Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one and part two here. 

The Armed Forces Reconnaissance Detachment 10 (ARD 10) is Switzerland’s only professional Special Forces unit. Despite serving a neutral country, the unit can hold its own compared to many of its European counterparts, such as Germany’s KSK, Denmark’s Jaegerkorps, Holland’s KCT, Norway’s FSK, or France’s 1er RPIMa. The only difference, and maybe the most crucial, is that members of the ARD 10 lack a substantial amount of combat experience compared to their European brothers. This can mainly be attributed to the fact that Switzerland’s politicians still cling to neutrality in the hope that they will remain insulated from the ongoing terrorist atrocities occurring around the globe. As a result, Switzerland is not part of NATO, and with the exception of peace-support operations, refuses to publicly contribute in coalition efforts abroad.

As mentioned in part one of this series, the unit is still in its infancy, barely a decade old, and therefore still struggles for its right to exist among politicians and Swiss nationals. High-ranking officials who believe that such a unit will negatively affect the country’s neutrality have regularly called for the unit to disband altogether. Switzerland’s direct democracy allows its citizens, who refuse to let go of their traditional values and who still live in their ‘neutral’ bubble, to greatly influence the country’s domestic and national defense apparatus.

Consequently, there’s a false sense of security that not only affects the country’s Special Operations community, but also downgrades various security checks and procedures at major sites across the country to worryingly low levels. This becomes evident when visiting the capital city of Bern. Walking up to and into the Swiss parliament building during parliamentary sessions requires nothing more than some sort of official identification.