MIL-OSI Translation: “Security Switzerland 2022”: The federal intelligence service publishes its new situation report

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MIL OSI translation. Region: Germany/Germany –

Source: Switzerland – Federal Administration in German

Federal Intelligence Service

Bern, June 27th, 2022 – Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine will have a lasting impact on national and international security policy. The security policy environment in Switzerland continues to be significantly shaped by the growing competition between the major powers. In this context, the anticipation and early detection capabilities of the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) are key. It is important to identify and assess threats and relevant changes in Switzerland’s strategic environment in good time and then take the necessary preventive measures. The FIS’ new “Security Switzerland 2022” situation report presents the most important situation developments from an intelligence perspective.

In February 2022, Russia not only seriously violated international law with its war of aggression against Ukraine, but also destroyed the decades-old European security order. The risk of a direct military conflict between Russia and NATO has increased. Likewise, the war in Ukraine has prompted a rethink in Europe: the EU passed several sanctions packages, particularly in the financial and economic spheres, announced an aid package to stabilize Ukraine financially and economically, provided lethal means to support the Ukrainian armed forces for the first time and granted Refugees quickly provisional protection.

Strengthening the EU’s security and defense policy

With the adoption of the Strategic Compass in March 2021, the EU presented an action plan to strengthen the EU’s security and defense policy. Germany reversed its Russia policy and announced a massive increase in its defense spending. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO. The military threat posed by Russia has again become more urgent for Europe. This leads to a change in mentality in the security policy discourse in Europe. Along with NATO, the EU is likely to emerge from this crisis stronger as a security policy actor, while other institutions of the European security architecture such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe will be weakened.

Strategic rivalry between the US and China

The pandemic has increased strategic competition between the US and China and hardened Europe’s image of China. China’s differing transatlantic threat perceptions have converged; like the USA, the EU and the European NATO allies now give more weight to strategic aspects of China’s rise to a global power.

Despite the current confrontation with Russia, the USA wants to continue to focus on China, which is perceived as the only strategic rival that comes close to being of equal value. However, the containment of Russia and the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank will initially tie up more American funds than planned, even if the European states appear willing to balance the transatlantic burden.

Espionage and cybercrime are a constant threat

Espionage is a permanently present phenomenon – corresponding activities are already at a high level today and continue to increase. International Geneva remains a hotspot for espionage. Various European states have recently expelled Russian intelligence officers, which could prompt the Russian services to deploy their forces to states like Switzerland that have not carried out expulsions.

Cyber activities are always to be expected in conflicts in general and in acts of war in particular. In late February 2022, for example, the USA, Great Britain and the EU attributed cyber attacks on commercial satellite communication networks to Russia. Russian cyber operations against public and private Ukrainian networks have been taking place since January 2022. In mid-April 2022, during the Russian withdrawal from northern Ukraine, hackers – probably belonging to the actor Sandworm, assigned to the Russian military intelligence service GRU – attacked the Ukrainian power supply.

Violent extremism and terrorism still relevant

Societal polarization and fragmentation goes hand in hand with the risk of violent extremism. Violent corona extremism is an example of this. With the end of the pandemic, however, it is likely that this scene will calm down and shrink. However, the FIS assumes that certain individuals or groups who have become radicalized during the pandemic will turn to new issues and continue their violent activities. The violent left-wing and right-wing extremist scenes characterize the threat situation in the area of “violent extremism”.

The terror threat in Switzerland remains elevated. The threat is primarily shaped by the jihadist movement, particularly by individuals inspired by jihadist propaganda. The “Islamic State” and al-Qaeda are the most important exponents of the jihadist movement in Europe and are therefore also decisive for the terrorist threat to Switzerland. However, the threat is becoming increasingly diffuse, since since 2020 it has increasingly come from autonomously acting individuals in Europe who have no direct connection to “Islamic State” or al-Qaeda.

Address for queries

Isabelle GraberHead of Communications FIS 41 58 462 76 98isabelle.graber@ndb.admin.ch

editor

Federal Intelligence Servicehttp://www.ndb.admin.ch

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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