Modernizing the Swiss Armed Forces in the face of today’s threats

Modernizing the Swiss Armed Forces in the face of today's threats

The Swiss army strengthens its defense with an increased budget. Analysis of the increase in military spending and the impact of the war in Ukraine.

Modernizing the Swiss army

Switzerland, renowned for its enduring political neutrality, is strengthening its military capabilities in response to an increasingly tense geopolitical context in Europe. Historically neutral, the country maintains a substantial militia made up of men of fighting age, capable of mobilizing quickly. These reservists, often equipped at home with an assault rifle and a uniform, regularly train on military bases to handle heavy equipment such as tanks and artillery. In peacetime, a small portion of active personnel ensure the operation and maintenance of Swiss Air Force equipment and other crucial infrastructure.

Impact of the war in Ukraine on Swiss military policy

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened tensions in Europe, prompting Switzerland to reassess its military posture. The situation marks the first major confrontation in Europe since 1945, and Switzerland considers the current threat to be the most significant since the end of the Second World War. In response, the country is planning a 19% increase in military spending over the next four years, representing an additional €26.76 billion between 2025 and 2029, a 10% rise on spending over the previous four years.

Modernizing the Swiss Armed Forces in the face of today's threats

Strengthening defensive capabilities

The additional funds will be allocated to modernizing radar warning systems and air defense missile systems, acquiring more tanks and short-range missiles, and stepping up efforts to protect the economy and the military against cyber attacks. These investments are intended to make up for the shortfalls caused by post-Cold War defense budget cuts, when Europe benefited from a “peace dividend”, reducing its armed forces and investment in equipment and training.

Economic and financial implications

To finance this increased spending, Switzerland reduced the budgets of certain non-military sectors by 1.4%. This choice reflects the priority given to defense in one of the world’s richest countries, where per capita income is extremely high. Switzerland considers this substantial investment necessary to maintain its policy of active neutrality, armed and ready for any eventuality.

These developments testify to Switzerland’s responsiveness in the face of growing global threats, underlining the evolution of Swiss neutrality from a passive posture to proactive military preparedness. By strengthening its armed forces, Switzerland is ensuring that it can maintain its security and stability in an uncertain European landscape.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.