The head of the DDPS is Viola Amherd. She has been a member of the Federal Council since 2019.
Switzerland needs strong armed forces
The armed forces are by far the largest organisation responsible for Switzerland's safety and security. Their duties are not simply limited to times of war; they have a wide variety of daily tasks, such as identifying unknown aircraft or assisting the civilian authorities in clearing up operations after flooding. In addition, they have to deal with threats from cyber space. For the military to be able to carry out these tasks, it must constantly adapt to new threats. This is also the aim of the Armed Forces Development Programme, the implementation of which will be completed by the end of 2022. With this reform, the armed forces will be able to deploy more quickly, will be better trained, and will consolidate their regional presence.
«The DDPS keeps Switzerland safe and fit.»
The new fighter aircraft: highest priority
The Air2030 programme, the renewal of airspace protection, is a top priority this year. The current fighter aircraft will be obsolete by 2030. The new, modern combat aircraft must be capable of protecting Switzerland's people from air attacks for the next 30 years. Funding has been secured: the regular military budget will cover the fighter jets’ purchase. This means the procurement will not affect other areas of the federal budget. The Federal Council and Parliament want to involve the population in the decision. Voters will decide in a referendum on the fundamental question whether new fighter aircraft should be purchased at a price of up to CHF 6 billion, and the Federal Council and Parliament will decide on the specific procurement.
Protecting the environment and promoting sport
The responsibilities of the armed forces are significant, and they also take environmental protection seriously, with the DDPS striving to become a model department. In the future, for example, military buildings will systematically be equipped with solar panels. One thing is clear: protecting the people remains our main task. The DDPS protects Switzerland, and, through the Federal Office of Sport, it also keeps Switzerland on the move. The Federal Council wants to expand its sports promotion activities. Here too, ground-breaking work is underway this year, including the development of new sport facilities and additional contributions to school sport camps.
Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and SportDDPS
Responsibility for Switzerland’s security lies with the DDPS. The Swiss Armed Forces defend the country and its people, support the civilian authorities, and promote peace in international forums, while the Federal Office for Civil Protection helps to protect against disasters. The DDPS also provides the Armed Forces and third parties with systems, vehicles, materials and buildings, ensures the Confederation’s civilian intelligence service, promotes sport and its values, and carries out modern topographical surveys.
|Staff (full-time positions) 2018
General Secretariat GS-DDPS
The General Secretariat supports the head of the DDPS in his capacity as a member of the Federal Council and in managing the department. It implements the strategic objectives of the Federal Council and head of department, drafts the corresponding policy guidelines, and coordinates their implementation by the DDPS groups and offices. The General Secretariat manages, coordinates and monitors the use of the department’s budget, and is also responsible for the DDPS Damage Compensation Centre, the department’s integral security, and its cyber defence strategy. Assigned to the General Secretariat for administrative purposes are the Office of the Armed Forces Attorney General, the independent supervisory authority that monitors the Federal Intelligence Service and the Swiss Security Network Delegate’s Office.
Office of the Armed Forces Attorney General
The Office of the Armed Forces Attorney General ensures that the military criminal justice authorities can fulfil their task independently of Armed Forces command and of the Administration. It initiates and monitors criminal proceedings in the military justice system, and fulfils all other procedural obligations and duties assigned to it by the legislature.
Federal Intelligence Service FIS
The Federal Intelligence Service FIS combats terrorism, violent extremism, espionage, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. It monitors strategic developments, evaluates the threat situation in support of the political decision-makers, and issues alerts in the event of impending crises or unusual changes. The service is supervised by various bodies of the Administration and by Parliament.
The Defence sector is headed by the chief of the Swiss Armed Forces, who holds the rank of lieutenant general. The Armed Forces Staff is responsible for the development, planning, resource allocation and steering in the Armed Forces. Operations Command plans and ensures the required level of readiness of the forces and operations for a wide range of missions including security for the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, peace promotion or disaster relief in the case of avalanches, flooding or forest fires in Switzerland or abroad. The head of Joint Training Command bears overall responsibility for training the Land Forces and the Air Force. Joint Training Command is also responsible for training conscript officers and professional soldiers. Support Command is responsible for logistics and command support. The Logistics Organisation ensures the supply and return of weapons, equipment and food, maintenance and infrastructure, medical services and the transport troops. The Command Support Organisation provides all the necessary electronic support services.
Federal Office for Defence Procurement armasuisse
armasuisse is the DDPS competence centre for procurement, technology and real estate. It ensures that the Armed Forces and third parties are supplied with the systems, land vehicles, aeroplanes and helicopters, equipment and buildings they require. It manages approximately 8000 properties, sites and 24,000 hectares of land belonging to the DDPS. As armasuisse is responsible for weapons, equipment and real estate during their entire life cycle, it is also responsible for their liquidation at the end of their useful life.
Federal Office of Topography swisstopo
Geospatial information in the form of maps, images and data, above or below the surface of the Earth, are a key element in the infrastructure of any country. Transparent and sensible decisions, not only on political and social issues but also in our own private lives, are inconceivable without a sound awareness of our surroundings. The Federal Office of Topography swisstopo ensures that our landscape and what is beneath it are reliably and sustainably documented. It coordinates the provision of geoinformation at federal level and with the cantons, oversees the official cadastral survey, runs the Institute for Military Geography and operates the federal geoportal with the map viewer map.geo.admin.ch.
Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP
In the event
of disasters and emergencies, the Office ensures cooperation with the five
partner organisations: the police, fire and health services, technical
operations and civil defence. Responsibility for civil protection lies mainly
with the cantons. The FOCP takes care of the general planning and coordination
of protection in the areas of early warning and alert systems, training and
protective infrastructure. The National Emergency Operations Centre and the
Spiez Laboratory are also part of the Office. In the event of incidents
involving elevated levels of radioactivity, the National Emergency Operations
Centre warns the general public and, if necessary, orders implementation of
protection measures. All relevant information on events in Switzerland is published on the Alertswiss website and app. The Spiez Laboratory is Switzerland’s institute for nuclear,
biological and chemical protection. Its services are increasingly in
Federal Office of Sport FOSPO
The Federal Office of Sport promotes sport and physical activity for all. It manages the Confederation’s most important sport-promotion programme, Youth+Sport, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen (Bern), a renowned education, training and research facility. The sports centres in Magglingen and Tenero (Ticino) provide state-of-the-art education and training facilities for clubs, schools and associations.