The Contribution of (Military) Psychology to the Operational Readiness of the Swiss Armed Forces

Please note the later start time

Sandwiches served from 13.00. Please not the later start time.

The current war in Ukraine impressively demonstrates the significant role played by human factors such as morale, flexibility, resilience, and leadership. Given this, the Swiss Armed Forces, which have no direct experience of warlike operations, must ask themselves what needs to be done to establish a solid basis in these areas. Military psychology plays a vital role in ensuring that military personnel is mentally and emotionally prepared for the demands and stress of combat operations. This is achieved through various interventions, including psychological assessments, resilience-building programs, and leadership training. The presentation will highlight concrete approaches as well as their scientific evaluation. Furthermore, the specific challenges of implementing scientific findings in an explicitly practice-oriented setting will be discussed.

Hubert Annen is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at CCW. He is the head of Military Psychology and Pedagogy Studies at Military Academy/ETH Zurich and the head of the Swiss Army assessment centers for prospective Defense Attachés, General Staff Officers, and Professional Officers and NCOs respectively. Parallel to his professional career, he is also still active as a reserve officer in the Swiss Armed Forces with the rank of colonel. From 2016 to 2022 Hubert Annen served as the chair of the management board of the International Military Testing Association (IMTA).

His research interests include the evaluation and validation of assessment and selection procedures for military leaders, motivational aspects in the military context, military education, military values and virtues, and the trainability and measurability of individual resilience. From a more strategic perspective, he would like to focus more on the general added value of psychological knowledge for military training and operations and derive recommendations for military leaders.