CHANGE IN SENIOR SAF LEADERSHIP
Chief of Army MG Perry Lim will take over from LG Ng Chee Meng as Chief of Defence Force on 18 Aug. BG Melvyn Ong will assume the appointment of Chief of Army on 14 Aug.
Defence Policy & DiplomacySingapore's defence policy is fundamentally based on the twin pillars of deterrence and diplomacy.
Defence SpendingInvesting wisely and prudently to build up a strong and capable defence force.
Strengthen NSStrengthening NS as the critical institution for Singapore’s continued survival and success.
Total DefenceTotal Defence involves every Singaporean playing a part to build a strong, secure and cohesive nation.
3rd Generation SAFThe 3rd Generation SAF is a strong and integrated force that operates across a full spectrum of operations.
OVERSEAS OPERATIONSThe SAF contributes towards multinational humanitarian & security support operations.
Defence ProcurementMaintaining a robust and comprehensive procurement process to adhere to the most rigorous standards.
System of AuditsEnsuring a robust system of internal & external audits for accountability and transparency.
Anti-Corruption PolicyMINDEF and SAF adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption.
29 Jul 2015, 2315 hours (GMT +8)
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented defence scholarships to 43 recipients at a ceremony held at the Istana on 29 Jul. These were: the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship, presented to 10 recipients; SAF Merit Scholarship, presented to 20 recipients; and Defence Merit Scholarship, presented to 13 recipients. In his speech, Dr Ng spoke of the challenging careers that the scholars would have ahead of them, saying: This is not a routine desk-job career that you have signed up for. An SAF career will stretch you and test you. But if they overcame the challenges, the scholars would have a meaningful career and make a large impact on society. He said: I do not think this wide impact of SAF scholars on society at large is a matter of coincidence, because the military is inherently an ideal ground to test and groom leaders. Dr Ng urged the scholars to win the respect of the men and women you lead, before they will charge for you. Effete or uncaring leadership is quickly shown up. He added: Those who have gone on this path before you have blazed a trail and set high standards that you must now aspire to…If each generation shows the same unwavering determination to take up the duty of defending Singapore, I am confident that we will be able to confront uncertainties with courage and resilience, and emerge stronger as a nation. Introduced in 1971, the prestigious SAF Scholarship, formerly known as SAF Overseas Scholarship, is second only to the President's Scholarship. Recipient of the SAF Scholarship, Army Officer Cadet (OCT) Jeremiah Choo Yih Shin, is excited about the opportunities that the scholarship will offer him. He said: I feel that taking up a leadership position in the SAF comes with a lot of responsibility, but it will really empower me to make a difference to the lives of people, especially National Servicemen. OCT Goh Si Ying, SAF Merit Scholarship (Women) recipient who is training to be a Ground Based Air Defence officer in the Republic of Air Force, also looks forward to effecting change. I would be able to inspire the men I lead, she said. I really wish the day will come when someone walks up to me and tells me, 'I've made it so far because of you.'…Making a difference in the lives of my men is something that I aspire to do. Fellow SAF Merit Scholarship (Combat) recipient Second Lieutenant (2LT) Surya Padmanabha Bhat, a Naval Officer, feels that taking up the scholarship will allow him to grow and mature as an individual and as a leader. He said the scholarship offered him a chance and the means to further his growth as a young adult: Firstly, by allowing me to gain exposure in an overseas university, where the experience and demands will temper me, and secondly, by allowing me to take up greater responsibilities and affect more meaningful improvements for my charges. For Defence Merit Scholar Tay Jing Yi, she found that the core values of the SAF were aligned with hers, hence taking up the scholarship was a natural choice. She said: I believe that, if I were to take up a scholarship, there has to be meaning in it, and I must agree with what the organisation is doing; (which) I completely do when it comes to the Defence Merit Scholarship.
