A visit to the MGEOMETOC Centre of Excellence, the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre, the Headquarters of STRIKFORNATO and co-chairing the 8th Innovation Challenge Pitch Day made General Ruggiero's visit to Portugal a substantial, positive push to NATO's and Portugal's interests in Space, Maritime and Lessons Learned.
The latest addition to the Centres of Excellence constellation is the MGEOMETOC - The Maritime Geospatial, Meteorological & Oceanographic Centre of Excellence - which, despite its very recent accreditation and limited personnel, has already developed a remarkable Programme of Work while establishing essential connections with other maritime Centres of Excellence, NATO's Maritime Command, the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, academia and industry. General Ruggiero's visit, as the authority overseeing the activities and programmes of work of all NATO's Centres of Excellence, was instrumental in assessing the Centre's potential in fostering capability development innovation in maritime domain.
As one of Allied Command Transformation's three sub-commands, the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre's main task is to support Alliance-wide implementation and sustainment of NATO's  Lessons Learned policy. The Centre supports warfare development and warfighting, improving NATO's ability to operate and adapt, through training, advising and assessment activities enabling the establishment and sustainment of effective Lessons Learned  capabilities across NATO. General Ruggiero was briefed on the latest developments of the Centre and its tailored refocusing of priorities and overall mission.
Portugal is also home to the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO Headquarters, or STRIKFORNATO, Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s premier, rapidly deployable and flexible maritime power projection headquarters. Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and STRIKFORNATO leadership reviewed the headquarters' activities and examined margins for improvement in experimentation and capability development.
As the co-chair of the Innovation Challenge Pitch Day, General Ruggiero had the opportunity to review several projects dealing with "Space Domain Awareness", the theme of the 8th iteration of this challenge. The winning team - Share My Space from France - proposed an innovative "Visualization and Anticipation of Hostile Space Maneuvers": by training an Artificial Intelligence system with known satellites maneuvers, patterns of known, friendly activities are easily recognized. Once trained, the system is able to immediately detect hostile activities based on their "out-of-pattern" maneuvers and raise an early warning to help informed decision-making. The strategic interest for the Alliance is significant: detecting and tracking objects in space before they become a threat can significantly improve reaction times and minimize consequences, both intended and unintended.
The Innovation Challenge Pitch Day received exceptional support from the host nation; the Portuguese Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence delivered the opening and closing remarks, respectively, testifying to the importance of innovation for the Portuguese administration. General Ruggiero exchanged views on innovation and capability development, and Portugal's interest in the matter, during an office call with the Minister of Defence Dr Joao Gomes.
Portuguese top-level political and military authorities expressed appreciation for Allied Command Transformation's leading role as driver of innovation within the Alliance, reaffirming Portugal's stark interest in promoting innovation both in the military and the civilian sector. Portugal is one of the founding members of the world's strongest and most powerful alliance; an alliance bound by shared history, values and goals that remains committed to its mission of providing peace and security for nearly one billion citizens.