THE SWISS REPORT: A special study for
Western Goals Foundation
by Congressman Lawrence Patton McDonald, General George
S. Patton, U.S.A. (Ret.) and General Lewis W. Walt, U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
Copyright © 1983 Western Goals
================= W E S T E R N G O A L S
309-A Cameron Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 (703)
Congressman Lawrence P. McDonald, Chairman
Western Goals Advisory Board
Rep. Jean Ashbrook, Vice Adm. Lloyd M. Mustin, Mrs. Walter Brennan, Mrs.
John C. Newington, Taylor Caldwell, Gen. George S. Patton, Dr. Hans Sennholz,
Rep. Philip M. Crane, Gen. John Singlaub, Gen. Raymond, G. Davis, Dan Smoot,
Henry Hazlitt, Robert Stoddard, Dr. Mildred F. Jefferson, Rep. Bob Stump, Dr.
Anthony Kubek, Mrs. Helen Marie Taylor, Roger Milliken, Dr. Edward Teller, Adm.
Thomas Moorer, Gen. Lewis Walt, E.A. Morris, Dr. Eugene Wigner
Western Goals Executive Staff
Linda Guell, Director
John Rees, Editor
Julia Ferguson, Research
LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
In the contemporary arena of political chicanery, reality counts for
little and illusion is frequently king, but in the struggle for the survival of
Western Civilization, it will be the real world, not illusions or delusions,
that will determine which way the future will go. This basic truth is
especially the case in areas of national defense. Politicians may play politics
as usual right up to the time of actual conflict; after that point, only the
mislabeled fool or dedicated traitor would continue the deception.
National defense matters present many real problems at both the
policymaking and electorate levels. One such case may be found in the question
of a draft as a means of supplying the necessary military manpower. A military
service draft causes apprehension to eligible teenage males, and this is
especially the case when the inequitable draft of the Vietnam War era is
The all-volunteer military force is an alternative to a draft, but it is
an expensive way to go as illustrated by the fact that approximately 60 percent
of the defense dollar goes to personnel and personnel related costs (by way of
comparison, in the Soviet Union the comparable figure is 22 percent, thus
leaving the lion's share for weapons development and production). Too,
historically, there are serious questions as to whether a paycheck is an
adequate substitute for patriotic fervor.
While Americans wrestle with the defense matters of growing costs,
manpower needs, volunteerism vs. the draft, and even the matter of a national
will, it is refreshing to note that there is one country that has adopted a
formula that has resolved those same vexations. That country is Switzerland,
and amazingly, the Swiss have successfully applied this national defense
formula for centuries without the problems of popular division. To the
contrary, the Swiss concept has promoted unity among the people of that small
but mature nation.
The people of Switzerland are to be envied for their many achievements,
and the policy achievement of a plan for armed neutrality could be a model
either in whole or in part for those seeking a rational approach to survival
The concept of armed neutrality was a policy favored by our Founding
Fathers but the warnings and advice of Founding Father George Washington has
been lost to Twentieth Century Americans. Perhaps even at this late date, we
could find many answers to our current problems by observing the Swiss way of a
total defense concept.
Lawrence P. McDonald
Chairman and President
"...to rebuild and strengthen the political, economic, and social
structure of the United States and Western Civilization so as to make any
merger with totalitarians impossible."
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON, USA (RET.)
Major General George Smith Patton was born December 24, 1923, in Boston,
Massachusetts, the youngest of 3 children of Major George S. Patton, Jr. and
Beatrice Ayer Patton.
General Patton graduated from The Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania,
and from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He holds a Masters Degree in
International Affairs from George Washington University. The General also
attended the Armed Forces Staff College, the U.S. Army Armor School, and the
U.S. Army War College.
General Patton served in Korea as Company Commander and volunteered for
service in Vietnam, serving initially as Special Forces Operations Officer
concurrently with an assignment at the American Embassy, Saigon. One of his
several other Vietnam assignments included his service as Commanding Officer,
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Peacetime missions include General Patton's service as follows:
Headquarters and Student Company Commander and Commanding Officer of the Tank
Training Center and 63rd Heavy Tank Battalion, respectively, in Germany
(General Patton's career with the U.S. Army includes approximately 11 years
European service alone); Company Tactical Officer with the Department of
Tactics at West Point and similar duties at the Executive Department at the
U.S. Naval Academy; Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Army Armor School in Fort
Knox; Director, Security Assistance with Headquarters at the U.S. European
Command; and Director of Readiness, HQ DARCOM.
The General's decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross with
one oak leaf cluster; Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster; Legion of Merit
with two oak leaf clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross; Meritorious Service
Medal; several South Vietnam decorations, and the Purple Heart.
General Patton is married to the former Joanne Holbrook and they reside
on their farm in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
GENERAL LEWIS W. WALT, USMC (RET.)
