Singapore Government


MG Perry Lim took over the reins as Chief of Defence Force from     LG Ng Chee Meng in a parade on 18 Aug as part of the SAF's continuing process of leadership renewal.

Melayu中文follow us
04 Sep 2015, 1145 hours (GMT +8)
Former Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) (NS) Ng Chee Meng speaks to PIONEER on what it's like leaving the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) after 29 years. Saying goodbye was evidently difficult for the top man in Singapore's military. Without the SAF, I would not have been the person I am today, said the 47-year-old who joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as a fighter pilot in 1986. Growing up in a middle-class family with four other boys, LG (NS) Ng said he would not have had the means to afford an overseas education if not for the SAF. He graduated from the prestigious United States Air Force Academy, and was the second man from the RSAF in the history of the SAF to be made Chief of Defence Force. There are very few places in the world that will allow a boy from a middle-class family to have these opportunities to succeed, said the father of two. My drive to serve comes from wanting to give back to our country and our people, he added. Fulfilling a childhood dream His eyes lit up when he spoke about his first solo flight on a Cessna 172K after completing his O-levels. I was in JC 1…taking an aircraft to the sky with no one beside me, the then-Junior Flying Club member recalled. It was my first step in fulfilling a childhood dream (to become a fighter pilot). His first 10 years in the RSAF were some of the most memorable times of LG (NS) Ng's career. He described himself as a brash and young pilot who loved being in the thick of action. In his early days, the hotshot pilot recalled flying combat air patrols in his F-5 fighter jet in response to possible threats, putting himself in the frontline to protect Singapore's skies. As he rose through the ranks, it dawned upon him that he could no longer stick to his youthful ideals, and ambitions to be a fighter pilot. It was time to really seriously look at how to give back in terms of policy-making, and (use) the ground experiences that I had garnered to be the most effective commander that I could be. LG (NS) Ng helmed key command and staff roles that included Commanding Officer of 144 Squadron which operates the F-5 aircraft; Commander Changi Air Base; Director Joint Operations; and Chief of Air Force. After taking over the top job in the SAF in 2013, LG (NS) Ng volunteered for the Combat Skills Badge (CSB) and Basic Diving courses. Training alongside servicemen half his age, the ace pilot wanted to understand his men and women in the Army and Navy, and lead by example. You cannot lead if you do not understand what your people go through, he explained. When asked what he considers his greatest achievement, LG (NS) Ng humbly declined to answer, simply saying: I did what I was supposed to do, what a responsible officer would do. SAF: Cornerstone of country's success LG (NS) Ng is proud of the SAF and its world-class people. The country's remarkable economic progress, he said, was made possible because of the stability provided by the SAF's servicemen and women. Although the SAF has never been tested in an all-out war, LG (NS) Ng said the fact that Singapore has enjoyed peace for 50 years is a testament of its abilities to enhance Singapore's peace and security. Detractors should understand that the ultimate strategy is to win without fighting, he said, quoting renowned Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The full force of the SAF - including its citizen soldiers - when marshalled, renders it a formidable opponent, he said. Any hostile country would think twice or thrice about threatening us. He noted that the SAF is in a very strong position today, not just because of its high-tech military arsenal, but also the dedication of its people and the strong support from the public. This was what he witnessed during the state funeral of Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. I saw my officers and men doing their part beyond the call of duty, and ordinary Singaporeans giving them strength through their encouragement and support, he recalled. This is the binding strength of Singapore. Quoting the late Mr Zubir Said, the composer of Singapore's National Anthem, LG (NS) Ng urged all SAF servicemen and women to continue to uphold the sky of the land where you live. Uphold the standards that we have forged over the last 50 years. Train our people tough, but fairly and safely, so that when we are called into operations, wherever or whenever, we are ready... We do this for Singapore, for Singaporeans.
