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Ogi reviews security revamp proposals

The Swiss defence minister, Adolf Ogi, is today due to receive proposals drawn up by the former state secretary, Edouard Brunner (both pictured) on reforming the intelligence services.

This content was published on February 15, 2000 - 07:11

The Swiss defence minister, Adolf Ogi, is today due to receive proposals drawn up by the former state secretary, Edouard Brunner (both pictured) on reforming the intelligence services.

They are part of a wide-ranging revamp of Switzerland's security policy that will result in more army cutbacks, a smaller civil defence organisation, and new patterns of doing national service.

Both the security policy review and the intelligence service proposals are the work of commissions led by former state secretary, Brunner.

The intelligence service report is considered to be a damage-limitation exercise in the wake of the Bellasi case, which involves an intelligence service bookkeeper who allegedly embezzled SFr8 million in defence ministry funds.

The broad outlines of the report have been known for some time. The various military and civilian intelligence units are to be amalgamated into a strategic intelligence service that reports directly to the defence minister, and through a new co-ordinator, to the cabinet.

The service will lose its military flavour, because military threats are reckoned to be declining, while other aspects such as terrorism, organised crime, money laundering, and immigration problems are taking over.

The Brunner proposals is expected to call for a more professional intelligence service, although Brunner has said the present units have done their job properly, and despite the Bellasi case, did not jeopardise their reputation with colleagues abroad.

However, the far-reaching security policy reforms envisaged by the Brunner commission have not gone down well in a considerable part of the officer corps.

Twenty years ago, there was a dictum that Switzerland does not have an army - it is an army. Reversing such a perception will be a long-term process-of which the Brunner report is but the first step.

By Peter Haller

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