General Lewis William Walt, who has seen more combat on the battlefield
than any other living Marine, led combat troops in three wars, was a U.S.
Marine Platoon Leader in the defense of the International Settlement in
Shanghai, China in 1938-39, and retired from active service in the Corps on
February 1, 1971.
During his active military career of nearly 35 years, General Walt was
awarded 19 personal decorations for combat, including two Navy Crosses, our
Nation's second highest combat award. He was also awarded two Distinguished
Service Medals — one as a Commander of the Marines and other combat troops
in Vietnam, and one as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Following his retirement, the 4-star General served as Director of the
United States Marines Youth Foundation and subsequently he headed up the U.S.
Senate Investigation on International Drug Traffic. From September 1974 to
September 1975, General Walt served as the senior military member of President
Ford's Clemency Board, followed by his service as Consultant to the Department
of Defense in the areas of weapons development and combat training.
General Walt, one of 12 children who worked his way through college, was
born on a farm near Harveyville, Kansas on February 16, 1913. He graduated with
honors from the Military Department at Colorado State University with a degree
in Chemistry. His authored works include Strange War, Strange Strategy
(1970); America Faces Defeat (1971); and The Eleventh Hour
The General Currently resides in Orlando, Florida with his wife June.
Western Goals wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the
following individuals for their invaluable assistance in the presentation of
1. Divisionnaire (MG) Edmund Muller
Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics
Federal Military Department
2. Colonel Jean Rossier
Chief of the Territorial Service
Federal Military Department
3. Colonel Philippe Zeller
Chief of Operations, General Staff
Federal Military Department
4. Hans Mumenthaler, Director
Federal Office of Civil Defense
5. Honorable G.A. Chevallaz
Minister of Defense
6. Brig. General Heinrich Koopman and staff
Office of the Swiss
7. Colonel George E. Thompson
The American Embassy
The Foundation wishes to say a special "thank you" to Charley Reese,
Orlando, Florida, for his editorial assistance and contributions.
THE SWISS REPORT
Switzerland lies landlocked in Western Europe, a small densely populated
nation of nearly seven million people. To the west lies France, to the south
Italy and to the north and east, West Germany and Austria. By modern jet
fighter, it is ten minutes from the Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe.
Since 1815 Switzerland has remained an inviolate island of peace in the midst
of war. Even Adolph Hitler's Wehrmacht, which conquered all of Europe in the
early months of World War II, chose not to attack Switzerland despite the fact
that the small country was in the crossroads of Western Europe.
Switzerland is, of course, neutral, but it was not mere respect for its
neutrality which kept the Nazi armies and others before it out of the tiny
country. It was the determination of the Swiss people to defend their
neutrality and the credibility of their means to do so. That determination
remains alive today in the face of weapons of mass destruction. So, too, does
the credibility of the means. Within 48 hours, the Swiss can field an army of
more than 600,00 men, 100,000 more than the present army of West Germany.
Today, it can provide shelter space for 85 percent of its civilian population
and by the 1990s intends to have shelter space for the entire population. War
supplies, medical supplies and food supplies are meticulously stored in more
than 100 kilometers of tunnels. About 4,000 permanent obstacles and barriers
and more than 2,000 demolition devices are now in place, ready to hamper and
block an aggressor's progress. In short, Switzerland is an armed bunker.
Yet, there is no standing Army, no bunker mentality,
no enormous drain on the Swiss economy, no militaristic threat to
Europe's oldest and most fiercely independent democracy.
How the Swiss have achieved this credible deterrent to invasion is the
subject of this report. The Swiss security system is unique as well as an
example of what a democratic nation can accomplish by applying reason and logic
to problems which have been realistically and carefully analyzed.
Niccolo Machiavelli, the 15th century Italian student of power, remarked
of the Swiss, "They are the most armed — and most free people in Europe."
Indeed, Switzerland was born in the 13th century out of a desire to be free of
domination by the Habsburg family. In 1291 three Swiss cantons signed the
Perpetual Covenant which marked the beginning of the Swiss Confederation. In
the 1300s, the Swiss fought several wars for independence with Austria and in
1499 Switzerland won its independence from the Holy Roman Empire.
The policy of neutrality originated in 1515 when the Swiss suffered a
stunning defeat by the French, but that early neutrality did not save it from
an invasion and occupation by the French under Napoleon in 1798. The Congress
of Vienna of 1815 restored Swiss independence and guaranteed its neutrality.
