The National Council has given its approval to the military budget of 24 billion francs for the years 2020 to 2024. Army expenditure will thus increase by 1.4% per year, allowing in particular the renewal of equipment and the strengthening of cyber defense. .
The army will be able to spend approximately 24 billion for the years 2020 to 2024. After several hours of debate, the National approved, without modification, all the expenses. Only the left opposed it, believing that the army should respond to real threats.
The threats have diversified and are constantly evolving. It is important to prioritize the security of the country and to continue the modernization of the army, explained Thomas Rechsteiner (PDC / AI) on behalf of the Committee on Security Policy. To do this, it needs financial means.
The pink-green camp tried to refer all the projects to the Federal Council. In the opinion of Marionna Schlatter (Verts / ZH), the risks have changed and investments must be adapted to the evolution of the threat.
The Federal Council must draw the consequences of the army’s commitment during the coronavirus crisis. The project should also focus on cyber risks, the fight against terrorism and the management of natural disasters. The request was rejected by 121 votes to 63.
21 billion for 4 years
The deputies also refused to return to the government the federal decree on the army expenditure ceiling for the years 2021-2024. All the proposals to reduce the envelope of 21.2 billion were swept away. Reductions would be irresponsible, said Ida Glanzmann (PDC / LU).
The left has denounced a discrepancy between the risks and the message. The targets do not correspond to real threats, such as climate change. Investments are not taking place in the right place, criticized Fabien Fivaz (Verts / NE).
An armed attack near Switzerland is unlikely, attacked Priska Seiler-Graf (PS / ZH), revisiting the Federal Council’s security report. The Zurich native would also have wanted the financial consequences of the coronavirus on the federal budget to be assessed. New threats do not replace old ones, but complement them, countered Jacqueline de Quattro (PLR / VD).
The army’s annual budget will increase by 1.4%. This will allow the renewal of several systems, such as the combat aircraft fleet and the surface-to-air defense system. Ground troops will be modernized and cyber defense strengthened. Investments of nearly 15 billion will be needed over the next ten years.
Approved 2020 credits
For the year 2020, the government is asking for 2.7 billion. All attempts by the left to reduce either envelope have been pushed back to almost two to one. Defense Minister Viola Amherd recalled that the army must be ready to face various threats. No area should be forgotten.
The appropriations for the material of the army represent 837 million. Some 440 million will be invested to buy personal equipment and material to be renewed in 2020. Training ammunition and their management represent 172 million. The rest will be spent on purchasing preparations.
The envelope for the armaments program amounts to 1.354 billion. Improving driving capacity is crucial, especially through investments in crisis-resistant telecommunications, explained Rocco Cattaneo (PLR / TI) on behalf of the Security Policy Commission.
The Florako airspace surveillance control systems, introduced in 2004, will be replaced for an amount of 155 million. The 30-year-old disaster relief equipment and materials will be renewed and brought up to current standards for 116 million.
The use of the tanks of grenadiers 2000 will be extended until 2040 for 438 million. For Pierre-Alain Fridez (PS / JU), this is not a priority. A traditional war with armored vehicles is no longer imaginable. Forty-five million are planned for the upgrade of the PC-21 aircraft and their simulators.
In terms of real estate, the People’s Chamber supported the investments proposed on the sites of Chamblon (29 million), Frauenfeld (86) and Dübendorf (68). A total investment of 489 million francs is planned. This envelope will make it possible to continue the realization of the concept of parking the army and, ultimately, lead to a reduction in the army’s housing stock.
In addition, the Rapier mobile DCA system, acquired over 30 years ago, will be decommissioned. Its elimination will cost 13 million financed by the regular budget of the army. In return, 5.5 million could be saved in annual operating costs.