A two-day conference co-organised by the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Italian Air Force devoted to “Personnel Recovery: Risks & Mitigations” was opened this Monday 4 December at the Istituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche (ISMA) in Florence, Italy, with the aim of increasing awareness about the importance of having appropriate Personnel Recovery (PR) planning and implementation capabilities in military operations or missions.
The conference brings together more than 70 participants from EU Member States, the European Union Military Staff (EUMS), the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC), NATO, the Integrated Coalition Personnel Recovery Capability (ICPRC) project as well as representatives from the US and New Zealand.
Opened by the Commander of the Italian Air Operations Command, General Antonio Conserva, the conference will examine all aspects of Personnel Recovery with a particular focus on the challenges and risks involved in the planning and implementation of this crucial task. Participants will also discuss best practices and ways to improve PR in the future.
In his keynote speech, Rini Goos, the EDA’s Deputy Chief Executive, expressed his confidence that “this conference will help to raise awareness on the importance of Personnel Recovery planning and implementation for saving lives”. The aim of the Agency’s efforts in this domain is to “reassure both our deployed personnel and their relatives back home that safety is our prime concern and that we will do everything we can to ensure that during a mission, no one will be left behind”, Mr Goos recalled that “the EDA is engaged in this effort since 2007 when it established the Project Team Personnel Recovery”.
The isolation, capture and exploitation of personnel during Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions can have a significant adverse impact on operational security, the morale of personnel and public support. The EU therefore attaches a lot of importance to the release, recovery and reintegration of personnel by employing all possible diplomatic, military and civilian tools. Since the establishment of EDA’s Project Team Personnel Recovery (PT PR) in 2007, the Agency has been working with participating Member States and partners to address identified shortfalls over the full spectrum of PR, from the cultural and conceptual context to training aspects, and to the development of advanced technologies and tools.