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Operational Studies & Training

Operational Studies and Training (OST) is headed by the Chief of Staff of Operational Studies and Training. Its main task is to train Armed Forces personnel to manage crises and conflicts in cooperation with partners from the Swiss Security Network (SSN).


OST’s methodology is based on the iterative process between Military Strategic Staff and the Joint Operations Command. It develops options for military action in line with government policy, acting as a kind of interface to ensure implementation from strategy to tactics.


Tasks of the OST Chief of Staff

The Chief of the Armed Forces has entrusted the OST Chief of Staff with ten tasks. They include:

  1. first and foremost managing the training of military-strategic and operational command levels in implementation of the Armed Forces’ training schedule and collectively training senior staff officers;
  2. secondly;
  • conceptualising possible future threats and dangers
  • a level-appropriate review of operational planning and military doctrine
  • supporting the Chief of the Armed Forces in dialogue on security policy with respect to the development of military capabilities, and
  • acting as an interface to civilian partners and management organisations within the SSN.

The OST Chief of Staff performs his tasks as an independent thinker whose critical perspective is free from the constraints of administrative pressure. For this purpose he has direct access to and is in regular contact with the Chief of the Armed Forces.

Lasting fundamental questions regarding security policy


What are our national interests?

What course for Switzerland?

  • What are our security interests?
  • What is the strategic environment?
  • What threats and dangers do we face?
  • What strategy should we pursue and what strategic option do we have?
  • What instruments are available for our optimum security?

The pioneer of Swiss security policy, Major General Gustav Däniker, who was OST Chief of Staff from 1980 to 1988, raised fundamental security policy questions back in the nineteen-nineties. These questions are still being debated today.

Notifications / Reports


SWISSINT | Switzerland hosts UN workshop
UN TPP workshop in Switzerland.

The Swiss Armed Forces’ SWISSINT Training Centre is a UN certified training site. This allows Switzerland to host UN courses at SWISSINT’s military training area. One such course took place in May 2023 as part of a UN programme in which Switzerland has been involved since 2016. It was organised by Switzerland’s project officer.


NCOS | NCO intermediate Leadership Course 1_2023 in Switzerland/ Neuchlen

This is a leadership course that is different than the one you would get in your own country


NCOS | NCO Advanced Leadership Course 1_2023 in Switzerland/ Kriens

a perfect time at the Advanced Leadership Course in Switzerland


Operational Studies and Training

Military Strategic Training prepares the Chief of the Armed Forces' military-strategic staff for potential military operations. The focus is on interaction between all levels of the Federal Administration (strategic command level) and the Armed Forces Command, as well as between the Armed Forces Command and the Joint Operations Command (operational command level). Training sequences and staff exercises are practised for military-strategic training purposes. 

Operational Studies & Training trains the Joint Operations Command in planning and commanding Armed Forces’ operations. In operational training exercises, selected topics of military doctrine are worked through, and doctrinal findings are discussed in follow-up exercises.

The focus lies on coordination between the military-strategic and operational level, as well as between the operational level and the ground and air task forces, the territorial divisions and civilian partners.


The Foundations and Scenario Development section devises modern, plausible and challenging scenarios for military-strategic and operational training exercises. The scenarios are not just about military threats, but also about multi-dimensional challenges, threats and dangers and their collective impact on Switzerland. The section also conceptualises potential future threats and is responsible for internal knowledge management.


The OST Chief of Staff plans and manages senior staff officer training with the following objectives:

  • the Chief of the Armed Forces personally informs all senior staff officers at regular intervals about latest developments and priorities
  • senior staff officers can play an active role in developing and implementing the 2030 Vision and Strategy of the Swiss Armed Forces / Defence Group
  • senior staff officers’ training requirements and those of their direct subordinates are met, and
  • training is assured at strategic, military-strategic and operational level.

The Chief of the Armed Forces has tasked the Senior Staff Officer Training project manager with organising:

  • operational seminars as well as seminars, conferences and workshops for senior staff officers
  • strategic and operational training sequences in Switzerland and abroad for senior staff officers.

These activities focus on topical issues related to security policy, Armed Forces development and military missions. Specific operational decision-making exercises have been designed to further develop senior staff officers’ operational thinking.  


Operational approach

Definition of operation

Operations are actions carried out by armed forces. The following principles are crucial to understanding the term:

  • operations specify overall military-strategic options in the form of military actions
  • they focus on a common goal
  • they proceed according to a uniform purpose, and
  • in the course of action they combine the effects necessary for achieving the objective over time and in all theatres of operation.

The objectives of the operational approach are to achieve a favourable numerical balance of forces for the chosen type of combat, ensure the high standard of the forces deployed, and create favourable conditions in terms of time, space and environment, based on the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available.

Achieving these objectives allows for a successful deployment of forces at the tactical level, i.e. in direct combat with enemy forces.

However, today’s conflicts are no longer fought only in physical operational domains, i.e. on the ground, in the air, in space, at sea. The cyber, electromagnetic and information domains are becoming increasingly important too: here, an adversary may act openly or covertly long before they act in a conventional, physical space, if indeed they run the risk of engaging in open conflict at all.

Comprehensive approach

Comprehensive approach

Modern crises are complex and demand coordinated action from all security policy actors. Training in cooperation with civilian partners within the framework of the Swiss Security Network (SSN) and cross-border cooperation are therefore becoming increasingly important. The Operational Studies & Training section works with various civilian partners and actors both inside and outside the Federal Administration.

The OST section is supported by conscript staff, who contribute their broad civilian knowledge and skills to staff courses and who play a major role in shaping projects.




Stab Operative Schulung

Chief of Operational Studies & Training

Operational Studies and Training Rodtmattstrasse 110
3003 Berne


Chief Foundations and Scenario development
lic. phil. I Stefan Räber
+41 (0)58 464 70 40