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Italy: Legislation on Structure and Organization of Italian Armed Forces

(June 24, 2016) On June 15, 2016, new legislation on the structure and organization of the Italian Armed Forces entered into effect in Italy. (Legislative Decree No. 91 of April 26, 2016, Provisions Integrating and Correcting Legislative Decrees No. 7 and No. 8 of January 28, 2014, Adopted in Accordance with Article 1, Paragraph 5, of Law No. 244 of December 31, 2012 (D.L. No. 91), GAZETTA UFFICIALE (G.U.) No. 126 (May 31, 2016), NORMATTIVA (in Italian).)

Army Structural and Organizational Reforms

The new legislation organizes the Italian Army into “commands, entities (enti), and units” with operational, support, logistical, training, “infrastructural,” and land management capabilities. (Id. art. 1(2)(d).) This provides for a simpler and more straightforward Armed Forces organization than that provided for in the now superseded article 101 of the Code of Military Organization. (Legislative Decree No. 66 of March 15, 2010, Code of Military Organization, G.U. No. 106 (May 8, 2010), NORMATTIVA (in Italian).)

The Chief of the Army has the power to determine the functions, organization, headquarters, internal hierarchy, and structure of the Army. (D.L. No. 91.) The Chief determines the territorial organization of the Italian Army, the allocation of functions in the areas of recruitment and military service, and the organizational form and training  of the different units of the Italian Army. (Id. art. 1(2)(f) & (g).) The Chief also controls the maintenance of the Italian Army’s real estate assets. (Id. art. 1(2)(i).)  

Unification of Armed Forces Units

The law consolidates the previously separate navy and naval unit within the army into one new unit. (Id. art. 2(1)(a).)  The law also contains temporary provisions on the admission process to the new corps for students and on the promotion and transfer of its members.  (Id. art. 3(1)(1)-(5).)  

Recruitment Procedures

The legislation amends current provisions on the recruitment, legal status, and training of military personnel of the Italian Army, the Military Marines, the Military Airforce, and the National Police Force. (Id. art. 4(1).) New provisions regulate the competition procedure for the recruitment of armed forces staff and the approval of rules for ranking eligible candidates. (Id. art. 4(1)(a).) The physical fitness of Armed Forces aspirants is evaluated by a medical committee presided over by a military physician, who must have at least the rank of lieutenant colonel, and two other military medical officers. (Id. art. 4(1)(c).) The new law also contains provisions reorganizing and simplifying the appointment procedure for military leaders. (Id. art. 14.)

Promotion and Reduction in Force of Military Personnel

The new legislation revises the provisions applicable to the promotion of officers of the Italian Army, Military Marines, Military Airforce, and the National Police Force. (Id. arts. 5 & 6.) The law also has provisions on reducing the military staffing of the Italian Armed Forces. (Id. art. 10(1).) The organization of the civilian staff of the Defense Ministry is also amended; some tasks previously assigned to military personnel, such as those of military archivists, will now be allocated to civilian staff. (Id. art. 11(1).)

Relationship Between Disciplinary and Criminal Proceedings

Disciplinary proceedings for military personnel that involve facts that are also being reviewed by judicial authorities must continue and conclude while the criminal proceedings are pending. (Id. art. 4(1)(t).) When preliminary elements of the investigation do not all allow for a determination of guilt for disciplinary infractions, the administrative procedure is delayed until a determination is made in the criminal proceeding. (Id.)

If the disciplinary proceeding concludes with the imposition of a penalty and later the criminal proceeding ends in an acquittal, the interested party may, within six months, request that the competent authority reopen the disciplinary proceeding, in order to amend the disciplinary decision or have it conform to the decision issued in the criminal proceeding. (Id. art. 4(2).) On the other hand, if the disciplinary proceeding concludes without a penalty and the criminal proceeding concludes with a final conviction, the competent authority must reconsider that disciplinary decision in light of the criminal conviction. (Id. art. 4(3).)