The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS)

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) is responsible for the security of the country and its population. The department has been headed by Viola Amherd since the beginning of 2019.

Head of DDPS Viola Amherd

Federal Councillor Viola Amherd

Viola Amherd was born in 1962 and grew up in Brig-Glis. She attended baccalaureate school in Brig before studying law at the University of Fribourg. In 1991 she passed the bar exam to practise law in the canton of Valais and had her own law practice in Brig-Glis. Viola Amherd is not married.

Viola Amherd began her political career in 1992 as a member of Brig-Glis town council. She was mayor of Brig between 2000 and 2012. In 2005 she was elected to the National Council. She was vice president of the CVP parliamentary group from 2011 to the moment she was elected to the Federal Council.

Viola Amherd has also sat on the boards of various companies and been active in clubs and associations.

Election to the Federal Council

The United Federal Assembly elected Viola Amherd to the Federal Council on 5 December 2018. She has been head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport DDPS since January 2019. 

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS)

A lot of people associate the DDPS just with the armed forces. However, the department also performs many important civilian tasks. The DDPS includes the areas of civil protection, the Federal Intelligence Service, as well as the Federal Office of Topography swisstopo, and armasuisse, the federal government's competence centre for the procurement of complex technology. Promoting popular and elite sport is also among the broad range of tasks covered by the DDPS.  

DDPS facts and figures

Staff (full-time positions /2021): 12,128

Expenses 2021: CHF 8.24 billion


The President of the Confederation Viola Amherd

This year Viola Amherd is not only the head of DDPS, her government department, but also president of the Swiss Confederation. The office is largely ceremonial. The president is ‘Primus inter pares’ or first among equals.  

Federal Presidency  


Last modification 29.04.2024

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