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Previous FSS Security Talks

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13. SSF Security Talk | Re-export of armaments, 20. April 2023


How can Switzerland extricate itself from this self-inflicted dilemma between the right of neutrality and the internationally demanded solidarity with Ukraine? And how can a realistic and long-term understanding of neutrality be found that can be ap-plied not only to the war in Ukraine, but also to other armed threats?

These important questions were the focus of the 13th SSF Security Talk on the topic of "Switzerland in the conflict between international and neutrality law and the re-export of armaments". The event was opened by former National Councillor and SSF board member Roland Borer. He welcomed the almost 100 interested participants, including many young participants/students, and emphasised the great importance of the current topic.

The 13th SSF Security Talk kicked off with two informative input presentations. First, Simon Plüss (Minister, Deputy Head of Bilateral Economic Relations, Head of Arms Control and Arms Control Policy, SECO) gave an insight into the foundations and developments of the Confederation's arms control policy. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Christoph Frei (political scientist and professor of international relations, University of St. Gallen) opened the temporal and geographical horizon with an input on Swiss neutrality in a historical and geopolitical context.

During the subsequent panel discussion with the speakers Roland Borer and Prof. Dr. Christoph Frei as well as National Councillor Mauro Tuena (President SiK-N) and Dr. Stefan Brupbacher (Director, Swissmem), corresponding perspectives for action for Switzerland were discussed and the central challenges for the Swiss arms industry and neutrality were debated. It became apparent that the current understanding of neutrality is an obstacle for the Swiss defence industry and meets with a lack of understanding abroad. Despite agreement on the need for action, it is difficult to find political majorities for an adjustment of Swiss arms control policy.


Find the detailed summary report here.


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12. SSF Security Talk | Defence Policy, 7. November 2022


"We must be prepared for the worst case scenario - that is the defence case" | "It would be a big mistake to ever again underestimate the role of military power in international relations" | "The build-up in the Swiss army has already begun!" |
"The young generation is ready to fight for a better world"

These are some of the key statements made at the 12th SSF Security Talk on the topic of "A turning point for (Swiss) defence policy?" The event was opened by Councillor of States and SPC-S President Werner Salzmann. He welcomed the high-calibre speakers, panel guests and the 110 interested participants, including many young participants/students, and emphasised the great importance of the current topic.

The 12th SSF Security Talks kicked off with three informative input presentations. First, Jörg Vollmer (General (ret.), German Armed Forces) drew a clear and unsparing security policy picture of Europe. Equally exciting was the presentation by Claude-France Arnould (former Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency) who explained the complexity of European security and armament policy and the not always congruent positions of France and Germany. Afterwards, Lt. Gen. Thomas Süssli (Chief of the Armed Forces) spoke. He made clear where the Swiss Armed Forces stand today in terms of equipment, capabilities and number of army personnel and what steps are urgently needed to restore Switzerland's defence capability.

In the panel discussion that followed, Mme Arnould and Mr. Vollmer were joined by Werner Salzmann (President SPC-S), Prof. Dr. Holger Mey (Vice President Advanced Concepts, Airbus Defence and Space) and Hans-Peter Kellerhals (Major General (ret.), deputy editor-in-chief ASMZ), three otherwise recognised security experts. They made it crystal clear what the consequences and the big lessons of the war in Ukraine for Europe and Switzerland are and how long it will take us to regain a credible defence capability.


Find the detailed summary report here


Photo gallery (Photographer: Daniel Saxer)

11. FSS Security Talk | Cyber threats, 17 October 2022

"We know the enemy but we do not know how to fight him and protect ourselves" | "Too little attention is paid to the increasing convergence between IT and OT" | "The Swiss Armed Forces Cyber Command will be fully operational in 2024!" | "Let us think more in terms of opportunities than risks".

These are some of the key statements made at the 11th FSS Security Talk on the topic "Cyber threats - How big is the danger and how can the state, the economy and society protect themselves?". The first part of the event consisted of three informative input presentations by Dr Stefanie Frey (Managing Director, Deutor Cyber Security Solutions GmbH, Advisory Group ENISA), Colonel Robert Flück (Project “Komando Cyber”, Swiss Armed Forces) and Dr Peter Friedli (Head of Defence, AWK Group), who addressed the global, military, and operational challenges in connection with the growing cyber threats. The second part of the event was followed by an exciting panel discussion with the again very renowned experts Florian Schütz (Delegate of the Swiss Confederation for Cyber Security), Dr. Jörg Mäder (National Councillor GLP/ZH, freelance programmer) Alexandra Arni (Head of ICT, Swiss Bankers Association, Vice-President Swiss FS-CSC) and Dr. Urs Loher (CEO Thales Suisse SA), during which the audience also had the opportunity to contribute their questions. The event was moderated by Fredy Müller (Managing Director FSS).

The experts basically agreed that cyber security affects every individual in society and that cooperation across all levels of government is necessary to adequately counter the growing cyber threats. However, the presentations and the subsequent panel discussion also showed that we are still far from understanding the cyber threat in all its facets and taking the necessary measures. It is still an area where a great deal remains to be done and where cross-sector and cross-level exchange is crucial.

The lively discussion between experts and the interested and well-mixed audience (110 participants) continued at the aperitif afterwards.

You will find detailed summary report here

Photo gallery (Photographer: Daniel Saxer)