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This is why the underwater domain is strategic according to Leonardo

This is why the underwater domain is strategic according to Leonardo

The underwater world is strategic for national security. This was underlined by Luciano Violante, president of the Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine Foundation, presenting the First Global Report on the underwater world created by the Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine Foundation and the Navy

The diver should be considered as a real new operational domain.

"The underwater world is one of the environments in which a decisive part of the life and activities of the next generations will take place", thus began Luciano Violante, president of the Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine Foundation, presenting today at the Livorno Naval Academy the First Global report on the underwater world “Civilization of the sea. Geopolitics, strategy, interests in the underwater world. The role of Italy” created by the Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine Foundation and the Italian Navy.

“Unlike the cyber domain and that of space, the underwater world is unknown to most of the public opinion and our commitment is to spread knowledge and scientific study, to raise awareness of the role of the diver in our national security strategy”, Violante explained again.

Furthermore, "the seabed – according to the president of the Leonardo Foundation – is crossed by six types of essential infrastructure: energy, for the transport of electricity, communication, bio-farming, mining, for the storage of carbon dioxide. Each of these structures is exposed to risks of various types, natural, accidental, intentional; among the various pitfalls, cable communications interception techniques stand out”.

"For this reason, the diver, due to the wealth of resources for his strategic function, needs specific political guidelines, overcoming a lack of attention that does not only concern public opinion", added Violante.


Speaking of cyber, this is considered the exclusive domain of communication. However, when we talk about the cloud – Violante recalls – with reference to the Internet it is natural to think of the sky, but what makes it possible lies in the ocean floor. Transoceanic communication passing through cables has become the backbone of the world's daily life which transmit more than 95% of communications. Musk has argued that his [Starlink] network of over 4,000 will guarantee the Internet in space , but satellites cannot replace cables” remarked the president of the Leonardo Foundation.


“The Space Race is determined by the competition between the great powers and by the hope of finding those raw materials and metals that guarantee our technological development. Well, even the seabed could give us what we are looking for” observed the president of the Leonardo Foundation adding that “they have rare earths and host polymetallic nodules rich in nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese. Hydrothermal vents create sulphide deposits, which contain industrially sought-after metals such as silver, gold, copper, manganese, cobalt and zinc.


Therefore "the diver, due to his own specific characteristics, needs specific political guidelines and we extract four from the report", explains Luciano Violante.

First of all, “a balance must be found between the need to procure raw materials and the need to preserve marine biodiversity. Mining and fishing must be done in a way that does not produce irreversible damage to the environment. The rational use of marine resources cannot be confused with an illegal hoarding of those resources. To establish whether this is an acceptable practice, five factors need to be looked at: a) type of governance of the use procedures, b) technologies used, c) risks for human safety, d) consequences for the environment, e) utility achievable".


Secondly, “direct action is needed to discover, protect, study and enhance the underwater archaeological heritage. A significant part of our civilization is documented under water. We have a duty to protect it and guarantee its knowledge" highlighted Violante.


After that, the president of the Leonardo Foundation recalls that "one of the most delicate problems for our country is the management of authorizations for underwater activities in the portions of the sea that fall under our jurisdiction. It is an uncoordinated system, lacking a clear definition of mutual competences”.

In the light of all this, "the Report proposes to set up a national authority for the control of underwater traffic" Violante pointed out.


Fourth and last point: “geopolitics is going through a restructuring phase. The war in Ukraine, which from the beginning has acquired a clear anti-Western meaning and a fight against democracies, has activated a process of deglobalization, of change of globalization as we have known it up to now. A further factor of change is constituted by competition in the field of high technology. As a result of these factors, there will be an urgent need for rare earths found in third countries, which today gravitate to non-European spheres of influence, and in the underwater world".

Therefore “it will be necessary to evaluate the opportunity to consider the diver as a real new operational domain, after land, sea, air, outer space, cyberspace. The underwater dimension affects the strategic corridors for the transmission of data traffic and which, as such, must be monitored and protected".

All these aspects must be considered together. "Precisely because of his own specific characteristics, the diver needs specific political guidelines" concluded Violante.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/innovazione/ecco-perche-il-dominio-subacqueo-e-strategico-secondo-leonardo/ on Mon, 27 Mar 2023 14:24:27 +0000.