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11 12 2021

Meet Rosario Romeo, a Branch Head at the NCI Agency

Passionate about change, innovation and continuous improvement, Rosario Romeo has always placed NATO's interests at the centre of his work for the past 35 or so years.

Starting with a first deployment in 1996 to Bosnia and Herzegovina for Operation Joint Endeavour, Romeo began leading a team of Communications and Information Systems (CIS) staff from Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey to deploy the first-ever digital transmission network infrastructure interconnecting those countries with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE) and among themselves.

Meet Rosario Romeo, a Branch Head at the NCI Agency

Currently, Romeo serves as the Service Management Branch Head for the NATO Communications and Information Agency's CIS Support Unit (CSU) in Naples, Italy. In that role, he performs as Service Management Authority (SMA) for delivery of services to Joint Force Command Naples, and leads the local planning and control for a number of large and complex projects and operations.

Romeo's largest project ever was to provide uninterrupted CIS services for the relocation of Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples in Italy to its headquarters in Lago Patria in 2012. This relocation was a six-month-long process, in which more than 1,500 users required support.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has recognized Romeo's contributions to the Alliance by awarding Romeo with NATO's Meritorious Service Medal.

In honour of this award, we asked Romeo a few questions about his work.

What is the most rewarding thing about your work?

Being able to support real people who have real needs. You can help change their day for the better. We have an enormous machine behind us, a complex service pipeline, built with many more colleagues and processes which at times are not that simple. Trying to make it easy for our customers to obtain and use the services they need is where I can step in. It feels great having the ability to support our NATO commanders; you feel very happy hearing senior customers saying that they feel had received the best service possible. This really gives you a feeling of "we did it"!

What is your advice for someone new joining NATO?

You have to develop a number of good relationships inside and outside of the NCI Agency, because yes you can have processes or practices in place, but in the end it is about people. If things go easy, no problem. It is when things don't go right and you do not have a book with the answer, and that is when experience and having good relationships matter, and of course my age helps with that, since I have been here for a while now.

What has been the highlight of your career?

It would have to be my first deployment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, supporting the peacekeeping operations there. I got a call from my boss, saying, "What do you think about coming over? We need to build a voice network, just for a week to ten days." It was three months later that I came back. Upon my arrival, I was taken in a Humvee tour of the mountains surrounding Sarajevo, which showed the scars of the recent conflict. This painted a real picture of why we were there. You could see it with your own eyes. This was most definitely a defining moment of my career.

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