Switzerland adopted a new constitution in 1848, modeled somewhat after
the American constitution and this was amended in 1874 to increase the federal
government's powers in military and court matters, although the cantons
(equivalent to American states) generally retain considerably more power than
The Swiss economy today is built around precision manufacturing,
chemicals, banking, and tourism. It has one of the highest standards of living
in the world and the land is criss-crossed by a 3,150-mile railroad network and
30,000 miles of hard-surfaced roads. Three major rivers have their origin in
Switzerland — the Rhine, the Rhone, and the Po. Most of the population and
most of the agriculture are located in the plateau region between the Jura and
the Alps. Swiss agriculture can produce only three-fifths of the nation's food
supply, a factor carefully weighed in the Swiss security system planning. The
nation is greatly dependant on imports for food and most raw materials for its
industry, including oil, natural gas, and coal.
Since 1815 the Swiss have not fought in a foreign war, yet they have
maintained the tradition of a citizen army and rifle and pistol shooting are
among the nation's most popular sports with almost every village having a
shooting range, over 3,000 ranges in all.
Today Switzerland maintains its neutrality, but practices what it calls
solidarity — participating in international humanitarian projects,
offering its good offices in the resolution of disputes, and providing
technical assistance to Third World countries. The Swiss participate in those
international activities and organizations which do not require it to violate
its policy of neutrality. Neutrality is central to Swiss thinking and, in fact,
is the determining factor in the Swiss security system.
SWISS STRATEGIC THINKING
Divisionnaire Major General Edmund Muller, deputy chief of staff,
logistics, summarized Swiss strategic thinking this way:
"Historical experience shows that if a nation is not able to defend
itself and to protect its spiritual and material values, it will become, sooner
or later, the target of power politics and force. Efforts to defend ourselves
against force are therefore still necessary. These efforts must be integrated
within a comprehensive security policy expressed in the form of clear
guidelines. Our government is convinced that we can successfully undertake
peace-keeping efforts in the future only if we can ensure at the same time our
own security in a credible way. The security policy of a country is only
credible if a realistic evaluation of the threats and a sober estimation of its
own possibilities lead to the implementation of a concept capable of inspiring
confidence at home and respect abroad."
The words, "credible", "respect", "realistic", and "planning" occur over
and over in Swiss defense documents and briefings. To a remarkable degree, the
Swiss government has approached its problems in a supremely logical manner,
setting out basic premises and drawing the correct inferences.
The objectives of the security policy are set forth as follows: (1)
preservation of peace in independence; (2) preservation of freedom of action;
(3) protection of the population; and (4) defense of the territory.
Each of these objectives has been carefully analyzed and the choice of
words is not careless. What the Swiss mean by "Peace in independence" is made
clear in the following excerpt from a report of the Federal Council to the
"The preservation of peace — no matter how much we are interested
in it — is not an end in itself. It can neither be separated from the
preservation of self-determination nor can one be played off against the other.
Our goal is peace in independence; both aspects are therefore of equal
In defining preservation of freedom of action, the Swiss make clear they
mean freedom from foreign pressures, which can be achieved only by having
available a powerful means of resisting them and freedom from internal pressure
generated by illegal means or the use of force.
Having defined their security policy objectives, the Swiss then proceed
to examine the threat. In doing so, they include "the state of relative peace"
along with indirect war, conventional war, war with weapons of mass
destruction, and blackmail.
The following quotations from the same Federal Council report reveal not
only the Swiss view of the present threats but provide an insight in their
"Today, peace does not correspond to the ideal and conditions usually
associated with it. The general situation is characterized by continuous
confrontations, also in those cases where there is no open employment of
"The danger of a breach of international agreement is always present.
The collective security system envisioned by the Charter of the United Nations
has not been allowed to become effective, particularly because of the lack of
unanimity among the permanent members of the security council....today's state
of relative peace is to a great extent due to the fact that the two superpowers
neutralize each other. The balance of fear, maintained only by the mutual
threat of annihilation, is not stable. It can be jeopardized by the excessive
armaments efforts of one side, by technological breakthroughs as well as by
irrational actions....under the protection of this relative balance of forces,
powers and groups of powers attempt to enlarge their spheres of influence
through political, economical, propagandistic and psychological pressures."
"Conflicts are increasingly being waged by indirect means; with the goal
of influencing, weakening and finally overcoming the opponent through
political, psychological and terrorist means....this type of warfare takes
advantage of the increasing vulnerability of the modern state with its numerous
vital facilities (such as power utilities, communication, transportation and
information facilities). Those who resort to this kind of warfare, whether they
act in the interest of a foreign power, a foreign ideology or out of
anarchistic motives, take advantage of the frictions existing within a society,
as well as of all forms of political and social malaise of certain population
groups. By attempting to break up the existing liberal order through the
paralysis of the public institutions, facilities and the democratic processes
by way of defamation, intimidation and the employment of force, they hope to be
able to achieve their goals."
"The possibility of blackmail exists at each level of conflict, taking
advantage of the opponent's fear of the threatened actions. Blackmail acquires
a particular dimension if it is exercised by nuclear powers. The authorities of
the state against which the blackmail is directed could be put under intense
public pressure and be forced to make decisions of such a magnitude as to be
without historical parallel....the four levels of conflict are characterized by
those methods and means which would, at each level, be predominantly employed.