28 Jul 2015, 2300 hours (GMT +8)
Starting out at the lowest level in the military, Ignatius Wang, 25, rose to become Director of Music of the SAF Ceremonial Band, and is one of the youngest band directors in the history of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). For someone who was dealt a poor hand - he grew up in a single-parent family with no means to give him an education in music - he has done extremely well. In 2012, Military Expert 4 (ME4) Wang, a tourism diploma holder, received an SAF scholarship to study music at the famed Royal Marines School of Music in the United Kingdom. His course mates were accomplished musicians and degree holders in their late 30s. But he held his own, and became the first foreigner to obtain a music degree from the institute, graduating with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Music in Professional Music Studies. It was a big eye-opener, and a fantastic opportunity to study. But at the same time, it was stressful because I was not just representing the SAF, but the country as well, recalled ME4 Wang, who now leads about 30 musicians in the Band. ME4 Wang was among the 125 SAF personnel - 15 from the Army, 24 from the Navy, 72 from the Air Force, and 14 from Joint - who were appointed as Senior Military Experts in a ceremony at SAFTI Military Institute on 28 Jul. This was the largest graduating cohort since the first appointment ceremony in 2011. The ceremony marked the completion of the Military Domain Experts Course (MDEC) which trains military experts in areas such as engineering, nursing, intelligence and military music. ME4 Wang has performed in several high-profile events this year, such as the opening of the SEA Games, and the SAF Day Parade. He will also be performing in the upcoming National Day Parade. On his role as a military musician, ME4 Wang said: The SAF has seen the importance of garnering support (for) National Service and the Armed Forces. The Band can be an important bridge between the military and the people. In his speech, Minister of State for Defence Dr Maliki Bin Osman highlighted the importance of the deep expertise of military experts in readying the SAF to tackle security threats. For instance, to overcome an impending manpower crunch the SAF is facing due to a declining birth rate, the Navy's military experts designed the new Littoral Mission Vessel such that it can be operated by a lean crew of only 23. Similar ships in other navies require twice the number of crew. Dr Maliki urged the graduands to never stop learning, to continue to innovate and adapt for your missions. Continuous learning ME4 Pang Kee Hwee, 42, who received the Sword of Honour for topping the cohort, is one such serviceman. He joined the Air Force as a senior technician in 1993 after obtaining his diploma. Little did he know that his career would lead him to don the ME4 rank - the equivalent of a newly-commissioned officer. Such a career path did not exist then. Nevertheless he gave his best, and studied part-time to obtain an advanced diploma, and later a degree, juggling his studies with his day job. When I joined as a senior technician, I (knew) I would never be an officer, he recalled. But after the conversion to the Military Domain Expert Scheme, it actually gave me the opportunity to go (on) to (become) a senior military expert. Now a Command Chief of 805 Squadron (SQN), he leads about 250 engineers to maintain the F-16 fighter jets, and G-550 Airborne Early Warning aircraft. Being a senior military expert comes with greater responsibility, and I am looking forward to the challenges, he said. Different path ME4 David Mohan S/O Arumugan, 47, took a slightly different path, honing his skills through military and leadership courses in the SAF. He joined the Navy with N-levels, but his combat abilities were top-notch, allowing him to rise through the ranks and take on higher appointments - from a gunner to a weapon system operator, then from a coxswain of a ship to a coxswain of a squadron today. Going through a professional military course like the MDEC, he said, had allowed him to gain a better understanding of how his counterparts in the Army and Air Force work. The knowledge will be useful when he assumes a bigger management role as a senior military expert in the future. We might not be aware of how the three Services come together. Coming to this type of course, we could share and discuss some of (our own) doctrines at a deeper level, he said. The newly-appointed Senior Military Experts will move on to assume command or staff appointments in their professional areas in the SAF.
28 Jul 2015, 1755 hours (GMT +8)
In celebration of Singapore's Golden Jubilee, the Red Lions will be returning to the Padang for this year’s National Day Parade (NDP). It is during the Prologue of the Integrated Show that the Red Lions will be executing their jump and making their much-anticipated entrance. Flying in a Super Puma of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 126 Squadron, the six jumpers will exit the helicopter individually at 10,000 feet, and manoeuvre towards each other. They will then link arms with each other and keep close, freefalling to a height of 5,000 feet, where they will turn outwards and track away, executing a bomb burst of trailing smoke. At 4,000 feet, they will deploy their parachutes and glide downwards till they are set up for the landing circuit at 1,000 feet above ground, then take their turns to land, one by one, in the middle of the Padang. The Padang has its own set of issues and challenges that we face, said Red Lions Team Leader Major (MAJ) Arnold Low. The wind condition will always be one of the biggest challenges. It can change in terms of the direction that it comes from, and also the velocity. Other than that, there are obstacles that we face like the tower structures, the seating galleries, and the trees which we have to watch out for. To overcome these challenges and put up a good and safe performance for the spectators at NDP 2015, the Red Lions have been undergoing a vigorous training schedule which includes sessions at iFly Singapore as well as using the Parachute Flight Simulator located at Pasir Ris Camp. Using the vertical wind tunnel at iFly Singapore, the Red Lions practise the freefall segment of their performance by fine-tuning their body positioning as they freefall. Explaining that there are four stages of freefall - exit, freefall, canopy control, and landing - MAJ Low said: The wind tunnel comes into play during the second phase of freefall where we are able to fly our bodies better, and fine-tune our skillset. It also allows us to gather together as a team and rehearse the manoeuvres that we are going to do during the NDP, and make sure that we know how each other flies his body. The Parachute Flight Simulator, which the Red Lions have been using since April, is also essential to their mastering the freefall and ensuring that their performance goes off without a hitch. As MAJ Low explained: It puts us in a simulated and controlled environment that allows us to try various kinds of jumps in various kinds of environments… (and) to assess and react according to various kinds of malfunctions which we can input into the system. He added: We know that we are a crowd favourite, and we don't want to disappoint the crowd… We are really looking forward to putting up a good show!