02 Sep 2015, 2145 hours (GMT +8)
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) may just have a swarm of spider-like devices to survey Singapore's key installations in the near future. Called the Systems Technology for Autonomous Reconnaissance and Surveillance (STARS), this project was inspired by the Moroccan spider which has the ability to crawl, climb and roll. It even looks like one. The next step is to make these devices small enough to be hidden from the human eye and for them to move in a group - unmanned. We intend to move these three concepts into one single application. So we'll probably see a spider which can roll, crawl and climb. At the same time, it's also small enough… imagine a few of them swarming, said Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Mohamed Feroz, Assistant Director of the Strategy and Future Group, Future Systems and Technology Directorate (FSTD). If all goes well, these devices will be deployed within the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) campus by 2017. Depending on how well they can work in a controlled environment, they will then be deployed out for military use for surveillance purposes. LTC Feroz was sharing Project STAR as an example of a Smart Defence initiative of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the SAF. He explained that the FSTD was always on the lookout for what's next for the military, with the intent of making improvements to what the SAF is already capable of. He said: It's taking what is out in the world to see if it can fit into the military. For example, today we have drones in the commercial world. Why can't the same be done in the military? The project was showcased at this year's MINDEF PRoductivity and Innovation in Daily Efforts (PRIDE) Day, with the theme, Smart Nation, Smart Defence. At the award presentation ceremony held at SUTD on 2 Sep, Second Minister for Defence Lui Tuck Yew articulated the importance of MINDEF's vision as a Smart Defence organisation. He said: Our vision of Smart Defence is to apply new technologies so that we, as an organisation, work smarter, and our people's work lives are improved. Within the SAF, data mining and analytics, coupled with predictive engines, can offer us enhanced sense-making and intelligence to detect security threats to Singapore... At the individual level, work life in MINDEF/SAF can be made more seamless through smart technologies. All these are in line with the national vision of Singapore as a Smart Nation. Mr Lui also highlighted the importance of continuous innovation in MINDEF and the SAF to find better ways to achieve its mission. Looking ahead, as the SAF of the future will be even leaner, we must make technology work even harder for us, so as to maximise every soldier's potential in operations and relieve personnel of dangerous, laborious or mundane tasks. In line with this, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is looking at a Smart Naval Base concept. This includes constantly improving its systems and base operations, and leveraging ideas generated by RSN personnel to make improvements. Commander Force Support Squadron from Naval Logistics Command (NALCOM) Military Expert (ME) 6 Koh Cheok Wei said the Navy had been gathering feedback and ideas through crowd-sourcing activities to see how people's lives could be improved. Some of these ideas had proven to be exciting and feasible. We are looking at things like intelligent network and integrated systems which monitor everything that happens in the base, said ME6 Koh. We are also looking at using automation, in particular, a driverless bus that can help us transport things, people and materials like spare parts and food supplies within the base. Other ideas include having an all-in-one card which is a security pass, computer card and meal-tracking device, and an automated gangway-lowering system. While all these ideas are still at the conceptualisation and exploration stages, there is no stopping the Navy from embracing its innovation culture. ME6 Koh also revealed plans to cross-share work processes with other agencies such as Changi Airport and Immigration and Checkpoint Authority of Singapore to see how they manage operations and clear people at checkpoints respectively. He said: We should (explore all) possibilities…We can then expand or extract some of these ideas to make them more concrete. This spirit of innovation was what earned NALCOM the Minister for Defence Award for the second consecutive year, and this year, they were inducted into the PRIDE Movement Hall of Fame. Crediting his people for the organisation's success, Commander NALCOM ME7 Andy Tay said: We have engagement forums regularly to engage our people (and) remind them of their mission. When people associate their daily work with a higher calling and purpose, it drives them to think out of the box, to do things better and to do better things. This year, a total of 187 awards were presented to individuals, groups and units from MINDEF and the SAF in recognition of their outstanding and innovative projects. These innovations and ideas amounted to savings of $141.8 million. Also at the MINDEF PRIDE Day 2015 award presentation were Chief of Defence Force Major-General Perry Lim and senior MINDEF and SAF officials. The public can see some of the innovative projects at the PRIDE Day exhibition held at SUTD from 2 to 4 Sep. Details can be found at this link.
01 Sep 2015, 0945 hours (GMT +8)
From conducting emergency airlifts off Singapore waters to helping countries in need, the RSAF is always ready when called upon to serve. Think of the Air Force and images of fighter aircraft roaring overhead, precision munitions striking their targets and aerial dogfights often come to mind. But that is only one slice of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). In peacetime, the RSAF serves in different capacities - from airlifting injured soldiers, to rescuing people stranded out at sea, to providing aid in the aftermath of natural disasters. In recent years, military forces have been increasingly called upon for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts. Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit Global Forum on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination on 13 Apr, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen noted that (this is) not surprising because 70 percent of natural disasters occur within Asia, and within a seven-hour flight time from Singapore. He added: No other organisations, whether locally or globally, can respond with the speed and effectiveness that militaries do in the immediate aftermath of any disaster.
