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Defence ministry announces drastic cutbacks

The airforce base of Dübendorf is likely to be closed down. Keystone

The Swiss defence ministry says it plans to close 25 military sites, including four airbases.

This content was published on December 6, 2004 - 11:31

The cuts are part of a series of planned measures to drastically reduce spending and axe hundreds of jobs within six years.

Under the proposal, presented by the defence minister, Samuel Schmid, and the army chief, Christophe Keckeis, on Monday, 1,800 jobs in the logistics sector of the armed forces will be axed by 2010.

About 400 jobs are likely to go before the end of next year.

Twenty-five logistics sites, including four air force bases and a recruiting centre, will be closed or scaled down by the end of this decade.

Keckeis said the cuts were difficult but inevitable.

Air bases

The defence ministry only wants to keep the military base at Emmen, near Lucerne as well as an additional site at Buochs in central Switzerland.

However, the local authorities at the four other airbases threatened by closure have pledged to fight the move.

The ministry also wants to cut the number of recruiting centres from seven to six and to reduce the number of military training centres by at least five.

Drastic cutbacks are scheduled for the number of army camps and shooting ranges.

The ministry said it expected to make annual savings of SFr240 million ($212 million) by 2010.

The proposals now go to the authorities in those cantons affected by the planned cuts.

A final decision by the government is likely in 2006.

The planned cuts follow a major overhaul of the country’s militia army approved in a nationwide vote last year.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The defence ministry wants to cut more than 210 jobs by closing four Swiss airforce bases by 2010.
460 jobs will be axed at arsenals across the country.
The planned cuts affect 1,800 jobs at the logistics division of the armed forces, including shooting ranges and military camps.

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