27 Jul 2015, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
Photographer LTA (NS) Mark Teo will go to any length, depth and height to immortalise extreme sporting athletes in picture. Lieutenant (LTA) (NS) Mark Teo is a bona fide storyteller. Watching him recount his harrowing experiences with animated hand gestures and dramatic sound effects, one can almost relive vicariously those terrifying moments. He narrated an incident in Sri Lanka where he was attempting an underwater shoot at a surfing competition: I took a jet ski out and jumped into the sea with my camera. One wave crashes down on you, and by the time you come up for air, swoosh! another one is coming. I thought I was going to die! With such a knack for recreating experiences, it is no wonder that the 32-year-old, who heads Mark Teo Photography, has a passion for telling stories by holding time still through his photos.
26 Jul 2015, 2300 hours (GMT +8)
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)'s Golden Jubilee commemoration reached a rousing highpoint with President Tony Tan Keng Yam joining SAF personnel and their families in the celebration. At the SAF50@Istana event held on 26 Jul, President Tan interacted with Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), Operationally-ready National Servicemen (NSmen), regulars, as well as SAF pioneers. He also spoke with the families of servicemen and women and thanked them for their support towards the SAF and National Service (NS). About 21,000 visitors, including members of the public, attended the event at the Istana. The event featured exhibitions and activities highlighting the SAF's journey and growth over the last 50 years, as well as stories about the men and women who built up the armed forces. Ms Jessie Lee was excited to bring the generations of soldiers in her family from across the Services together to the event. Her husband, Major (MAJ) (NS) Jeffery Lim, a Weapons System Officer in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), was a former regular while his father, MAJ (Ret) Richard Lim, was an infantry officer. MAJ (NS) Lim's younger brother, Corporal First Class (CFC) (NS) Desmond Lim, served his NS in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The mother-of-two found the exhibitions beneficial to her children, particularly her four-year-old son. It's especially important for the younger generation to understand how far we have come in 50 years; it's difficult for them to appreciate it without having gone through the hardships that the older generation went through. This opportunity enables them to appreciate what the older generation went through to build up the nation, said Ms Lee. She added: My son will be going to NS in about 14 years; it's an early start but it sets the tone for him. As for Ms Veni Ramasamy, the highlight of the event was not only to visit the Istana, but also to meet the colleagues of her husband, 121 Squadron Command Chief, 1st Warrant Officer (1WO) A. Kumareson. Said Ms Veni: It's a very good feeling meeting his friends and colleagues. We felt a sense of community with the other families. The kids also feel very proud seeing Dad here. She added: We support him all the way - the kids are usually at tuition on Sundays, but today we let them skip tuition to support him here. Military families A welcome sight at SAF50@Istana were the multi-generational military families who were there to celebrate with the members of the public. Lieutenant (LTA) Julie Lim, a pilot trainee, was reminded of the open houses that her father, Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Lim Kok Kheng, used to take the family to. Such events are what inspired me in the first place to join the force. When we were young we went to such open houses with our father and that's how we got to know the military culture and what he does in his work. The exhibition also gives the public and families of servicemen a better idea of what they do to defend the country, said the 21-year-old. She credited her father, a Super Puma pilot, for inspiring herself and her sister to follow in his footsteps. Younger sister Jessie Lim, 19, is currently an undergraduate under the Defence Merit Scholarhip. I'm passing over the baton to them to continue the good work that has been done by our pioneers and even my generation, said SLTC Lim. Hopefully they can take the SAF to a higher level. Corporal (CPL) (NS) Sadali Mawi was also heartened by the show of support by the public. It shows that our families are 100 percent behind people in the SAF and Singapore in general. The turnout is a good indication of the support that Singaporeans have for what we are doing. The encouraging sight was especially precious to him, since both his parents and brother-in-law are in the military. Mum 2nd Warrant Officer (2WO) Saloma bte Johari is a Training Admin Supervisor in the SAF Personnel Hub, Dad 2WO (Ret) Mawi bin Mohd is currently an FB manager in Pasir Laba Camp, and brother-in-law Captain (CPT) Rudie Imran is a Staff Officer in 3rd Division. Being in a military family has its pros, according to CPL (NS) Sadali. When it was my time to enlist, I was super prepared. I had been following them to the camps since I was a small kid, so I kind of knew what to expect. With that knowledge I was