During large confrontations, the parties to the conflict will try to combine
these methods and means acting simultaneously in a direct and indirect manner."
Thus, the Swiss take a hard look at the world and indulge in no escapist
thinking. They recognize that they could become the victim of blackmail, of
subversion, of a conventional or nuclear attack. Yet they also realize that
because of their small size, they are not likely to be a primary target and
therefore cannot justify a continued state of mobilization.
The Swiss see the military as only one component of a spectrum of
strategic means to achieve their security objectives. Their foreign policy
initiatives are a strategic means to defend their policy of armed neutrality,
to provide access to raw materials and markets to exports. Social policy is a
strategic means to provide the stability necessary to withstand threats.
Economic policy is a strategic means of insuring that in times of crisis or
war, the Swiss people can continue to exist. The Swiss Government has actually
formed what it calls a war economy organization with the specific goals of
planning for self-sufficiency in time of war. In this regard, Swiss citizens
are required to maintain in their homes a two-month's supply of food;
industrialists and importers are required to maintain war stocks of raw
materials and food. Civil Defense is seen as the strategic means of insuring
survival of the population. In short, the Swiss approach the problem of
security with a totally integrated methodology that involves the entire nation.
THE MILITIA SYSTEM
The purpose of the military forces of Switzerland are two-fold: (1) to
deter war by the principle of dissuasion; and (2) if deterrence fails, to
defend the territory and the population.
"Dissuasion is a strategic posture which should persuade a potential
aggressor to avoid armed conflict, by convincing him of the disproportion
existing between the advantages gained from an attack on the country and the
risks entailed. The risks which a potential aggressor must be made to perceive
consists in the loss of prestige, military forces, war-potential and time, as
well as in running counter to his ideological, political and economic
The Swiss have no illusions about their ability to defeat a major
military power. They could not have defeated the Nazi army which for a time
considered invading Switzerland. They mobilized, however, and made it clear
beyond a shadow of a doubt that if the Nazi army invaded, it would be fiercely
resisted and that the tunnels and passes into Italy would be destroyed. In a
classic example of dissuasion at work, Hitler's general staff recommended
against an invasion on the grounds that the costs would be disproportionate to
The Swiss military forces are composed almost entirely of the militia.
Only 800 out of 50,000 officers are professionals. They, and the recruits which
happen to be training at any given time, are the only people in Switzerland on
The Swiss militia system is unique and is not comparable to the present
Reserve and Guard forces in the United States. The basis for conscription is
the constitution, which mandates military service for every Swiss male from age
20 to 50 (55 in the case of officers). There are no exceptions. Conscientious
objectors are given a choice between Army non-combat units and jail. Those
physically unfit for military duty but employable are required to pay a tax.
Women are not included in the compulsory military service system, but small
numbers of them are accepted on a volunteer basis for non-combatant positions.
The universality of the Swiss system provides several advantages. It is
fair and therefore enjoys popular support. In the 1970s a national referendum
was had on the question of providing alternative service to conscientious
objectors. The Swiss people defeated it by an overwhelming majority.
A second advantage is that the Swiss Army does not have to operate a
vocational school system, training unqualified people in special skills which
they take, as soon as their enlistment is completed, into the civilian market.
The Swiss system operates in reverse. The Swiss Army, because everyone is
obligated, can choose those people trained in their civilian roles for the
military jobs which match their specialty. In the Swiss system, the burden of
specialized training is on the civilian sector.
A third advantage is that every male, age 20 to 50, who is an elected
official or civil servant in the government at all levels is also a member of
the Swiss Army. This helps prevent the jealousy and hostility that armies
sometimes confront in competing with other government services for their share
of the public resources. The lack of separation between the army, the people,
and the government is one of the unique and valuable characteristics of the
A fourth advantage is that Switzerland does not have a high proportion
of defense dollars going to personnel costs. There are no military retirement
systems (the 800 full-time officers are included in the civil service pension
system), no veterans benefits, no massive payroll of a large standing army.
There is a medical insurance program to take care of injuries or death while
serving on active duty. Consequently, 50 percent of all Swiss defense
appropriations can be directed toward the acquisition of weapons and equipment.
A comparable figure is 30 percent in the Republic of West Germany.
At the age of 19, young men are given physical and mental tests in
preparation for military service. By this age, most young men in Switzerland
have already chosen their career paths and so permitting the Army to channel
them into the proper slots. Some consideration is given to the recruit's
preference and his locale, but the Army makes the final decision according to
its own needs.
