The post-war period, until the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, was mainly characterised by a system of opposing blocks and by a threat coming from a single direction. Therefore the mission of the Army was well-defined, as it was its organization and type of units, distributed on the territory following relatively simple and clear criteria.
The need to defend the "Gorizia threshold" and the routes possibly employed by the enemy to penetrate the Po Valley and reach the heart of the nation has long led the military to concentrate the greatest number of their best-equipped land forces in the North-Western sector of Italy.
The several Brigades, established in 1975 after the disbandment of the Divisional Commands, and progressively downsized (from 25 in 1989 to 19 in 1991, and to 13 at present), were put, in peace time, under the operational command of the 5th Vittorio Veneto Army Corps (first line units), the 4th Bolzano Army Corps ( Alpine troops) and the 3rd Milan Army Corps (theatre replacement units). In the case of crisis or conflict, the mounting HQs would become the Command of the Allied Land Forces- Southern Europe in Verona (an agency, led by an Italian four-star general, which in peacetime, carries out planning tasks and exercises its authority over a single operational component, the Army Air Defense Artillery).
COMFOTER was built around the pre-existing FTASE command in Verona and is led by an Italian four-star General. It operates through four intermediate demultiplier commands and is responsible for the preparation of its subordinate commands and units, in compliance with the operational requirements of the "capability package" including these forces. The full implementation of the principle of a unified command at organizational level, embodied by the establishment of the COMFOTER, together with the adoption of dynamic investment plans, will increasingly lead the Army to reach the efficiency and specialization levels required by modern scenarios and by joint operations at multinational level.
The Commander of the Operational Land Forces, (wearing a "double hat", national and NATO, as he joins in his hands both his new and previous assignment as Commander of the Allied Land Forces -Southern Europe), is subordinated to the Chief of the Army general Staff. He resides in Verona and exerts his authority in the field of force preparation, training and employment through four intermediate operational commands plus a Support Command.
The Intermediate Commands, partly built around the previously reconfigured Army Corps Commands ( Milan, Bolzano and Vittorio Veneto) and partly newly established (Naples), gather under their authority Brigade-level units (plus a limited number of support assets), which have been selected following homogeneous criteria, taking into account well-defined " capability packages".
The Projection Force Command established in Milan has recently become a "planning" command and lost its previously assigned forces ("Garibaldi", "Folgore" and "Friuli"), which have been put under the authority of the 1st and 2nd Defense Force Commands. The FOP Command has already experimented a first out-of-area projection on the occasion of the Operation "ALBA" (Albania), in line with its envisaged type of employment.