Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone

Chief of Defence – Italy

  • Last updated: 12 Nov. 2021 14:11

Born in Arquata Scrivia (AL) in 1957, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone attended the Naval Academy in Livorno where he graduated in 1980.

Admiral Cavo Dragone's initial tour includes Flight Training in Naval Air Station Pensacola (FL) and Corpus Christi (TX) where he was awarded the Naval Aviator wings in 1982.

He served as embarked helicopter pilot for almost 7 years, then, in 1989, he was selected for transition to jet aircraft and returned to USA where he followed the flight training program in Meridian, MS, and Cherry Point, NC from 1989 to 1991.

He was carrier qualified on board USS Lexington in January 1990.

He was among the firsts pilots of the newborn Italian Navy Harrier Squadron, being the first Commanding Officer.

In 1993, after his first tour as Squadron C.O. in Italy, he went back to Yuma, AZ, for advanced training in Harrier Night Attack and Radar versions; then, he had a second Squadron C.O. tour in 1997-1998.

Prior to assuming his current position, Admiral Cavo Dragone served in many areas of Naval Aviation, achieving Combat Readiness Qualification on various types of helicopters and aircraft among which UH-1L, UH-1N, H3 and Harrier AV8B Plus (total of 2500 hours flight time).

He attended the Naval War College in Livorno in 1996.

From 1999 through 2002, he was assigned to the Naval Aviation Department at the Italian Navy General Staff in Rome as Head of the R&D Office.

On 27th September 2002, he was appointed Commanding Officer of Aircraft Carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi for a two-year tour.

In 2004-2005, he attended the Italian Institute for Higher Defence Studies in Rome.

He has a Master Degree in Naval and Maritime Sciences from Pisa University and a Master Degree in Political Sciences from Trieste University.

His most significant sea duty assignments have included:

  • Flight Commander of MAESTRALE Class Frigates (1986 – 1987)
  • C.O. of Minehunter MILAZZO (1987 – 1988)
  • C.O. of AV8B Squadron (GRUPAER) (1991-1993) (1997-1998)
  • C.O. of Frigate EURO (1996 – 1997)
  • C.O. of Aircraft Carrier GARIBALDI (2002 – 2004)

From 2005 through 2008, he was appointed Navy General Staff Air Warfare and Naval Air Force Commander. From 2008 through 2011, he was appointed Commander of the Italian Navy Operational Raiders and Divers Group (COMSUBIN).

From 2011 through 2014, he was appointed Superintendent of the Italian Naval Academy.

In January 2012, he was appointed as head of the board of experts to advise and assist the designated judge in the trial related to the Costa Concordia shipwreck off the Giglio Island (Tuscany).

From 2014 through 2016, he served as Commander of the Italian Joint Special Forces Operations Headquarters. 

On 1st July 2016, he was appointed Commander of the Italian Joint Operations Headquarters.

From the 22nd June 2019 until the 5th of November 2021, he was the Chief of the Italian Navy.

From the 6th of November 2021, he is the Chief of Defence.

He has just completed his 17 years of continuous service as Commanding Officer (from 2002 to today).

He is military paratrooper and scuba diver, free fall skydiver and karate black belt (Shotokan style).

Admiral Cavo Dragone is married to Mrs. Rosa Fossati. They have two sons and one daughter: Michele (Medical degree), Umberto (Lieutenant of the Alpini mountain troops) and Ginevra Francesca (nursery student).

Major Awards and Decorations:

  • Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy
  • “Air Duty" Gold Medal
  • Command Duties Bronze Medal 
  • Long Navigation Duty Medal
  • Lebanon Mission Medal
  • Persian Gulf Medal
  • Former Republic of Yugoslavia Operations NATO Medal
  • Operation Enduring Freedom Medal
  • Military Paratrooper
  • Military Scuba Diver