Army History

Military Of Switzerland

The Swiss Military is responsible for the roles of both the regular army and militia. Professional soldiers make up approximately five per cent of military personnel under the militia system of the country. Male citizens aged between nineteen and thirty-four years (sometimes up to fifty years) are recruited to constitute the rest of the militia. The Military does not participate in conflicts and wars in other countries due to the long history of the country's neutrality. However, they take part in various peacekeeping missions all over the world.

The militia system of Switzerland specifies that all soldiers have to keep their personal equipments, including the personally assigned weapons, with themselves at home. Compulsory military service includes all male citizens of the country while the women can serve voluntarily. The male citizens generally receive the initial orders for military recruitment eligibility screening when they are 18 years old. Around two-thirds of male citizens are proved to suitable for military services while the rest of the Swiss men found unsuitable for military duties take part in various alternative services. Every year, approximately 20,000 individuals receive basic training which continues for eighteen to twenty-one weeks.

Military Of Switzerland Picture Since 1989, several attempts have been made for curbing the military activity in Switzerland and even for abolishing the armed forces completely. On 26th November 1989, a referendum was held on this subject. Although defeated, a significant number of people voted in favor of reducing the Swiss military activity. However, another similar memorandum which was called for before the 9/11 attacks on US in 2001 but was held after the incident was defeated by more than seventy-seven per cent of voters.

In the year 2003, people voted for the adoption of reform "Army XXI". This new system replaced the earlier model "Army 95"; as a result, the manpower was reduced to 200,000 from 400,000 personnel. Among the 200,000, 120,000 personnel had periodic military training while the 80,000 reservists had completed their military training requirements.


Swiss armed forces comprise of 134,886 personnel on active duty. They are called "Angehöriger der Armee" in Switzerland. Four thousand two hundred and thirty of the total numbers of soldiers are professionals while the rest of them are conscripts or volunteers. The military contained 1,050 female soldiers, for whom armed service is voluntary; they make up less than one per cent of the total and twenty-five per cent of career soldiers. The women have the same duties and rights like their male colleagues, once they decide to serve the military. They are allowed to join any service they want, including the combat units. Generally, the native language of the recruits is used for instructing them. However, German is used for the Romansh-speaking recruits.

Unlike many other comparable armies, the officer candidates are generally not career regulars. A certain number of recruits are provided the option of cadre function after 7 weeks of basic army training. The training for the officer candidates are arranged separately from the NCOs training. However, the NCOs may become officers later on. Currently, Swiss Armed Forces have 17,506 officers while there are 22,650 NCOs.