01 Sep 2015, 0945 hours (GMT +8)
Looking at the many vintage aircraft in the Air Force Museum, you might think you were back in the 70s. But continue into its revamped indoor gallery and you’ll find yourself flying into the future. It is a total revamp, said Mr Teng Geok Kim, the Air Force Museum's guide and curator, and a former technician with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). From 3D videos to surround sound and simulators, the museum has incorporated the latest technology to create a more engaging and hands-on experience for visitors. Now, there are more multimedia devices which are interactive. This will not only make the displays more interesting, but also allow visitors to participate in various interactive stations, explained Mr Teng. The five new exhibits tell a continuous story to the visitors - one that begins with the history of the RSAF and takes visitors to the present-day modern air force. Mix of modern and old Upon entering the indoor gallery, visitors will first see a large room filled with historical artefacts which hark back to the past. Adorning the walls of the gallery are uniforms and rank insignias from the old days of the RSAF, as well as a series of plaques which displays a timeline of the RSAF's equipment and capabilities. Complementing these historical displays is a new, high-tech interactive display table. Instead of just reading from a static display, visitors can use the table's massive touchscreen displays to drag and drop digital pictures of the RSAF's aircraft onto specific drop zones to learn more of their technical specifications. The next exhibit shows the evolution of the RSAF. Walking down a corridor, visitors can check out all of the RSAF's squadron insignias, arranged to show the command structure before and after a major restructuring in 2008. An engaging experience One of the main attractions of the revamped gallery is a simulator where visitors can experience flying a plane for take off and landing, and executing combat manoeuvres. Consisting of three sets of controls and a panoramic screen, it provides a realistic feel of being a pilot. Another interactive exhibit visitors can enjoy is a game showcasing the RSAF's aerobatics team - the Black Knights. By placing their palm on a sensor, visitors can take control of one of the Black Knights' aircraft and participate in manoeuvres with the rest of the team. Further enhancing the experience at the Air Force Museum is a brand new immersive theatre which emphasises the role of the RSAF during peace time. Using state-of-the-art 3D and surround sound technology, it features a movie which shows different RSAF squadrons being activated to intercept unknown hostile aircraft approaching Singapore's airspace. At the same time, a split screen shows scenes of ordinary life in Singapore proceeding as per normal. The movie shows that even in times of peace, the RSAF is committed to guarding our skies, said Mr Teng. Heritage revival For full-time national serviceman Corporal (CPL) Marcus Choy, who assisted in the curation of information and acquisition of artefacts, the challenge was in liaising with the many RSAF squadrons and commands to find the materials needed. These artefacts ranged from RSAF servicemen's souvenirs from their time in Afghanistan to an old winch man's helmet. Proud to be part of the revamp team, CPL Choy felt that the improved museum will instill pride in RSAF servicemen of the Air Force heritage and capabilities. As Mr Teng put it: The Air Force has been through so many significant milestones and...we hope that the revamped museum will reflect the growth that the Air Force has undergone and will be a proud representation of the RSAF.
31 Aug 2015, 1845 hours (GMT +8)
To ensure that medical treatment can be provided effectively and speedily in the battlefield, the 1st Combat Support Hospital (1 CSH) - comprising wholly citizen soldiers - embarked on a two-week In-Camp Training to hone the proficiency of its personnel. A CSH is a field hospital with operating theatres, intensive care units, wards and a blood bank to provide treatment and care for soldiers in the battlefield. Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visited the Operational Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) on 28 Aug to better understand their training at the Medical Simulation Training Centre. The ICT involved about 400 medical officers, dental officers, and medics. One of the training objectives was to ensure that the medics, most of whom do not work in the health-care industry, can perform their roles in the hospital proficiently. We need to re-familiarise ourselves with the medical equipment, and the procedures of helping the medical officers during a surgery, said 1st Sergeant (1SG) (NS) Quek Yee Kian, an engineering programme manager. The refresher course helps us. With every ICT, we get better and better every subsequent year, added the 38-year-old medic, who is 1 CSH's Acting Regimental Sergeant Major. As for the medical officers, their training was focused on treating battlefield wounds, something which they do not usually encounter in hospitals and clinics, said Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (DR) (NS) Guo Chang Ming, Commanding Officer of 1 CSH. In hospitals, they are treating mostly illnesses, but in a military setting, there will be more blast, burn, and trauma injuries. They will need to do more damage control surgeries to stabilise the wounded, explained the 45-year-old, a spine surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). The NSmen will also do scenario-based exercises, working in teams to test their workflows. When wounded soldiers are sent to the CSH, the medics will assess the type and extent of their injuries. The medical officers will then conduct the relevant damage control procedures to stabilise the patients. Their conditions will be monitored, and if required, surgery will be performed. We want them to be as efficient as possible, and as proficient as possible so that we can save more lives, explained LTC (DR) (NS) Guo. Volunteers Among the soldiers in 1 CSH are two female volunteers. They are nursing officers who have gone through the Medical Officer Cadet Course. Captain (CPT) Pauline Leong, who has been volunteering with the SAF since 1994, said the ICT sessions have taught her much about treating patients in a battlefield. It's different from how we operate in a civilian hospital. I learnt to modify what I do in the hospital to a military setting, and make do with the 'mobile' field equipment. We also impart some of our knowledge to our medics. CPT Leong is an advanced practice nurse at SGH. During his visit, Dr Maliki also held a dialogue with the NSmen on a range of issues, such as how to further improve support for citizen soldiers from employers and educational institutions.