At age 20, recruits report for 17 weeks of training. The Swiss do not
operate separate training facilities for recruits and then others for military
specialties. Each training camp handles both the recruit's basic training and
his military specialty. In other words, a young man destined for the medics
reports directly to a medical training company; an infantryman to an infantry
At the end of the training cycle, the recruit, now a member of a militia
unit with which he will stay in most cases for the duration of his obligation,
returns home. He carries with him his rifle, an allotment of ammunition,
uniforms, military pack, and CBR mask. He is responsible for the maintenance of
this equipment and is inspected annually. Once a year he is also required to
qualify with his personal weapon on a rifle range or face an additional three
days of training. Once a year, he will report for three weeks of military
training in a rugged field exercise set up as a problem the type of which his
particular unit would face.
[Photo of a militiaman surrounded by a display of his equipment, and
caption] Equipment (value $2,000.00). Every Swiss militia soldier has the above
equipment ready at his home. (See opposite page for itemized list)
PERSONAL EQUIPMENT FOR MEN
No. Arming and Leathers
1 1 assault-gun with magazine and sling
2 1 cleaning-things for assault-gun
3 1 night-sight
4 1 bayonet with fitting
5 1 knife
6 1 belt
7 1 scabbard for bayonet
8 1 box with pocket-ammunition
9 1 helmet 71
10 1 pass-cup, ord 72
11 1 working-cup, ord 49
12 1 pass-uniform, ord 72
13 1 pass-trousers, ord 72
14 1 working-trousers, ord 49
15 1 coat
16 3 shirts with breast pockets
17 2 jerseys
18 2 black ties
19 1 pass-raincoat
20 1 pass-leather belt
21 1 trousers-belt (elastic)
22 2 pairs of march shoes
23 1 rucksack, mod 58/73
24 2 shoe-bags, grey
25 1 effects-bag, olive
26 1 supplies-bag, white
27 1 effects bag 58
28 1 haversack
29 1 canteen with cup
30 1 mess tin
31 1 spoon and 1 fork
32 1 cleaning things 67
33 1 ABC (atomic/biological/chemical) protective mask with
34 1 bag for ABC-protective mask
35 2 pairs of plugs for hearing protection, in boxes
36 1 service book with identity card
37 1 identification tag
38 3 pairs of epaulettes
The Swiss Army is organized into four Army Corps. Each Army Corps
controls three Divisions. The Field ARmy Corps are composed of two Infantry
Divisions and one Mechanized Division. The Mountain Corps has three Mountain
Divisions. In addition, each Field Army Corps has some separate Border Defense
Brigades and the Mountain Corps, separate Fortress Brigades.
These 12 Divisions plus the Air Defense Command constitute the elite.
Young men aged 20 to 32 serve in these Divisions. Men of the "Landwehr", 33 to
42 years old, are found in the separate Brigades. Those in the "Landsturm", 43
to 50 years old, serve in the Territorial forces. Thus, the duties of the
militiaman are adjusted as his physical capabilities change with age.
These elite field forces with the eight youngest classes of soldiers
plus all Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers are mobilized for
three weeks of training each year. "Landwehr" forces train for two weeks every
two years, and "Landsturm" units for one week every four years.
All officers are chosen from the ranks. A young man chosen to become an
officer while he was a private must attend a one-month non-commissioned
officers school. If he is successful, the soldier is promoted to corporal and,
to pay off his new rank, he must serve as a group leader for a period of 17
weeks immediately following recruit school.
The requisite number of corporals to meet requirements are sent to
officer training schools for four months. After successful completion of this
school, he is promoted to lieutenant. This is followed by service as a platoon
leader with another recruit training unit. After five years in grade, he will
be promoted to first lieutenant.
After two years as a first lieutenant, he is eligible for promotion to
captain. To be promoted to captain, a first lieutenant has to attend a
three-week weapons school, a four-week tactical school and serve as company
commander in a recruit training cycle. As a captain, he will command and
administer a company.
After eight years, a captain can get promoted to major, and then, if he
completes successfully special training, he may become a battalion commander.
Subsequent promotions to lieutenant colonel after seven years as major and to
colonel two years later depends upon individual ability and vacancies. The
highest rank a militia officer may attain is that of brigade commander.
Divisions and Army Corps are commanded by professional officers.
A first lieutenant or captain who desires to become a career officer has
to attend a series of branch schools and then attend a one-year course at the
Military Division of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. To be
eligible for selection as a member of the Corps of Instructors, an officer must
have a civilian profession.
In peace time, the Swiss Army has no supreme commander. The Federal
Council leads the army. The general chief of staff is the "primus inter pares"
of the army staff. In case of war mobilization, the Parliament would select a
four-star general as supreme commander.
