Italy has been increasingly active in international military missions since the end of World War II. This paper aims at showing that the procedures related to the deployment and extension of military missions abroad have several shortcomings. These procedures, which are focused mostly on technical aspects, are bound to certain time limits and do not ensure significant parliamentary debate or any kind of parliamentary debate at all. This negatively affects the identification and pursuit of Italian national interests in the deployment of missions abroad. Yet national interests are crucial: international missions are essential for foreign policy, but they represent a means and not an objective in and of itself. As a way forward, we identify a number of recommendations in the areas of law, policy practice and political debate that could improve the status quo.
1. Italian missions abroad: facts and figures
2. Actors, mission deployment and extension procedures
3. International missions, procedural shortcomings and the national interest