At the end of his mandate of over three years, Colonel Massimo Di Pietro handed over the command of the COE to Colonel Matteo Luciani. The NATO SFA COE is an international body accredited by NATO with Italy as Framework Nation, with Albania and Slovenia as Sponsoring Nations and Austria as Contributing Participant. The Centre aims to improve the effectiveness of the Alliance in Capacity Building, promoting the stabilization of conflict and post-conflict areas, through the analysis of lessons learned, the creation of a training offer aimed at education and training of Advisors, updating doctrines and developing new concepts.

The changeover ceremony, which took place at the Army Infantry School, was presided over by Lieutenant General Carlo Lamanna, Commander of the Army’s Training, Specialization and Doctrine Command (COMFORDOT) and held in the presence of numerous national and foreign authorities that collaborate with the Centre of Excellence.

In the initial stages of the event, prof. Fabrizio Luciolli, President of the Italian Atlantic Committee and Rear Admiral Placido Torresi, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Joint Force Development (DCOS JFD) of the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), respectively highlighted NATO’s challenges arising from the NATO 2022 Strategic Concept and ACT implementation programs, such as Multidomain Operations (MDO) and Emerging Disruptive Technologies (EDT), which also make use of the important contribution from the NATO Centres of Excellence. Following this, Col. Mietta GROENEVELD, director of the NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (C2COE) and Dean of the 29 directors of the Centres of Excellence accredited by NATO, emphasized the commitment of the Sponsor Nations which develop significant and innovative projects through the COEs in support of the Alliance and the growing relevance of Security Force Assistance across the entire spectrum of operations.

Lt. Gen. Lamanna, during his closing speech, retraced the transferring Director’s period of command, highlighting the multiple activities aimed at improving and increasing the visibility, presence and credibility of the NATO SFA COE among the joint NATO bodies and within the large international SFA Community of Interest. In particular, he mentioned the important step of signing the first cooperation agreement between a NATO COE with the UN Department for Peace Operations (DPO), as part of the research projects on SFA and Security Sector Reform, and with SHAPE and the Sanremo Institute of Humanitarian Law for study activities on Stabilization and Reconstruction following conflicts. Finally, he gave his best wishes to the new Director, Colonel Matteo Luciani, who takes over after relinquishing command of the 152nd Infantry “Sassari” in Sassari.

In his farewell speech, Colonel Di Pietro thanked his collaborators and all those who have raised the prestige of the Centre by enriching with their presence the quality of the conferences, training events, round tables and editorial projects on the subjects of SFA, thus allowing the NATO SFA COE to become an authoritative point of reference for the Alliance and its Partner Countries.