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​NATO activated its Air Command and Control System after Italy declared its ACCS site in Poggio Renatico operational, according to an Alliance release. NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment Patrick Auroy called the activation a “major step forward” and a “good example of integrated national and NATO defense capabilities.” Eventually the ACCS network will comprise more than 20 military aircraft control centers and cover more than 3.8 million square miles of airspace, states the July 3 release. In addition to the static NATO air command and control center, Poggio Renatico hosts a deployable ACCS capability, which Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove can call on to conduct complex air operations across NATO’s territory or beyond. NATO officials, in recent interviews with Air Force Magazine, have said command and control investments supporting crisis response and air and missile defense will receive a lot of attention in coming years. On June 17, NATO used ACCS for the first time during a real-life air policing event, states the release. The ACCS site at Poggio Renatico controlled two Eurofighters after the launch order from the Alliance’s combined air operation center in Torrejon, Spain.​