31 Aug 2015, 0930 hours (GMT +8)
ME2 Claire He, 32 Air Force Engineer, 805 SQN While the office crowd keeps busy sending email messages occasionally containing a barb or two, Military Expert (ME) 2 Claire He deals with (potentially) more explosive content. She is an Air Force Engineer who takes care of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) munitions. Air-to-air, air-to-ground missiles; that's what we look after, said ME2 He. Everyone thinks that handling munitions is quite scary but if you treat them properly with respect, it's safe. If she looks familiar, it is because she appears in RSAF recruitment materials. She is also part of the ground crew in the Black Knights aerobatics team. I deal mostly with munitions and had little experience working on aircraft maintenance before joining the team, so it wasn't easy at the beginning. Having performed at a few international airshows (watch the video clip!) with the Black Knights team, ME2 He is now a seasoned hand at keeping the Black Knights' six state-liveried F-16C fighter aircraft at the ready. When asked what has kept her in the RSAF for the past 11 years, ME2 He replied: I enjoy the working environment. There's also the satisfaction of seeing the munitions I work on hit their targets during training exercises. It is probably not the best thing to be on the receiving end of her despatches.
29 Aug 2015, 1230 hours (GMT +8)
Amazing ideas can come at any time, from any place. For Singa Team@SG members Lee Yu Yang, Axel Tong, Zhang Zi Heng and Loke Yi Ming, their idea for an amazing machine came from the pages of their Social Studies textbook. The Primary Five students from Kheng Cheng School built a Rube Goldberg machine (a device that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction) that told the story of Singapore's growth from its founding by Sir Stamford Raffles to its modern-day incarnation as a global city. Using a variety of mechanical movements, the team marked out various key events on their machine. This included a wheel with flags on two ends that spun and replaced a Japanese flag with the Union Jack to signify the end of the war, as well as repelling magnets that symbolize the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. The chain reaction ended with a marble falling on a mouse, enabling the National Day Parade 2015 song, Our Singapore, to play on a laptop. For their ingenuity, the team came out tops in Category A of the Singapore Amazing Machine Competition (SAMC) 2015. Organised by DSO National Laboratories as part of the DSO Amazing series of competitions, SAMC 2015 saw more than 200 students and 53 teams from across primary, secondary and pre-tertiary institutions conceptualising and building Rube Goldberg machines. In line with the SG50 celebrations, this year's participants were required to incorporate their vision for Singapore's next 50 years in their machines and tell the story of the nation's past, present and future. At the awards ceremony held at the Singapore Science Centre on 28 Aug, Guest of Honour Minister for Transport and 2nd Minister for Defence Lui Tuck Yew presented the winners with their accolades. Speaking at the event, Mr Lui highlighted the importance of creative and critical thinking: Science can enhance and improve our way of living. But to make it impactful and useful, we need creative and critical thinkers who will develop fresh solutions to the challenges that we face in society. Singapore's future will depend on our ability to rise above our limitations and develop new innovations to meet our unique requirements. In his speech, Mr Lui also reminded the students of the importance of teamwork. I think the experience from the last few days, even from your journey with your experimentation, is that it takes teamwork. It is the people living together, working together (and) bouncing their ideas off each other - iron sharpening iron. And that's how you get the best ideas to surface and the best intentions to come to the fore, he said. His comments rang true for many, including Singa Team@SG's Yi Ming. In the five months the team spent building their machine, he admitted that there were fights: Sometimes, we met with difficulties, and we would debate with each other on what to do. But in the end, we always talked it out with each other and reach an agreement. As for Category C winner ACSI Team1, comprising Andrew Lim, Samuel Chian, Joshua Lim and Leo Zhenn Zhe, teamwork was certainly the key to their repeat victory. We've been working together for more than two years. Our advantage is that we know each other well and have been working together for so long, said Andrew. The Year Five students from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) were crowned Category B winners in 2014. The team's unity was reflected in their machine, which made use of an elaborate system of circuits and levers to spell out Happy SG50. Each individual letter was formed by a different action. For instance, one letter was written by a robotic arm while another was projected on to a wall. To