Swiss Special Operations

Army Reconnaissance Detachment

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The Army Reconnaissance Detachment (German: Armee-Aufklärungsdetachement, French: Détachement de reconnaissance, Italian: Distaccamento d’esplorazione dell’esercito) is a special forces unit of the Swiss army responsible for conducting counter-terrorist activities in Switzerland and abroad. The full cost of maintaining the ARD-DDR-DEE in 2011 will approximately be 16 million francs.

Its full name is Armee-Aufklärungsdetachement 10 (English, Army Reconnaissance Detachment 10).


As part of the Army XXI reforms, a report on October 24, 2001 to the Federal Assembly of Switzerland called on the formation of a Special forces-trained unit that would be able to conduct Counter-terrorist-type actions in the Swiss Army to protect Swiss nationals and soldiers living abroad.

In 2003, the unit had been created with Major Daniel Stoll as the unit’s first commanding officer with 30 soldiers as its nucleus with Special forces training. In 2007, ARD 10 commandos had joined in Exercise Cold Response 2007. The unit had been unveiled to the public during Army Day 2007 in Lugano from November 20 to November 25, 2007.

By the year 2011, its expected that the unit will have 91 soldiers in active duty.

Unit Tasks

The ARD has certain tasks to fulfill as part of their mandate:

  1. Procurement of key facilities
  2. Protection of Swiss nationals, troop and facilities if endangered
  3. Securing Swiss nationals from crisis areas
  4. Counter-Terrorism
  5. Direct Action
  6. Unconventional warfare


Among the minimal qualification requirements for potential candidates in 18 weeks, these include:

  1. 50 press-ups
  2. 60 sit-ups
  3. 10 pull-ups
  4. 5km cross-country run in under 24 minutes
  5. 8km walk in full combat gear (15kg pack) in less than 58 minutes
  6. 25km walk in full combat gear (25kg pack) in less than 3.5 hours
  7. 300m swim in under 10 minutes

Other potential requirements include the following:

  1. Good command of the English language
  2. Good command of another language aside from English
  3. Leadership skills

Candidates who must wear eyeglasses must be at least 0.8 in vision tests in order to be accepted.


Potential candidates must attend 18 full months, with 6 months dedicated to basic training, of Special forcescompulsory service with the Swiss Army, which is then followed by 40 weeks. Candidates will be assessed prior to training their physical and mental state, as well as their health if they are fit to be qualified as ARD 10 soldiers. Candidates must also have clean records from their time after attending compulsory service. training after completing their

Upon ending of training, all ARD 10 soldiers are required to be on standby in case of deployment.

Work Conditions

All ARD 10 soldiers are allowed to have a maximum of 20 days off from active service with the unit, as well as an addition of 5 days if required. Accommodations in terms of living quarters and food are taken care of by the unit itself without having the individual soldier pay. ARD 10 soldiers stay in the unit for 5 years. Efforts are underway to raise it up to 10 years of service with the ARD 10.

ARD 10 soldiers are paid, depending on their marital status and economic standing. Extra pay ranges from 392 to 5,093 Swiss francs. Others are paid 4,063 Swiss francs if they have children. ARD 10 soldiers are paid 26 Swiss francs a day if they are deployed abroad for either combat operations or for military training in other countries. Soldiers are paid 13-15 Swiss francs per hour for participating in night duties. Sometimes, an additional 610 Swiss francs may be paid also in addition to the 13-15 Swiss francs.

All ARD 10 soldiers have insurance as provided by the Swiss military.


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