ROME, Italy -- Public Health Command Europe Commander, Col. Brian Spangler, signed an agreement with the Italian Army Comando di Sanità e Veterinaria in Rome, Italy, on Dec. 10, to establish a bilateral agreement in the field of veterinary medicine and public health.Also in attendance were Brig. Gen. Ronald Stephens, Commanding General Regional Health Command Europe and Italian Medical Corps Commander, Maj. Gen. Antonio Battistini.Beginning in 2016, Public Health Activity-Italy reached out to its Italian colleagues to explore the options of a bilateral cooperation that would benefit the public health effort of both commands to include veterinary services. The majority of Public Health Activity-Italy's personnel are stationed at bases in Vicenza, Aviano, Naples and Sigonella, Italy.Public Health Command Europe and the Italian Army Comando di Sanità e Veterinaria have a lot of common mission areas, such as military working dog care, public health surveillance, and food safety and security. This presents opportunities for combined training and the exchange of ideas which will be beneficial for both Italian and U.S. public health and Army veterinary services."The agreement is the first ever at the level of our Armies and can easily be considered a milestone in this specific sector," said Col. Giovanni Rucco, Chief of the Italian Veterinary Service. "Because it opens the way to a multitude of cooperation possibilities that can only improve mutual relations, strengthen the sense of belonging to the alliance and enriches the technical and professional heritage of both."The Italians and Americans both agree that the cooperation between the Army Comando di Sanità e Veterinaria and Public Health Command Europe enhances the efforts of a One Health concept essential to the overall protection and readiness of the force."Training and collaboration between Italian and American units provides a unique and important opportunity to develop and sustain long-term relationships before and during any future deployment into contingency operations," said Col. Brian Spangler, commander of Public Health Command Europe.Spangler explained that in today's world it is crucial that countries' militaries are connected -- personally, professionally, technically and tactically -- to create stronger, more capable forces. This agreement helps strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and the Italian Armies and ultimately between the two countries.
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