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Swiss Army wants fatter soldiers

by on24 January 2017

So it can recruit hackers

The Swiss Army, which is famous for its knives and protecting the Pope with pikes, wants to relax its recruiting rules to allow for the unfit and over-nourished to join their ranks.

The plan is not to stick the overweight in the front line, but to turn them into cyber warriors. The Swiss know cyber warfare is the next big thing, the problem is that its army has strict fitness rules.

This makes recruiting difficult as hackers are not renowned for working out, and the most exercise they get is going to the toilet.

Military service is mandatory for men in Switzerland, although an alternative civilian service was created in the 1990s for those who want to opt out for reasons of conscience. The army's numbers have been shrinking ever since while hacker’s belt sizes have been getting bigger.

Now the Federal Assembly's security policy committee is calling on the government to change the recruitment rules in order to combat a skills shortage. Committee member Marcel Dobler said it was time to take on an overweight IT specialist.

“Just because he can't meet the physical requirements, he is declared unsuitable. He does not need a weapon for cyber defence, and physical fitness is irrelevant."

The recruitment process uses body mass index (BMI) to determine who's in and who's out - those with a measurement above 30 are only accepted if they are in good physical condition. A BMI of more than 40 means automatic rejection. The website notes that in 2012, BMI was the reason for 672 people being declared unfit for service.

Minor health problems such as poor hearing should also be overlooked, too.

Last modified on 24 January 2017
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