Basic question - there are (were) three purposes for the military at the time of the Peace of Westphalia (tell me if I'm wrong).. Internal defense (crime, rebellion), conquest, defense.

Swiss neutrality has become a little muddled, but is this due to primarily an understanding that crime/rebellion is less a national, more a transnational issue.

Specifically (this is the main question), with regards to military/police cooperation between nation states, does conquest or defense against nation states feature?

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    I'm not entirely sure how to parse the last sentence. Could you please make it clearer? – Peter Dec 17 '17 at 17:11
  • If the idea that initially, states had three legal purposes for a military complex, does Switzerland, currently (or more broadly any neutral nation), cooperate externally with respect to either aggression (implausible imo), or defense against state actions? In other words, is international cooperation solely for the purposes of controlling rebellion? – Ilya Grushevskiy Dec 17 '17 at 17:21
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    I'm not familiar with that claim regarding the Peace of Westphalia. Where did you hear/read it? – indigochild Dec 17 '17 at 23:11
  • @indigochild: It's the treaty that brought religious peace in the Holy Roman Empire. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia – Denis de Bernardy Dec 18 '17 at 8:53
  • @Denis de Bernardy I am very familiar with the Peace of Westphalia. I think it has been discussed in every IR class ever offered. I just haven't heard that specific claim. – indigochild Dec 18 '17 at 12:58

Swiss military officially does not participate in active combat missions on foreign soil. See below. Emphasis in bold added by myself. Deciding if any of the logistic support below is to be rated as supporting conquest, defense, or controlling rebellion is left to the reader as it may be interpreted differently by different people.

The hour of birth of Swiss military peace support was in 1953 when the Federal Council sent 146 armed military personnel to Korea to participate in the two commissions Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission in Korea) and NNSC (Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Korea). The NNRC interrupted its work again by the end of February 1954 as it had accomplished its mission of conducting and completing the exchange of prisoners. The NNSC still exists today, however with a different mandate, and is supported by the Swiss Armed Forces with five officers in Panmunjeom.

Unarmed Swiss military observers have been deployed since 1990. There are currently 29 Swiss officers as military observers, liaison officers and military advisers (these three functions being summarised under the term ‘UN Military Expert on Mission’) as well as staff officers involved in peace support operations in the following countries: 14 in the Middle East (UNTSO), 4 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), 2 in South Sudan (UNMISS), 4 in Mali (MINUSMA), 3 in Kashmir (UNMOGIP) and 2 in Western-Sahara (MINURSO). As extended arm of the UN Security Council on location they make an important contribution to peace in these areas of conflict.

Furthermore, the Swiss Armed Forces have been participating in the KOSOVO peace mission KFOR since 1999 on the basis of UN Resolution 1244 and the decision of the Federal Council of 23 June 1999. This mandate was limited by parliament to terminate by the end of 2020. SWISSCOY is composed of up to 235 volunteers who are armed for self-protection and includes the following elements: support company (national logistic tasks and bi-national services), four LMT (liaison and monitoring teams), one transport platoon (multinational), one engineer platoon (general construction projects of KFOR), military police (multi- and national) as well as one EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team. In addition, KFOR has at its disposal an air transport detachment with two helicopters, one serving as a technical reserve.

Since the end of November 2004, Switzerland has been participating in the EUFOR ALTHEA mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 16 officers and non-commissioned officers currently form two what are known as liaison and observation teams (LOT) in Mostar and Trebinje. In addition four staff officers are working at the LOT Coordination Center (LCC) and at EUFOR headquarters in camp Butmir in Sarajevo. In June 2011, Switzerland expanded its support of EUFOR to include a Mobile Training Team (MTT). Within this multinational team of experts, six specialists for small weapons, ammunition and languages are instructing the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina in ammunition and weapons storage management. In every case, they are on location for temporally limited, specific training sequences.

With regard to humanitarian demining Swiss nationals are working in various functions in Southern-Sudan (2), DR Congo (4), Western-Sahara (2), Mali (1) and in Tunisia (1). As logistical or technical consultants for instance or as IMSMA specialist.

New York is the base for three Swiss as a portfolio support officer in UNOPS (UN Office for Project Services), as a legal advisor in UNOPS and as a programme officer in UNMAS (UN Mine Action Service). In addition, the Swiss Armed Forces are supporting the headquarters in Vienna of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with two officers.

Other officers are working in the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Ghana (4) and in the im International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Kenya (2).


In addition, Switzerland is not part of any defensive pact or military alliance, but there is the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP):

The PfP provides Switzerland with an institutional framework for dialogue on security policy issues with other countries within its strategic sphere. This is important given that Switzerland is one of the few countries between the Atlantic and Ukraine that belongs neither to the European Union (EU), which has its own common security and defence policy, nor to NATO.

The PfP gives Switzerland access to other NATO partnerships with countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It can therefore forge ties to important foreign and security policy regions.

The PfP helps prepare Switzerland’s armed forces for their participation in peace-keeping missions abroad under the command of NATO, the EU or the United Nations (UN).

Switzerland offers its partner countries regular training courses and seminars, and takes part in technical support projects. This enables it to intensify its bilateral relations as well.


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    Can you try to summarize your sources instead of using those long quotes? – indigochild Dec 17 '17 at 23:10

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