Federal Intelligence Service

The Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) is a Swiss security policy instrument with a mission that is clearly defined in legal terms. Its core tasks are prevention and situation assessment for the political leaders.

Domestically, the FIS is concerned with early perception and prevention of terrorism, violent extremism, espionage, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery system technology as well as cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. Internationally, the FIS obtains information relevant to security policy from abroad and evaluates it. In this way it contributes decisively towards comprehensive assessment of the threat situation. At the federal level the FIS primarily provides products for the Federal Council, the departments and the military command. The FIS also helps the cantons maintain inner security and supports the federal law enforcement authorities. The preventive activity of the FIS must be clearly distinguished from the repressive role of the law enforcement authorities. The FIS is not a law enforcement authority. Its core tasks are prevention and situation assessment on behalf of the political leaders. 

The legal foundations

On 25 September 2016, the Swiss electorate voted in favour of the new Intelligence Service Act, which came into force on 1 September 2017, together with the Ordinance on the Federal  Intelligence Service (FISO), the Ordinance on the FIS Information and Storage Systems (ISSO-FIS), and the Ordinance on the Supervision of Intelligence Activities (OSIA). The Act reformulates the Federal Intelligence Service’s responsibilities for providing a comprehensive situation assessment. It also allows for the protection of national interests of strategic importance, such as critical infrastructure and the Swiss financial and industrial sectors.

The FISO safeguards the individual freedom of Swiss citizens. The state must exercise the utmost restraint with regard to any intrusion on personal privacy. The new information gathering resources introduced by the FISO are to be used only after prior approval by the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Council Security Committee and the Head of the DDPS. In addition, the FIS will be subject to much stricter supervision.

Supervision and control

All FIS activities are subject to continuous checks. The FIS is supervised by an independent supervisory authority, the Federal Council, Parliament and the Federal Administration.

Personnel from many professions

The FIS, although small in size, is an effective and efficient unit whose employees come from a variety of professions and work under the regular employment legislation governing the personnel of the Swiss Confederation. They require a sound education, an interest in national and international matters and foreign cultures, a good knowledge of languages and must be prepared to travel. Under the ISA and the Ordinance on Personnel Security Screening, all FIS personnel must undergo security screening according to the sensitivity level of their job.

UND-Label, Family & Profession

In order to increase the diversity among its staff and be a more attractive employer, the FIS places strong emphasis on the reconciliation of family and working life. This commitment has been recognised and the FIS is certified as a particularly family-friendly authority.

News

Documents

Situation report

Prophylax

Intelligence Service

Videos

«Targeted» –Economic espionage in Switzerland