Tours of Duty in Schools
(Recruits and Superiors)
Private Corp Lt Cap Major Colonel
1. RS 118 118 118 118 118 118
NCOS 27 27 27 27 27
2. RS 118 118 118 118 118
OS 118 118 118 118
3. RS 118 118 118 118
Tact 27 27 27
Shoot 20 20 20
4. RS 118 118 118
Tact 27 27
Shoot 6 6
5. RS 27 27
Days 118 263 499 664 724 765
RS = Recruit School
NCOS = Noncommissioned Officer School
OS = Officer School
Tact = Tactical School
Shoot = Shooting School/Course
The Swiss Air Force is composed of one Air Force, one Airbase and one
Anti-Aircraft Brigade. All combat aircraft are ready for use and are stored in
rock-covered underground bases containing fuel, ammunition, spare parts and
repair shops. There is an automatic surveillance and guidance system to help
engage the air defense and ground attack armaments.
The number of main weapons in the Swiss Army is as follows:
1,200 armored personnel carriers
900 artillery guns (self-propelled or mobile)
300 artillery tubes in fortresses
2,000 mobile anti-tank guns
300 antitank guns in bunkers
2,000 anti-aircraft guns
3,000 anti-tank guided missile systems
Thousands of grenade launchers and millions of mines are also on hand as
well as 30,000 army-owned special vehicles and 50,000 civilian-owned vehicles
tagged for mobilization. Each owner knows precisely where to bring his vehicle
in case of mobilization.
These and other war supplies are stored in arsenals and underground
facilities all over the country. They are stored by unit. A military unit, for
example, will draw the same equipment from the same arsenal each year for its
annual training exercise so that it becomes familiar with it, with its
location, and can assist civilian maintenance personnel in spotting problems.
The Swiss logistics system is a work of genius and is tailored to the
requirements of a militia army in a neutral country which, if it fights, cannot
count on allies for re-supply or assistance.
Of 17,000 civil servants in the Ministry of Defense, 10,500 are in
logistics. In 1981 the budget was 800 million Swiss francs and it maintains
5,500 buildings and installations, 600 war bases, 170 maintenance facilities,
and more than 100 kilometers of underground facilities.
These underground facilities not only contain stores of ammunition and
other war supplies but also underground repair facilities for tanks, artillery
pieces, electronics equipment and vehicles. The value of the Swiss Army
inventory is 12.8 billion Swiss francs.
The Swiss Army maintains 40 military hospitals, ten of them underground
— completely equipped, spotless and ready. They are used only for training
purposes. When the Swiss purchase a weapons system from abroad, they purchase
enough spare parts for both the life of the system and for war reserves. This
is to insure continuity of use in a war even though Switzerland is cut off from
the original source of supply.
They also practice the principle of commonality so that military, civil
defense, and police equipment are the same. An example of Swiss ingenuity
applied to logistics is the storage of perishable medical supplies for war-time
use. These supplies are obtained from pharmaceutical companies, stored, and
then at the appropriate time, returned to the pharmaceuticals for sale in
exchange for fresh supplies for storage. By arrangement, the Swiss government
would actually pay for the supplies only in the event of their consumption
during a war.
Once mobilized, the Swiss Army would fight as a conventional force.
Swiss military doctrine calls for meeting the aggressor at the borders and
waging total war. This is a departure from earlier doctrine which in World War
II called for abandoning the plateau area for the mountain fortresses.
In the event of mobilization, the 4,000 permanent obstacles and barriers
would be activated and the more than 2,000 demolition devices already built
into key bridges and tunnels would be set off. Industrial machines would be
disabled; water levels in the more than 900 dams lowered; fuel tanks burned.
The Swiss terrain — a hilly plateau region between two mountain
ranges — would necessarily channelize the aggressor's attacks. These
obvious avenues of approach are heavily fortified and would be defended from
built-in positions and by mobile forces of the three Army Corps backed up by
the Air Force. The Swiss plan is to make every inch gained by the enemy a
bloody and costly gain. In the event main units of the Army are destroyed,
Swiss doctrine calls for continued passive and active resistance by means of
This combination of powerful resistance by conventional forces,
continued resistance by guerrillas, and the self-destruction of Switzerland's
industrial, communications, and transportation networks constitutes the
strategy of dissuasion. The message to the potential aggressor is clear: after
a bloody, expensive, time-consuming war, he will have gained nothing of value.
