has been a standing deployable asset for the NATO NRF forces since 2015.
“This is the best JFAC team an NRF could hope for”, said Admiral Burke.
The site survey --which provided the visiting guest with a comprehensive overview of the COA-- was indicative of how important the Poggio Renatico Base is not only for the Italian military but also for an Alliance that expects to be able to rely on highly professional entities. Both the Italian COA with its NATO Force Structure JFAC and the NATO DACCC with is DARS are contributing to the NRF to ensure air command and control under a Joint Force Command.