What is the role of NATO today and why is the Alliance important to us? When wandering the beach in Santa Barbara on Veterans Day 2012, I asked myself these questions with a clear eye on the brutality of warfare and its consequences. While attendi ng a Military Sciences class at the University of California, I had the chance to meet some veterans who have served under the NATO mandate. I was deeply impressed by the respect shown for the military within the department and among the students. This societal inclination was encouraged by the fact that veterans, when sharing the full details of their experience in the field, were always open to questioning their own beliefs. I wish that this kind of mutual enrichment and dialogue between youth and NATO could be strengthened all across the Atlantic and particularly in my country, Italy. NATO is about being aware of our past and the current security challenges stemming worldwide. It is also about accepting that conflict is part of human nature, as Thomas Hobbes taught us. It is our duty, therefore, to foster intergovernmental military cooperation and dialogues, keeping in mind that war should always be the ultima ratio.