The General (German: Der General, French: le général, Italian: il generale, Romansh: il general) is an office and rank in the armed forces of Switzerland. It is held by the commander-in-chief of the Army in time of war only. Under the Swiss Constitution, he must be elected by the Federal Assembly, assembled as the United Federal Assembly, specifically for the purpose of taking on the war-time responsibilities.
Normally the word "general" is not used in the Swiss military, with three-star commandants de corps the highest-ranking officers in the army. Under the Constitution, the Federal Council, which acts as the country's head of state, can command only 4,000 soldiers, with a time limit of three weeks of mobilisation. For it to field more service personnel, the Federal Assembly must elect a General who is given four stars. Thus, the General is elected by the Federal Assembly to give him the same democratic legitimacy as the Federal Council.
The general is elected by a joint session of the Federal Assembly, known as the United Federal Assembly, wherein both the 200-seat National Council and 46-seat Council of States join together on a 'one member, one vote' basis. The Federal Assembly retains the sole power to dismiss the General, but the General remains subordinate to the Federal Council by the Council's ability to demobilise and hence making the position of General redundant.