"CONNECTED will be a unique, unforgettable experience."

The army's top event CONNECTED will take place from August 16-20 at the Kloten-Bülach armory. Colonel Pascal Martin is the project manager of this event and provides exclusive insights into the preparatory work and a little insight into what visitors can expect.

Colonel Pascal Martin, the top event CONNECTED starts in 140 days. Are you nervous?
I am a little nervous, yes. But above all, I'm looking forward to the event with excitement and great anticipation. The Army's top event is fast approaching, time is flying by and there is still a lot to do to make sure everything is ready on August 16. It is not always easy to think of everything and keep everything in sight.

What are you most concerned about at the moment?
Finalizing the traffic concept and security concept, for example. Many civilian partners are involved here and military requirements apply, but civilian and legal requirements also have to be met. The concepts are officially prescribed and have to be approved by the canton. But we are well on the way.

What is the status of the work?
From the idea to the rough concept and fine concept, we will complete the planning next and start the implementation phase at the beginning of June. The numerous different infrastructures are being set up. Now we no longer have time to discuss the options. Because now things are getting concrete. All partners are involved in the preparatory work for different lengths of time, but at the same time everyone knows what needs to be done and when. We have won over brilliant exhibitors from industry and various sectors from the army are organizing and planning exciting and impressive content which they will show at CONNECTED.

The expectations for a top event are great. How does CONNECTED live up to these expectations?
The army has a lot to offer and it is almost impossible to know every area of the army. At CONNECTED, the Swiss Armed Forces show in many different ways what they do and how they do it - especially in the area of cyber and digitalization.

The focus of CONNECTED is on cyber and digitalization. How is this elusive topic made visible and approachable?
The centerpiece of the festival site is the Arena: a pavilion in which we can show all visitors the relevance and function of the future Cyber Command for Switzerland's security in cyber and electromagnetic space, what the knowledge and decision-making edge is and what its significance is. Also, at CONNECTED, we will show what we are doing in the field of education and training, both civilian and military, to attract young talents, recruits and IT and cyber specialists for the unique activities in the ICT and cyber field. After visiting the arena, you can experience what you have seen in more depth in the exhibition area with the troops and military exhibitors.

What else can visitors expect at CONNECTED?
On August 16 and 17, closed events will take place within the army. From August 18, CONNECTED will be open to the public. From Friday to and including Sunday, various highlights are planned, such as two Patrouille Suisse air shows, the Swiss Drone League will be in place, a field service with gospel singers will take place on Sunday morning, on Sunday visitors will have the unique chance to have a meet & greet with Patrouille Suisse pilots, and there will be several military music concerts. Industry exhibitors will present the latest technological developments in the field of digitalization and cyber. And of course, catering is also taken care of - we have an appealing gastro area, including the popular cheese slices and other tasty offerings of food and drinks.

What is the program for the five days?
The program with the opening hours is published on the website connected23.ch and is constantly updated.

What has been your biggest personal highlight so far in the planning and organization of CONNECTED?
There is not one specific, big highlight that I could mention off the top of my head. There have always been various highlights. One is the way from a rough idea to a very concrete program with all the details to the realization of a great event. Another highlight is the growth of the project organization. We started with three people. In the meantime, we have about 300 people working on CONNECTED in various capacities. Another highlight for me as a professional officer is that with will, joy and interest, you can make a huge difference in an area that is not part of a professional officer's core competence.

You have a core team of 10 people to build CONNECTED. How is the collaboration going?
I have a great team around me - everyone is an absolute specialist in their field. Apart from me, my Stv and the head of logistics, the work is done part-time. I am the project manager, but without my team, the tasks and challenges would be almost impossible to manage. It takes close cooperation, a lot of coordination and coordination to identify dependencies and close gaps. Here, too, trust in the ability of the employees is crucial.

What can you and your team expect in the next few months?
There are still many things we need to be specific about, fine-tune, fine-tune and fine-tune the program. We have to close gaps, overcome challenges and continue to work in close coordination. It will be an intense time with one or two sleepless nights. There will certainly be one or two surprises in store for us. That sounds rather negative - but it's not. Because now we are in the hot phase, in which it will be all the more exciting and I am looking forward to it!

Why should citizens travel to Kloten-Bülach in August to attend CONNECTED?
If someone has had little contact with the Swiss Armed Forces up to now, CONNECTED is the ideal opportunity to take a look at its diverse activities. Anyone who is interested in cyber and digitalization in general and in the Swiss Armed Forces in particular is in exactly the right place at CONNECTED. Even those who have been critical of the army so far will get an optimal chance to be convinced by us at the top event. In particular, young people who are still at recruit school have a great opportunity at CONNECTED to get a taste of army air and to make plans for their militia career. For whom none of this applies: At CONNECTED there is something for everyone, for young and old, for young and old. I look forward to welcoming you all to CONNECTED at the Kloten-Bülach armory. It will be a unique, unforgettable experience.

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