Representatives of the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security on Monday met with a Homeland Defense Delegation from the nation of Switzerland. The eight-member delegation was headed by Ambassador Philippe Welti, a high-ranking official in the Federal Department of Defense and Civil Protection. Ambassador Welti is the Deputy Secretary General and Head of Security and Defense Policy, and has been tasked with overseeing homeland defense issues in Switzerland. Other members of the delegation included Mr. Karl Widmer, the Deputy Director for the Federal Office of Civil Protection, Dr. Bernhard Brunner, the Director of Laboratory Spiez, and Dr. Marco Brossi, the Chief of the Swiss National Emergency Operations Center. The delegation’s primary purpose has been to learn more about the U.S. approach to homeland defense, while furthering U.S. – Swiss cooperation on homeland defense and bioterrorism issues.
Representatives from the Institute greeting the delegation included Col. Randy Larsen the ANSER Institute’s Director, Dr. Peter Roman, a senior fellow at the Institute, and Mr. Alan Capps, the Editor-in-Chief for the Homeland Security Journal. Colonel Larsen used the majority of his time to both describe some of the government’s homeland security decisions to date. Institute representatives stressed that future attacks on the American homeland may very well have lasting economic consequences in addition to physical casualties. The Institute also reviewed the growing implications of the cyber threat to homeland security, noting how borders in cyberspace are meaningless and attribution has become exceptionally challenging.
Colonel Larsen and other members of the Institute also took questions from the delegation. Swiss delegates were interested in the discussion revolving around national identity cards, and noted that Switzerland had used national ID cards as long as anyone in the group could remember. Switzerland has a fairly sophisticated system of homeland security that may provide insights for the U.S. and other nations.
(The Institute welcomes the opportunity to speak with representatives of foreign governments and international delegations. Parties interested in participating in the Institute’s outreach efforts are encouraged to send queries here