On the 4th of December 2020, the NATO Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence (NATO SFA COE) had the opportunity to host Brigadier General Marco LANT of the Italian Air Force.

Brig. Gen. Lant, who had previously served as Commanding General to the Italian Bilateral Support Mission in Niger (MISIN), was interviewed by NATO SFA COE Subject Matter Experts about his experiences as an Institutional Advisor in coordinating SFA activities and engaging Local Forces Authorities .

Collecting these interesting experiences and analysing them from different points of view is fundamental in order to develop, within the NATO Community of Interest, an agreed “professional profile to perform SFA at all levels of operations”.

This activity is an integral part of the SFA Operator Profile’s project, in which the NATO SFA COE gathers the experiences of the personnel who served in the various theatres of operation as mentors, advisors and trainers through the use of surveys, single interviews and focus groups, collecting and processing a large amount of data coming from NATO countries and partners.

The project focuses on the definition of the job description, the human and professional requirements, the psychological traits and competencies of the “SFA Operators” (mentors, advisors and trainers) in order to let them operate under the best conditions, in any operational environment and at the various levels of operations.

The interview was enriched by the virtual participation of the ITA Defence Attaché in Niger, Col. Merlino (former Director of the NATO SFA COE), which emphasized the importance of having skilled Institutional Advisors when conducting SFA activities.

The Director, Col. Massimo Di Pietro, concluded the meeting by stressing the need for NATO harmonized procedures concerning recruitment, selection and training for SFA Operators and Advisors.