able to help my other NS friends as well. His parents were also glad that he adapted well to NS. Said 2WO Saloma: He had been 'trained' from the very beginning on what to expect in the army. 2WO Mawi agreed: I knew he would be well taken care of by my colleagues from the whole SAF. They would keep him in check. So it's not to say that if your parents are in the SAF you will have privileges, sometimes it's worse. There are eyes everywhere, joked CPL (NS) Sadali on the only con of being in a military family. As for Mr Michael Sim, his two sailor children are living out the dream he had been unable to fulfil. As a child, he had developed a deep love for the army after hearing how an unidentified soldier had risked his life to shield his father during an air raid. Unfortunately, he received a full exemption when it was his turn to enlist. Undaunted, he encouraged his children to consider a military career and contribute to national defence on his behalf. Today, eldest daughter CPT Marilyn Sim is an Assistant Operations Officer on board RSS Intrepid while her brother, Military Expert 1 Marven Sim is a Weapon Control System Operator on board RSS Supreme. I was overwhelmed (with emotion) when my children told me they wanted to sign on, because I had been selling the idea to them. When my daughter stepped up, I said, 'Ok, that's my Hua Mulan. I couldn't serve, but you help me serve, he said, referencing the legendary Chinese heroine who took her father's place to fight in the war. My son followed suit. He wanted to be committed (to defence), so he took up the scheme even before he began polytechnic. His third child is also keen to join the RSN after he completes his studies. Mr Sim's very personal story of his relationship with the SAF won him second place in the SAF50 Story Contest. Having seen the developments made by the SAF over the years, he was happy to be part of the celebrations at the Istana. This (50th anniversary) is a very big milestone for the SAF. It's about time we had something big to honour our people from the past and present, and hopefully in doing so, it will encourage the new generation to take on the role of defending the country, said Mr Sim.
25 Jul 2015, 2000 hours (GMT +8)
With eight celebration sites around the Marina Bay area, more Singaporeans will be able to celebrate the country's 50th birthday together. Spectators will be able to catch a live screening of the National Day Parade (NDP) at the Padang on giant LED screens that will be mounted at these sites, which include The Float @ Marina Bay; Marina Bay Sands event plaza; Marina Bay Sandssquare; The Promontory; Merlion Park; the Esplanade; the Singapore Flyer; and Marina Barrage. At the same time, they will be able to soak in the atmosphere and get close to the action. These locations offer a great view of the aerial display, mobile column, presidential gun salute, and fireworks. The largest site is The Float @ Marina Bay, where apre-parade show will be presented by community groups such as the People's Association (PA). About 700 choir and ukulele performers from the PA will lead the spectators to perform popular community songs. A segment of the mobile column made up of 28 combat vehicles will also roll past The Float. Localcelebrities like Sheikh Haikel, Jack Neo, and the cast of the Ah Boys to Men movies will also put up a post-parade concert for spectators. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, who took a short ride on a Leopard 2SG tank as part of the mobile column and visited performers at a pre-parade show rehearsal earlier this afternoon at The Float, said: What we are trying to do - because Padang is (of) limited capacity - (is) to spread it out. We're expecting 150,000 to 200,000 around the area. And I believe that we're on our way to really making everyone feel that this is something that all of us can participate in. Colonel Frederick Choo, Chairman of Engagement, Celebrations, and Mobile Column, added: We felt that, this being a very special year, we needed to leverage on the collective spirit, and (have more) people come together and celebrate. When over 200,000 Singaporeans come together in one location, the atmosphere and the spirit will be electrifying. Around the Bay, street magicians, poi twirlers, drummers and dancers will put up roving performances. The NDP organisers have developed a free mobile app, called Celebrate SG50!, to provide information about the many celebratory activities in the Marina Bay area. During the finale of the parade, theapp will display flashing red and white lights. All Singaporeans around the Bay will be encouraged to raise their smartphones in the air to light up the skyline with red and white colours. Meanwhile, the full-dress rehearsals of the NDP - also known as the NDP National Education (NE) Shows - are in full swing. About 190 members of the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD), Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs (GPC-DFA), employers, educators as well as their family members are attending the third NDP NE Show on 25 Jul. Before the show, Second Minister for Defence Lui Tuck Yew hosted them to an engagement session at the National Gallery. For more information on NDP 2015, visit http://www.ndp.org.sg/ or download the Celebrate SG50! app.