Federal Council in favour of participating in US State Partnership Program

Bern, 15.03.2024 - The Federal Council wants Switzerland to participate in the State Partnership Program of the National Guard of the United States of America. This was decided at its meeting on 15 March. Participating in the programme will offer the Swiss Armed Forces the opportunity to further expand international cooperation and enhance its own defence capabilities.

The US National Guard's State Partnership Program (SPP), which has existed since the 1990s, serves to institutionalise training cooperation with foreign armed forces. The aim is to strengthen ties and enhance expertise and capabilities on both sides through regular exchanges. Today, 100 countries, 25 of which are in Europe, are members of this partnership programme.

The Federal Council’s decision triggers the accession process. If the US authorities decide in favour of Switzerland joining the programme, effective participation would begin in 2025 at the earliest.

Strengthening defence capabilities and enhancing cooperation

International cooperation is particularly important with regard to strengthening the defence capabilities of the Swiss Armed Forces. Training exercises with international partners foster the exchange of knowledge and experience, and provide the Armed Forces with opportunities for comparing and reviewing their own capabilities and processes.

Cooperation with the US National Guard would support the Armed Forces in expanding interoperability. For example, operational procedures that have been tried and tested by the US National Guard could be incorporated into the Armed Forces’ exercises and training, or joint specialist training could be offered in areas such as mountain rescue or NBC defence without entering into any obligations, dependencies or constraints that would be incompatible with neutrality.

Cooperation with the US

A military training cooperation agreement has existed between Switzerland and the US for a number of years. Participation in the SPP is an expansion of these good relations and will contribute to strengthening the defence capabilities of the Armed Forces.

The US National Guard and the Swiss Armed Forces have many common features in terms of structure, range of tasks and resources. The fact that they both have a similar militia system provides an ideal basis for cooperation. The content of the programme and the scope of cooperation are largely determined by the country that wishes to join the partnership, i.e. Switzerland.

Address for enquiries

DDPS Communications
+41 58 464 50 58


The Federal Council

General Secretariat DDPS