Under Article 2 of the Ordinance on the National Emergency Operations Centre, the National Emergency Operations Centre is the federal authority responsible for dealing with emergency incidents. It also serves as national reporting and situation centre and as the staff unit of the Federal Civil Protection Crisis Management Board (see Verordnung über den Bundesstab Bevölkerungsschutz / Ordinance on the Federal Civil Protection Crisis Management Board (in German, French and Italian only), Art. 10). The NEOC is a division of the Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP within the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport DDPS.
One of the NEOC's responsibilities is to constantly monitor and assess the general situation. If natural, technical and society-related disasters occur (e.g. events resulting in increased radioactivity, biological or chemical disasters, a satellite crash or a breakdown in infrastructure), the NEOC informs its partner organisations, presents the overall situation and acts as the coordinating authority. In the case of emergencies leading to increased radioactivity, the NEOC can take measures to protect the population. In certain emergencies, e.g. major chemical incidents or a potential satellite crash, the NEOC carries out further situation-specific tasks, and may at any time be assigned additional tasks by the Federal Council.
The NEOC is designed so that it can be operationally ready at all times and poised with a minimum of staff to make a preliminary assessment and link up with partner organisations. In the event of an emergency, the NEOC can expand its capacities rapidly according to the situation. In addition to its permanent staff of around 30 employees, the NEOC can bring various other units into play in order to have sufficient manpower and ensure sustainability.
The NEOC is available to its partner organisations round the clock 365 days a year. Every year, some 400 cases call for a situation assessment by persons on standby and, if needed, the involvement of specialists from NEOC or its partners.
In its work, the NEOC relies on high-performance, crisis-resistant and redundant links to partners such as the cantonal police forces' operations centres.