us, Singapore is about the people and how we are all one society. We incorporated this into our machine by bringing together different areas of science, such as biology (with the robotic arm), chemistry and physics, to reach the end goal, said Samuel. It's like Singapore integrating the various levels of society, with a main control system for everything. As for first-time participants Coco Liu, Suan Enhui, K. Sarvesha and Ramachandran Praveena of Team 111, the SAMC was an eye-opening experience. The Secondary One students from Raffles Girls' School (Secondary) (RGS) were still reeling from the shock of becoming Category B winners. There are Secondary Three and Four students here with really complex machines, and here we are, Secondary Ones who are totally new to everything. We were quite surprised that we won, but nonetheless, we are happy, said Sarvesha. The students held their own with an intricate structure that ended with a portrait painted on interlocking wood panels, signifying Singapore's past and present. The chain reaction caused the wood panels to flip around and reveal a second portrait that signified the nation's present and future. To make the machine run smoothly and successfully, the students stayed back in school virtually every day for two weeks. With conflicting schedules and additional classes after school, it was difficult to find time to work together as well. We learnt that we had to stay focused on our aim and target, said Praveena. Sarvesha added, In the end, we managed to work together and come up with this machine.
26 Aug 2015, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
PIONEER alumnus, lawyer and best-selling author Adrian Tan writes about how the magazine has evolved over the years. PIONEER exists as the voice and memory of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The evergreen magazine was born on Singapore's fourth birthday as the National Pioneer, a tabloid newsletter. In launching it, then-Minister for Defence Lim Kim San said in his foreword: There are now a few thousand young men and women in our Armed Forces. There is, therefore, a need for a medium through which our men and women in the Armed Forces can be enlightened and entertained. Over the next five decades, month by month, the magazine has grown and transformed, in pursuit of that original mission. The original National Pioneer was heavy on editorial and light on its black-and-white pictures. The tone was serious and the language, formal. The 1960s' editions featured articles befitting of a young nation, discussing the big issues of the day, such as the need for National Service (NS), or our geopolitical environment. Over the years, that style gave way to a full-colour glossy magazine, friendlier and more casual, with an increased emphasis on pictures and graphics. In the early days, national austerity demands meant that one copy of the magazine would have to be shared among 10 servicemen. Today, the magazine is sent to the homes of Full-Time National Servicemen, Operationally Ready National Servicemen and Regulars. n the 1970s, PIONEER offered subscription at 20 cents a copy. Today, it is a princely 40 cents. For a time, advertisements were found in the pages of PIONEER for consumer electronics, computer courses, mosquito repellent and many varieties of beer. All advertising has ceased. PIONEER has always been among the first to adopt new technology. In 1996, it launched cyberpioneer, its internet edition. In 2010, it was one of the first Singapore publications to be offered on a newfangled contraption called an iPad. Today, cyberpioneer stories, pictures and videos are widely viewed, shared and commented on Facebook, Flickr and Youtube. Its content often sparks off discussions about NS experiences. It continues to be recognised internationally as one of the best magazines in its field. What has also not changed is PIONEER's dedication to its prime directive - to be the voice of the SAF. For five decades, it has documented our collective achievements and common experiences. It has faithfully recorded our journey as we march in uniform. It continues to narrate the grand adventure that is our SAF. PIONEER alumni Many famous Singaporeans underwent their NS in PIONEER. Actor, director and playwright Ivan Heng was a PIONEER writer. Of his PIONEER days, he said: One week, I would be on board a ship, or on some jetty ready to go somewhere, another week I'd be sitting in a helicopter taking aerial pictures with my photographer. And we were interviewing ministers, and we got quite a big bite of the journalistic cherry. It was a great opportunity for a young man; I don't think many people get to experience these things at 20. Celebrity photographer Russel Wong was a PIONEER photographer. He is famed for his pictures of stars such as Jackie Chan, Richard Gere and Tom Cruise. Aptly, his first PIONEER assignment was a portrait of Lieutenant-General (Ret) Winston Choo, then-Chief of General Staff. Russel said that his PIONEER experience was an eye-opener, and that it sharpened his senses. Doing