National Security Council (Kingdom of Italy)

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The National Security Council (Italian: Consiglio per la Sicurezza Nazionale) is the principal forum used by the Duce of Italy for consideration of national security, military matters, and foreign policy matters with senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials. The function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the Duce's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.

Mission

The function of the National Security Council, with a global and updated vision, is threefold.

The first function is that of an information tool adequate to its state of global commercial power and to its nature of territory exposed to multiple risks and threats of an integrated nature.

The first function is to provide the government with plans and options for reconfiguration or creation of alliances, treaties, internal rules, to adapt the State's action to changes in the international scenario, the economic cycle, and new technology raids.

The third function, which makes use of the first two, is to assist policy makers in strategy choices, providing simulations of different effects and / or suggesting the options themselves.

Chairman of the National Security Council

The Chairman of the National Security Council is a senior aide of the Duce of Italy, who serves as the chief in-house advisor to the Duce on national security issues. The Chairman of the National Security Council is appointed by the Duce at his pleasure.

The Chairman of the National Security Council chairs meetings of the National Security Council and meetings of the Strategic Political Committee of the Council (the meetings not attended by the Duce). The Chairman of the National Security Council is supported by the National Security Council staff who produce research and briefings for the Chairman of the National Security Council to review and present to the Duce.

The influence and role of the Chairman of the National Security Council varies from time to time and depends not only on the qualities of the person appointed to the position, but also on the style and management philosophy. However, the Chairman of the National Security Council is a staff position and does not have line or budget authority.

Organisation

The National Security Council is chaired by the Duce. Its members are the Chief of Government (statutory), the Minister of Foreign Affairs (statutory), the Minister of National Defence (statutory), the Minister of Energy (statutory), the Chairman of the Council (non-statutory), the Minister of Interior (statutory), the Representative of Italy to the United Nations (non-statutory), and the Minister of the Treasury (non-statutory).

The Chief of General Defence Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director General of the National Security is the statutory intelligence advisor. Other key advisors and officials are also regularly invited to attend meetings. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings when appropriate.

The natural operator of the crisis is the Government. The emergence of a crisis situation determines the initiative and alerting the individual departments, responsible for protecting the interests threatened or endangered. The organization of technical and operational support of the political leadership is composed of three major functional centres with specific expertise strictly delimited. The institutional actors defining the defence strategy are diverse, from general political figures down to those with more concrete and technical functions, along the whole political-military hierarchy. The most general guidelines are given by the Duce who is the only one to have a general view of the activities of the various ministries and is the only one who can guarantee their coherence and coordination.

Strategic Political Committee

The Strategic Political Committee (Comitato Politico Strategico) is the Cabinet-level senior interagency forum of the National Security Council for making of national security policy issues. It is made by the Duce, the Chief of Government, the Chairman of the National Security Council, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, National Defence and Interior. Participation in the meetings is provided in an advisory capacity only to the Chief of the General Staff and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

When considering international economic issues, the Strategic Political Committee's regular attendees include the Secretary of Economic Activities.

Political-Military Committee for National Security

The Political-Military Committee for National Security (Comitato Politico-Militare per la Sicurezza Nazionale, usually referred to as Comitato Politico-Militare) is the inter-ministerial committee grouping the four technical chiefs of the national security apparatus of the Kingdom of Italy. The Committee consists of the Under-secretary of the Chief of Government (directly subordinate to the Chief of Government), the Director-General of Public Security, the Director-General of the National Security, the Commandant-General of the M.V.S.N. and of the Chief of General Staff. The Director-General for the Fire-fighting Services and Civil Defence may be summoned if the circumstance require it.
The Committee serves as compensation and coordination room in order to avoid any conflicting order, serving as technical arm of the Strategic Political Committee. The Political Military Committee for National Security is a permanent body, also active in normal conditions during sensitive periods, in order to prevent sudden escalations in a timely manner. The Political Military Committee is also responsible for reviewing and monitoring the interagency national security process including for establishing and directing the individual task-forces.
The 4+1 "technical members" are empowered to issue commands and orders also to units and organizations normally outside their own chain of command:

  • The Director-General for the Fire-fighting Services and Civil Defence is in charge for all civil defence and protection within the Italian State, and controls the Fire Soldiers Corps, directs the civil defence technical organs at every administrative level and may mobilize both P.S. and M.V.S.N. resources, as well as require military assets (mainly Engineering Corps assets);
  • The Director-General of Public Security is in charge for all policing within the Italian State and therefore operationally controls Carabinieri (dependent on the Chief of General Staff), the Central Security Office and police-tasked M.V.S.N. Specialities and may mobilize the territorial M.V.S.N., the G.N.R. and the rest of the military;
  • The Director-General of National Security is in charge for permanently coordinating intelligence activities both at home and abroad. He is always the Director-General of the O.V.R.A. (and in this capacity subordinated to the Commandant-General of the M.V.S.N.) and coordinates the Confidential Affairs Division and the Political Police of the Public Security and the Military Information Service;
  • The Commandant-General of the M.V.S.N. is in charge with the armed defence (and spreading) of the Fascist Regime (as conceptually distinct from the Italian State) and therefore commands all four branches of the M.V.S.N. (territorial M.V.S.N., Central Security Office, G.N.R. and O.V.R.A.). Although fully subordinated to the Public Security, the Local Police are drawn from M.V.S.N. ranks. Finally, the Commandant-General may require military troops in order to crush serious uprisings;
  • The Chief of General Staff is in charge of the military/external defence of the Italian State, as well as of the military operations abroad. He commands the Carabinieri, permanently assigned to Public Security duties, and in case of total war he takes command of all military and armed forces within Italy and Italian Empire, including police forces and all M.V.S.N. branches.

Alongside the Committee in its ordinary composition, which brings together the top figures of each branch, special "working tables", able to address specific needs at a lower level, may be set up. Such working tables are part of the Committee, but they usually function autonomously. The most famous of these working tables within the Political-Military Committee is the Standing conference for the internal military security (Conferenza permanente per la sicurezza interna a carattere militare), which involves the G.N.R., the Carabinieri and the Royal Police Corps, with the optional participation of officers of the other Gendarmerie corps of the Italian Empire; the conference's stated goal is to ensure a close cooperation, also by advancing organizational proposals, although it is an open secret that is one of the bureaucreatic centres pushing for a deep reform in the security sector, aiming to a much deeper integration of the internal security organizations with military character.

National Decision Making Centre

The National Decision Making Centre, is the seat of the support to Strategic Political Committee, in which concrete measures are substantiated in the choices made. The Decision Making Room, the Control Room and the Situation Room are modular elements of the Centre, in close liaison with their counterparts in the individual ministries and the O.V.R.A.

The concerted action radiates from the National Decision Making Centre in respect of the various areas of relevance.