With anti-austerity protests across Europe resulting in civil unrest on the streets of Athens and Madrid, the European country famed for its neutrality is taking unusual precautions.
Switzerland launched the military exercise "Stabilo Due" in September to respond to the current instability in Europe and to test the speed at which its army can be dispatched. The country is not a member of the union or among the 17 countries that share the euro.
Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag reported recently that the exercise centered around a risk map created in 2010, where army staff detailed the threat of internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees from,
The Swiss defense ministry told CNBC that it does not rule out having to deploy troops in the coming years.
Some 2,000 troops were part of the drill exercise in eight different towns across the country. Infantry soldiers were used as well as the Air Force and special forces personnel in an assignment that took years to organize.
Quoted in a Schweizer Soldat magazine, Defense Minister Ueli Maurer warned of an escalation of violence in Europe.
According to the minister, under pressure to
save, some European countries
didn't renew their armies as they could no longer afford the
upkeep of modern systems.
Snipers, commandos, frogmen, and helicopters were also present as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the country and thousands of protesters streamed into Syntagma square.
A Reason to Exist?
The military is a hot topic in Switzerland, which has mandatory military service.
Under Swiss law, all able-bodied men at age 19
have to undergo five months of training, followed by refresher courses of
several weeks over the next decade.
Josef Lang, the vice president of the Swiss Green Party and leader of the country's pacifist movement, told CNBC that the defense ministry was using the euro zone crisis for political purposes ahead of this key vote.
Lang added that he didn't believe the streets of Switzerland would see the unrest that has been seen in Spain or Greece.
GSOA, a group working to reduce the military activities of Switzerland, had similar thoughts.
One former soldier in the Swiss army told CNBC that his superiors would often ask him to use ammunition liberally in training scenarios.