Security Policy

Swiss and international security policy have grown more complex in recent years. A major reason for this is the changed threat situation that emerged after the end of the Cold War, particularly in the early 1990s. The risk of armed conflict between states has diminished, while new and different risks have come to the fore. In its security policy, Switzerland focuses on cooperation with international organisations, such as the EU or NATO, as well as on disarmament and non-proliferation.

Two members of a UN armed contingent with their weapons stand next to smiling children at a demonstration of local people in Haiti
Switzerland invests in particular in conflict resolution, the fight against crime, and disarmament in collaboration with international organisations. © UNPhoto Sophia Paris

Switzerland contributes to global security through its cooperation with international organisations and engagement in security policy partnerships. It attaches particular importance to respect for international law. A commitment to disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as to conventional arms control is another main focus of Swiss security and foreign policy.

Security risks have changed over the past 25 years. International security is no longer threatened by wars between two states, but rather by terrorism, attacks in cyberspace, crime, the illegal arms trade, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the abuse of new technologies or by risks stemming from an uneven distribution of wealth. All these threat scenarios are transnational in nature.

The most significant events that have brought about the changed threat situation are the end of the Cold War, the higher level of global interconnectedness and economic integration.

Last update 06.12.2023

  • Changed threat situation due to globalisation and economic integration; broad focus of Swiss security policy; cooperation with the EU, NATO, the OSCE and the UN

  • Growing security risks include transnational threats rather than wars with armed forces; the misuse of cyberspace, terrorism, the arms trade, weapons of mass destruction, greater disparity between rich and poor, migration and dependence on fossil fuels

  • Lasting security at the lowest possible level of armaments as the basic principle of Swiss security and foreign policy

  • Switzerland controls the import, export, transit and brokerage of goods. It implements international rules designed to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the stockpiling of conventional weapons, and which serve to implement sanctions.

  • Private security services have expanded significantly over a number of years. Growing awareness of the risks posed by these types of services have prompted policymakers to take initiatives to regulate this sector more effectively.

  • The Act is applicable to legal persons, natural persons and business associations that provide, from Switzerland, private security services abroad.


International Security Division

Effingerstrasse 27
3003 Bern

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