02 – Mastering the Art of Mountain Warfare: Navigating Challenges and Embracing Triumph

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COL Italo Spini, ITA (A); NATO MW COE Deputy Director/COS

From a Mountain Warfare Chief of Staff Perspective, the Congress on vertical manoeuvre in mountain warfare emerged as a pivotal and comprehensive gathering, bringing together a diverse array of experts and professionals. This assembly proved instrumental in delving into the unique challenges and potential opportunities that characterize military operations in mountainous terrain. Throughout the extensive presentations and nuanced discussions, a multitude of novel perspectives came to the fore, shedding light on the intricate nuances of tactics and strategies essential for achieving success in these complex environments.

At the heart of these deliberations was the pivotal role played by the Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence (MW COE). Acting as a nexus for endeavours aimed at standardizing procedures, the Centre is poised to address the prevailing diversity in approaches. It stands as a cornerstone for providing a unified and clear vision for the future of mountain warfare over the next two decades. By consolidating best practice and honing specialized training programmes, the Centre aims to foster a harmonized approach to mountain warfare, thereby enhancing interoperability among military forces engaged in such operations.

The Congress even served as a crucial forum for addressing not only the tactical and
strategic aspects, but also the intricate challenges posed by logistics in mountainous terrain. The discussions highlighted the unique logistical hurdles that military operations encounter in such environments, where rugged topography and extreme weather conditions add layers of complexity.

In this context, the MW COE emerges as an essential hub, not only for refining combat techniques but also for devising innovative logistical solutions. The need to standardize and optimize logistical procedures in mountain warfare was highlighted as a key priority. The MW COE, through collaborative efforts, seeks to develop streamlined logistical approaches that account for the demanding nature of mountainous terrain, ensuring the timely and efficient deployment of resources. These discussions, encompassing supply chain management, transportation, and resource allocation, contributed to a more nuanced understanding of the multifaceted logistical demands associated with mountain warfare.

The Congress also presented a unique and invaluable opportunity to engage in high‐level discussions with commanders of NATO mountain units and leaders of military mountain schools. This collaborative dialogue not only facilitated the exchange of ideas but also played a pivotal role in fostering a comprehensive understanding of the diverse challenges faced by practitioners of mountain warfare.

In conclusion, the next Congress, entitled “Mountain Warfare in 2040”, represents an exciting challenge as we collectively chart a course towards the future, envisioning the landscape of mountain warfare two decades hence. The MW COE stands as a beacon, guiding the way towards standardized practices, collaborative knowledge exchange, and a unified vision that will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of mountain warfare for years to come.