photo-journalism, I had to be more alert, as there was only one chance to take my shot. Most of the time, I didn't quite know what to expect, and I had to get it right the first time. I also learnt to work with people to get the pictures I wanted. In PIONEER, I met all kinds of people, from privates to generals. Award-winning musician, songwriter and poet Dr Liang Wern Fook was another PIONEER writer. He wrote for the Chinese edition of the magazine. He said: My writing was about self-expression. But at PIONEER, I realised I needed another kind of writing skill. It was no longer about personal feelings, but about being objective. It's important to have an opinion, but self-expression must be within your setting and environment. And then, in my second year, I realised that even if no personal feelings are expressed, the story can still have a personal angle: how you write the story, whom you interview and what you highlight about them. Former Attorney-General Professor Walter Woon, food critic K F Seetoh, and former NMP Associate Professor Simon Tay are just some others who served their NS in PIONEER. Today editor Walter Fernandez, The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez and former The New Paper Editor Ivan Fernandez have something less obvious in common. All cut their teeth as PIONEER writers. Warren Fernandez said of his time in PIONEER: What I had to learn was how to fit into the production cycle: conceptualising stories, working with the artists and photographers, designing the pages. That taught me a lot about the visual aspect of journalism - it's not just about words, you've got to be able to connect with your readers through images, pictures and design. Recalling the publication of his first story in PIONEER, he said: It was great to see my byline. There's always a buzz, a sense of achievement for your first story. I think that was what got me thinking about journalism. I wasn't born wanting to be a journalist. PIONEER showed me that this was something I could do in the long term. Ivan Fernandez said of his PIONEER stint, where he was also resident cartoonist: We felt our task was to go behind the scenes and make the activities on the ground, the people behind the units and the operating culture come alive. We wanted to show that there was more to the Armed Forces than the steely, highly-disciplined and perfectly-timed performances seen at the National Day Parade.
25 Aug 2015, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
Songs and cheers rang out in the early morning of 21 Aug as more than a thousand soldiers from the Infantry formation took part in the second annual Infantry March. With participants hailing from all Infantry units across the island, this year's march, themed The March Home, aimed to rally all Infanteers and strengthen the identity of the Infantry Tribe as they marched to Selarang Camp - home of the Infantry. Consisting of three different groups, each marching from a different start point - Selarang Camp, Pasir Ris Park, or the Singapore Armed Forces Ferry Terminal - they marched a distance of between 4.4km and 5.5km before converging at their end-point at Selarang Camp. How do we know that the 'Infantry Tribe' is strong? Brigadier-General (BG) Chiang Hock Woon, Commander 9th Singapore Division and Chief Infantry Officer asked the some 1,600 Infanteers after the march. We came to one conclusion - what is most important for the 'Infantry Tribe' is the trust between us… To build this trust, we decided that every year, we would decide on a time and a place, and we would meet… and this is how the idea of the Infantry March was mooted. He added: When we did our march last year, every unit turned up, and this year, we continue with this tradition - every unit will turn up when we do our march. Agreeing with him was Colonel (COL) Lim Teck Keong, Commander of the Motorised Infantry Training Institute, who led 200 of his men in the Infantry March. He said the march was significant in building camaraderie within the formation, the largest in the Army. To strengthen the identity of the 'Infantry Tribe', BG Chiang unveiled and presented the new Infantry Combat Knife to commanders and commanding officers of the various Infantry units. COL Lim, who was among those receiving the knife, found it to be a meaningful presentation. Recalling the days before the Singapore Assault Rifle (SAR) 21, where bayonets were still attached to the M16s, COL Lim said: The symbol of the Infantry is two crossed bayonets …When the SAR 21 was introduced into service, we stopped using the bayonets… and after a few years, the significance of the bayonets decreased. Hence, I think that it is quite apt now that the Infantry formation has introduced this Infantry Combat Knife. When all else fails, we still have the infantry knife to fight with our bare hands, and achieve mission success. Also taking place after the Infantry March was the presentation of berets to newly-trained Infanteers from the 1st and 8th Battalions, Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR, 8 SIR).