He will be faced with occupation of a hostile area, denuded of economic or
transportation value, and continued resistance by a determined and armed
The armed population is no bluff. Swiss militiamen are not required to
turn in their weapons upon completion of their obligation. It is said that
every Swiss home contains at least three weapons, for not only is there the
militia system, but there is a long tradition of civilian ownership of firearms
and, as pointed out before, rifle and pistol shooting are virtually the
national sports of Switzerland. There are few restrictions on the Swiss
purchase, ownership or carrying, of firearms. An armed occupation force would
indeed be literally faced with the prospect of a Swiss rifleman behind every
THE TERRITORIAL SERVICE
A unique component of the Swiss Army is the Territorial Service. It has
no equivalent in the United STates and so deserves special attention in this
Within the army itself, the Territorial Service operates as logistical
units, but it is much more and is the main link between the army and the
civilian sector. It is composed of those men in the "Landsturm" who are 43 to
50 years of age as well as some younger men assigned to it for Air Raid Rescue
The duties of the Territorial Service can be summarized as follows: (1)
It has the mission of providing warning services to both the Army and the
civilian population in case of danger from air, atomic, biological and chemical
weapons as well as dam bursts; (2) it is responsible for coordinating the
lowering of the water level of hydroelectric reservoirs and for other measures
concerning the electrical supply system; (3) it has the mission of caring for
internees, prisoners of war and refugees; (4) it provides military police to
assist civil authorities when necessary; (5) it is responsible for the military
economy service — to supply all the goods needed by the army from the
civilian sector and to handle the dismantling or destruction of civilian
economic assets that could be used by the enemy; and (6) to protect important
and vital installations.
The Territorial Service is primarily designed for war, but portions of
it can be mobilized in peacetime to assist civilian authorities with
Structurally, the Territorial Service is designed to parallel the Swiss
civil government structure. The basic civilian unit of the Swiss Confederation
is the canton. Some of the larger cantons are divided into districts. Cantons
are grouped together to form Territorial Zones.
At the level of a district (a portion of a canton) there is a District
Civil Staff and a Territorial Regional Staff; the Territorial Service
equivalent of the canton is called a Territorial Circle. Here again, the
military staff works with the civil staff. At the Territorial Zone level
(groups of cantons), there are also parallel civilian and military staffs.
To make this relationship clearer, we might imagine a United States
military service which had a command structure at the level of the Federal
Government, at the level of the Federal Regions, at the state levels, and at
the district levels within the states with the missions of providing domestic
intelligence, security for key installations, control of the economy in time of
war, and assistance to the civilian authorities in handling disasters and civil
disturbances. There is, of course, no such organization in the United States.
The Swiss have not only clearly defined the missions of the Territorial
Service but also the rules under which it operates. For example, the needs of
the army take precedence over the needs of the civil sector. The Territorial
Service can assist the civil sector only on the request of civilian authorities
and, even then, authority and responsibility for civilians remains with the
civil authorities. In other words, in the event of a catastrophe, the
Territorial Service is not authorized to step in and take over operations, but
only to provide assistance to civil authorities under their direction.
On the other hand, in the event of war, the Territorial Service's first
obligation is to the army and under those circumstances it would override, if
necessary, the civil authorities in the event of a conflict of interests. It is
also the Territorial Service which provides the manpower earmarked for use by
Some critics of the Swiss system have expressed the belief that the
possession of nuclear weapons has made the strategy of dissuasion obsolete.
These are, to be sure, those critics who view nuclear war as an offense for
which there is no defense.
The Swiss do not agree. Recalling on of their strategic objectives as
protection of the civilian population, the Swiss government has realistically
assessed that objective in light of nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare.
Their answer was to embark on an extensive civil defense program with the idea
of accomplishing two of their strategic objectives — protection of the
population and maintaining freedom of action. They reason that an extensive and
useable civil defense program will give the Swiss government the means to
withstand nuclear blackmail, thus preserving freedom of action.
Hans Mumenthaler, director of the Federal Office of Civil Defense, put
it this way: "Lack of protection (for the civilian population) means an
impairment of our freedom of decision and lacking freedom of decision is
rightly felt as an unfree condition."
The latest Swiss laws pertaining to civil defense were revised in 1978
and they have made remarkable progress. To date, the Swiss have shelter space
for 85 percent of the population and by 1990 plan to have 100 percent of the
population covered. In many cases, there will be two shelter spaces per person
— one at the place of work and one at home.
Swiss law requires compulsory participation in civil defense for all
males aged 20 to 60 with exemption only for military service. Consequently,
most of the civil defense personnel are over 50. There is presently a mandatory
five-day introductory course and two days of annual training. Swiss officials
believe this is not sufficient and, even though supervisors train more
extensively, they would like to see the training schedule expanded for
The law requires that communities have full responsibility for enforcing
federal and cantonal civil defense regulations. Each family is required to
provide a shelter at home and all new construction, even of commercial
buildings, must provide shelters built to federal specifications. The
confederation subsidizes the construction of public shelters, but not private
Private shelters are required to withstand one atmosphere of
overpressure while public shelters are built to withstand three atmospheres
(one atmosphere equals ten tons per square meter). In other words, the Swiss
opted for blast shelters that are rather simply shelters adequate for
protection against fallout. A shelter built to withstand three atmospheres of
overpressure could theoretically provide protection for people within
nine-tenths of a mile from ground zero with a one-megaton explosion.
