The Navy Officer is a seaman, first and foremost, a commander and a manager endowed with ad-hoc capabilities and knowledge in the scientific/technological, humanistic/legal/economic/administrative-related fields. Officer candidates are trained at the Leghorn-based Naval Academy, a leading training centre, where degree and master degree courses are offered. According to a pre-arranged annual training, the Naval Academy collaborates with the most important Naval Academies of the NATO Nations as well as the most prestigious universities in Italy and abroad.
According to the rank, Navy Officers are divided into:
Naval Officers are also divided into the following Corps:
- General Staff
- Naval Engineers
- Naval Weapons
- Port Authorities/Coast Guard
- Supply and Account
- Medical Corps
Due to training requirements, the Italian Navy Officers attend specialization and qualification courses at training centers, universities or military institutes.
General Staff Corps
Traditionally, sailing ships used to embark only one group of officers who performed significantly different duties, but with the advent of steam-powered ships, a professional specialization was required and two sub-groups of officers were established: Deck Officers and Engineer Officers. The General Staff Corps can be traced back to the Deck Officers category.
Naval Engineer Corps
After the establishment of the Royal Italian Navy, the then Minister of the Navy, Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, established the “Royal Navy Shipbuilder and Naval Engineer Corps”. Today’s naval engineers are responsible for the management of the design, construction and maintenance of vessels, propelling and auxiliary machinery. Naval Engineers can be employed in the technical departments on board ships or in shore facilities.
Today’s naval engineers are charged with the management of the planning, purchase and maintenance of naval weapons, communication and detection equipment, data processing systems and electronic materials.
During their career they may join or run Technical Offices, Research and Experimentation Institutes, production facilities and naval shipyards.
Port Authorities/Coast Guard Corps
After a theoretical-practical training, harbor masters are entrusted with the management of port operations, port safety and security, state property, environmental protection, Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
The main responsibility of the Navy Supply Corps is to provide material in support of operations and maintenance of naval equipment.
Supply Corps officers are also responsible for logistics, supply, support and financial management. Senior officers may join Navy High Commands and key national and international organizations.
The establishment of the Navy’s Medical Corps dates back to April 1, 1861. The first Surgeon General of the Italian Navy was Admiral Luigi Verde, who launched the first hospital ship named Washington.
The first disaster relief mission was carried out by the Italian Navy Steamer Campania, acting as a hospital ship, on the occasion of the earthquake in Messina and Reggio Calabria (December 28, 1908).
This specialist corps consists of military physicians, dentists and chemists.
The first chaplains appeared during Constantine reign. According to Italian regulations, they are ordained clergy commissioned Navy officers who offer religious support and counseling in peacetime or at war, ashore or on board naval units.