Cyber-Defence Symposium

Article, 17.11.2017

On 7 November 2017 the Embassy of Switzerland held a Cyber-Defence Symposium with the participation of highly qualified keynote speakers and panellists. The event was organized by the Defence Attaché’s Office and the Swiss Business Hub UK. It aimed at bringing together members of both government and corporates to discuss the issue of cyber defence and security from a UK and Swiss perspective.

Group photo of the panelists with the Ambassador
The panel (left to right): Colonel Gerald Vernez, Geraldine Mortby, Dr Guy Bunker, Ambassador Fasel, Colonel Martin Lerch, James Hatch, Group Captain Stewart Woods. © FDFA

The Swiss Ambassador, Mr Alexandre Fasel, hosted the guests at his residence, where the event was followed by a ‘Swiss style’ reception. The Ambassador and Colonel GS Martin Lerch, the Swiss Defence Attaché to the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, warmly welcomed the audience, keynote speakers and panellists and guided them through the evening. 

The two excellent keynote speeches on Cyber Defence were given by Colonel GS Gérald Vernez, the delegate of the Swiss Ministry of Defence for Cyber Defence, and Group Captain Stewart Woods, the Cyber Joint User within Joint Forces Command, who is in charge of the management of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Cyber Programme. Geraldine Mortby, Deputy Head of the Swiss Business Hub, moderated the panel discussion. Ms Mortby and the keynote speakers were joined by Dr Guy Bunker from the RUAG subsidiary Clearswift and Mr James Hatch from BAE Systems. 

The interested audience of about 90 people included not only representatives from Defence Attaché Offices of about 40 countries, but also from the UK Ministry of Defence, the defence industry, think tanks and others. 

Both keynote speakers gave an overview of their Ministry of Defence’s cyber perspective and their country’s National Cyber Security Strategies. In the panel, topics such as the most acute cyber threats, digital sovereignty and neutrality were discussed. It was also noted that increased interdependencies and interconnectedness between all parts of modern society through modern technology make the topic a highly current issue. Awareness, understanding and a common language around the issue were addressed as important factors in the discussion around cyber threats.