24 Aug 2015, 2345 hours (GMT +8)
This year's National Day Parade (NDP) was a grand affair befitting of celebrating Singapore's Golden Jubilee and a key factor for its success was the people who contributed one way or another behind the scenes. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen hosted the key appointment holders of the NDP 2015 organising committee, participating organisations and sponsors to an appreciation dinner on 24 Aug. Speaking at the function, Dr Ng highlighted that the successful parade was the result of the hard work, support, and commitment of many. He said: I know that there were many participants and many people who put in many hours and sacrifices. Many of you who are seated here played a big part in it, without which, the NDP would not have been a success. The many pictures that we took in NDP will stand as a historical record of how unique and how spectacular NDP 2015 was. To emphasise his point, Dr Ng used the example of the 1.2 million funpacks that had been distributed to every single Singaporean household as part of the NDP 2015 celebrations. It was very heartwarming as they (Combat Service Support Command) brought together people, including children with Down Syndrome to come help pack, he said. They penned special notes in the funpacks that they packed and it showed the spirit which made NDP 2015 possible. In an example to exhibit the dedication of those who made NDP a reality, Dr Ng said: As rehearsals were during the Ramadan period, our Muslim brothers and sisters were rehearsing without eating or drinking - they were observing their fast. Commenting on the dedication and the sacrifices of the NDP 2015 participants, Brigadier-General (BG) Melvyn Ong, Chairman of the Executive Committee and the newly appointed Chief of Army, said: Organising our country's Golden Jubilee celebrations was an honour for my team, and also challenging due to the many moving parts. Citing the examples of the many challenges posed during NDP such as the 1.2 million funpacks, satellite sites, and large aerial display to name a few, BG Ong added: We needed months of rehearsals, and tight and effective coordination on the ground. We couldn't have done it without the capable and committed servicemen and volunteers, working together to give Singaporeans an awesome SG50 NDP to remember. Dr Ng presented Gold awards to 165 recipients who attended the dinner at Resorts World Sentosa. There were 201 Gold award recipients this year. Chief of Defence Force Major-General (MG) Perry Lim will present the 612 Silver awards to participating organisations and sponsors at a separate dinner held later this week.
21 Aug 2015, 1400 hours (GMT +8)
Future generations of defence ministers should continue to forge strong public support for defence, and to maintain good defence relations with other countries, in order to secure peace for Singapore over the next 50 years and beyond. This was the answer given by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen when asked by an undergraduate what advice he would give to today's youths if they were the future defence ministers. Dr Ng was fielding questions from some 160 undergraduates, mostly from the National University of Singapore (NUS), at the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum on 20 Aug, after his keynote presentation on Singapore's nation-building journey. The discussion was centred on Singapore's future challenge in areas such as economy, population, and security. Noting that 97 percent of Singaporeans had expressed confidence in the country's defence, according to a recent survey by MediaCorp, Dr Ng said: Certainly, I am gratified that there is such a strong belief… You've got to continue to work at it to maintain that support. We are only as strong as Singaporeans are willing to support defence. Our boys going for two years (of National Service) is a significant commitment, explained Dr Ng, adding that the Republic also spent a large proportion of the government budget on defence. On forging strong defence ties, Dr Ng said Singapore had been taking part in defence dialogues, and partnering with countries to foster mutual trust. He cited how Singapore had offered assistance to Brunei in hosting over 3,000 troops from 18 countries for a large-scale Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise in 2013. For the first time, you had Chinese, Japanese, American soldiers conducting exercises in a humanitarian setting. And that's what we should be doing more of, said Dr Ng. At the same time, you can never be certain you are safe; you must be fully (prepared with a) capable deterrence force, he added. In response to a question about Singapore's position on the on-going territorial dispute in the South China Sea, Dr Ng said the Republic was not a claimant state, but was concerned about possible disruption to the vital international waterway. He said: It shows you that our external environment can be unpredictable, and that we are wise to have a strong SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) that can help pacify things, help to ease tension. Threats from hybrid warfare When asked by another student if cyber warfare would become a reality in the near future, Dr Ng said it had already taken place when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last year. He described Russia's strategy as hybrid warfare: The use of propaganda and disinformation to break the population's will to fight for their country, before launching an invasion. Singapore is not immune to such threats, Dr Ng said. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been conducting a facet of hybrid warfare through the use of social media to radicalise people worldwide. The way to respond is through Total Defence where every citizen plays a part, Dr Ng said. Adopted by Singapore, it is a comprehensive strategy consisting ofmilitary, civil, economic, social and psychological defence. Dr Ng gave the example of 19-year-old Arifil Azim Putra Norja'I, a self-radicalised Singaporean who harboured the intention to conduct attacks in the country. His arrest was made possible because his friend noticed the change in him, and alerted the authorities. This is something which is occurring here and now, something that has changed the battlefield. So it's a battle over mind, it's a battle over ideology, said Dr Ng. Militarily, we also have to respond, (and) that's why we have our cyber defence, and information defence, he added. Females to do NS? Asked if females would be enlisted for National Service (NS) in the foreseeable future, in view of the declining birth rate in Singapore, Dr Ng said there was no need to do so, as technology had enabled the SAF to provide the same kind of firepower with less manpower. For example, it used to take 12 men to operate an artillery gun, but today, only three men are needed to run the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. The SAF had also planned for its manpower need, factoring in declining birth rates, till 2050, Dr Ng added. While there have been calls for females to do NS as nurses or teachers, Dr Ng said there was no strong justification for it. He explained: There are very few circumstances where you can say to anybody, whether male or female, that I want you to give up two years of your life to do something. And that critical need is (the) defence of Singapore. I can't bring you in to be a nurse or to be teacher. It is a social good, but (an) inadequate justification. Even if there is a need to conscript females for defence needs, it has to be done carefully because it changes the whole complexion of your military force, he added. Held at the University Town, the forum was organised by the NUS Students' Political Association.
20 Aug 2015, 1900 hours (GMT +8)
Understanding the needs of disaster victims whom you are helping; a strong military-to-military relationship; good information-sharing among countries offering assistance - they are all crucial to effective relief efforts. These were some of the lessons that Colonel (COL) Lim Kwang Tang took away as the Singapore Contingent Commander of the Nepal disaster relief operations in April this year. COL Lim, who is Director of Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Coordination Centre (RHCC), was one of three speakers invited to share his experience at an event organised by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, called RSIS Celebrates World Humanitarian Day: Voices From The Field, held at the National Library on 19 Aug. The other two speakers were Mr Johann Annuar, Founder and Trainer of Humanity Assist, and Mr Hassan Ahmad, Technical Adviser of the Corporate Citizen Foundation. Attending the talk were more than 100 students and representatives from agencies which had participated in HADR efforts in the region. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had sent a 38-man team, with 22 personnel from the medical team and 16 from Changi RHCC to help in HADR efforts after the Nepalese earthquake. During the 12-day deployment, the SAF medical team treated more than 3,000 patients, working alongside their counterparts from Singapore's Ministry of Health as well as the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. In addition, the Republic of Singapore Air Force's C-130 aircraft evacuated 95 Singaporeans and foreigners, and made a total of 11 flights into Nepal to bring personnel, equipment and relief supplies. During the question-and-answer session, COL Lim reiterated that one of the key challenges in an HADR operation was information sharing, and that a strong military-to military-relationship was important for an effective disaster relief effort. He said: In our region, the military plays a significant role. We have to establish linkages within this region as well as with other players such as the US, Australia and India. COL Lim added that the RHCC also had to establish a strong international liaison officers' network, so that they could practise peacetime disaster preparedness. We are sharing information and monitoring situations day to day. In the event of an impending (disaster such as a) typhoon, we will have early warning and share the information so that our military partners will be prepared and on standby, and if necessary, we go in together. In response to a question on when the military should step in to help and when it should pull out of the disaster-hit area, COL Lim explained that the military will typically stay up to 14 days, and that was exactly what the Nepalese Army had requested. The military will go in during the emergency relief phase. The first three days are the most critical, followed by the combined search-and-rescue phase the next four days. After a week, the chances of survival are reduced drastically, so we will go into the stabilisation phase, where we start to treat people and stabilise their emotions. After that, we will pull out. He added that, for other militaries to go in, the local military and government had to invest resources to provide transport and liaison, to sustain the foreign militaries in their relief operations. Staying too long might hinder the local military in getting back to their own duties. COL Lim revealed that the RHCC hosted the United Nations World Humanitarian Forum in Singapore earlier this year, which provided the opportunity for international networks to share information among practitioners from different countries. In closing, he reiterated the importance of a strong information-sharing network, and urged for such practices to continue so that it would be easier for foreign and local militaries to work together on the ground.


View all our videos on our YouTube channel. Click here.
like us on facebook