Public shelters are equipped with independent water, air filtration,
communications, food, and medical supplies and private citizens are required to
stock food for two week's duration.
The Swiss have spent, since 1970, 5 billion Swiss francs on civil
defense and are currently spending at the rate of 210 million Swiss francs
annually. Mumenthaler says this is a ratio of about $1 for every $8 spent on
defense. He estimates that for the United States to have reached the same level
of protection, would have required the expenditure of $85 billion.
Public support for civil defense is widespread. Mumenthaler explains,
"We are mountain people and we are used to living with danger — but we are
also used to preparing for it."
Several key decisions were made in approaching the problem of civil
defense. One was to discard the idea of evacuation. Not only are warning times
for Switzerland practically nil, but Swiss authorities reasoned the country is
too small for evacuation to be feasible. Evacuees would hinder other military
operations and would likely be no safer. Therefore, the Swiss opted for
"vertical as opposed to horizontal protection." This dictated the construction
of blast-proof shelters.
Another was the adoption of the principle that every inhabitant must
have an equal chance of survival. The Swiss seem to be meticulous about the
principle of equal sharing of both responsibilities and privileges. The first
obligation of every Swiss is to their country.
Because of the proximity to likely opponents, the Swiss have adopted the
strategy of ordering people into the shelters as soon as political or military
tension reaches a critical level. From that point on, only key workers would
leave the shelters until such time as there was an actual attack or the
situation became less tense.
Finally, the Swiss made a basic decision to separate civil defense from
the military operations. The office of civil defense operates under the
Minister of Justice and Federal police. While some 30,000 troops from the
Territorial Service would be made available to civil defense, primarily for
fire-fighting and rescue work, it is not a fighting organization nor does it
replace normal civilian rescue and emergency aid organizations during
peacetime. It can be mobilized for peacetime rescue work, but this is clearly a
Switzerland, a small country with limited resources, has conceptualized,
planned, and implemented a rational security policy which provides maximum
effect with minimum expenditures. The militia system, being both universal and
a part of the constitution, has wide public acceptance. It allows mobilization
of a large army without the draining costs of a large professional army. the
personnel savings have been invested in redoubts, barriers, equipment, storage
facilities, hospitals, and weapons.
To a remarkable degree, the Swiss require private sector participation
in the defense effort. These private contributions are estimated to equal the
annual government expenditures. By integrating their security policy to include
foreign policy, social policy, defense, civil defense and economic measures,
the Swiss have, in effect, oriented their entire public effort toward the end
of security for their nation and their people.
The Swiss General Defense system provides a high dissuasive value and
credibility to this small, neutral country in the heart of Europe. In case of
war Switzerland would not attract the more powerful nations who might consider
Switzerland to be a military vacuum. On the contrary, Switzerland can activate
the densest defense system — on the ground and in the air on short notice
— in Western Europe.
Thanks to Civil Defense as well as intricate economic preparedness,
there is a high degree of survivability even in a modern war of long duration.
The most important factor remains that the overwhelming majority of the Swiss
have a strong will to defend the country against any aggressor. They are
prepared to fight, and will fight whenever and whomever necessary.
| | | -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
| National Defense
CHIEF OF THE DEPARTMENT -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Military Defense
OF DEFENSE Committee
| -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Chief Military
| -- -- -- FEDERAL MILITARY ADMINISTRATION
| | -- -- -- Topographical Service
| | -- -- -- Military Insurance
| | -- -- -- Gymnastics and Sports School
| | -- -- -- Chief Field Commissioner
| -- -- -- ARMAMENT TECHNOLOGY PROCUREMENT
| | -- -- -- Deputy
| | -- -- -- Staff
| | -- -- -- Technological Division
| | -- -- -- Commercial Division
| | -- -- -- Army Works Division
| -- -- -- TRAINING & EDUCATION GROUP
| | -- -- -- Staff
| | -- -- -- Chief of Arms Infantry
| | -- -- -- Chief of Arms Mechanized Troops
| | -- -- -- Chief of Arms Artillery
| | -- -- -- Adjutant General
| -- -- -- GENERAL STAFF SERVICES GROUP
| | -- -- -- Staff
| | -- -- -- Chief Engineers & Fortifications
| | -- -- -- Chief Telecommunications
| | -- -- -- Surgeon General
| | -- -- -- Chief Veterinary
| | -- -- -- Chief Supplies
| | -- -- -- Chief Transports and Repairs
| | -- -- -- Chief Air Protection Troops
| | -- -- -- Chief Ordnance
| -- -- -- AIR AND ANTI-AIRCRAFT COMMAND
| -- -- -- 4 ARMY CORPS
On peace... "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means
of preserving peace."
— George Washington
in his first annual address to Congress on
January 8, 1790
"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest thing. The decayed and
degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a
war is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares about more than his personal
safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free unless made and
kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
— John Stuart Mill