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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.
03 Jul 2015, 2015 hours (GMT +8)
There's a new ship on the horizon. And its name is Independence. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) commemorated the launch of its newest ship, the first Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), Independence. Held at the Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine) yard on 3 Jul, the launching ceremony was officiated by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. The LMV was launched by Mrs Ivy Ng, wife of Dr Ng. Addressing the guests at the ceremony, Dr Ng reiterated the RSN’s role in protecting Singapore's sea lines of communication, which are vital for the nation's economic well-being. He said: It was dominantly due to the fact that the people of the RSN believed fervently in this mission - they believed that they could protect the waters around us - that we have continually moved 'onwards and upwards, never looking back', and that today, we are able to stand here together, amid peace and security of our surrounding seas. Uniquely Singaporean In his speech, Dr Ng also highlighted that the LMV was uniquely Singaporean, having been planned, conceptualised and built locally to meet our requirements. The launch of Independence marked the first time a Navy ship was completely designed and built in Singapore. A total of eight LMVs, including Independence, would be built by ST Marine locally, based on a design jointly developed by ST Marine and Saab Kockums AB. The RSN worked closely with the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) for about three years to determine its engineering, logistical and operational requirements, before contracting ST Engineering Ltd in January 2013for the LMV construction. Smarter, faster and sharper The LMVs are smarter and faster ships, equipped with sharper capabilities. They can be configured with mission modules to suit a wide spectrum of operations. Lethal and non-lethal options also allow them to deliver calibrated responses and defend against different types of threats. With Singapore's decreasing population, manpower considerations were a priority. Thus, the LMVs were designed to maximise the potential of a leaner crew. Explained Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Chew Chun-Chau, Head of the LMV Project Office: Using technology to replace mundane, low-end tasks allows the crew to (concentrate on) the high-end tasks. This will not only tap on the knowledge of the better-educated crew, but also enable us to operate with a much smaller crew size. One of the key design features of the LMV is the Integrated Command Centre (ICC). Where previously the Bridge, Combat Information Centre (CIC) and Machinery Control Room (MCR) were located in different parts of a ship, the three would now be co-located in the ICC. This will integrate and synergise the management of navigation, engineering and combat functions. On top of this, the 360-degree bridge with windows on all sides will provide an unobstructed view of the sea lanes. Another key feature is in designing the support, where maintainability of the ship's equipment is a primary consideration. Previously, the ship's design centred on supporting the design, with emphasis being placed on the ship's capabilities. This meant that the priority was to acquire the best parts and equipment for the ship, while considerations for support and maintenance came after. Crews would have to learn to adapt to the limitations of the equipment. This time around, the RSN and DSTA worked together with subject matter experts from our maintenance bases to look at the capabilities of the systems and also the long-term supportability - how the systems could be designed in a more reliable manner, with more robust redundancies and to be more maintainable, so that it's more effectively and efficiently supported in the long run, explained Military Expert 5 (ME5) Tang Chee Meng, Principal Engineer in the LMV Project Office. We are moving into a new era where we make designs that are user-centric instead of the traditional technology-centred approach, said Mr Matthew Yong, Programme Director of Naval Systems in DSTA. We filter what we term 'latent requirements' - not (just) what they ask for, but what they need, and bring it out so that we design to meet their requirements. With the maintenance and support processed streamlined, real cost and man hours are also reduced, and turnaround time between missions is also shortened. This will enhance the operational readiness of the ship. It's a mindset shift to place support in its proper standing, said ME5 Tang. Passing on the baton At approximately two-and-a-half times the size of the Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs), the LMVs are set to replace their predecessors in watching over Singapore's waters. LTC Tay Choong Hern, who will be the first Commanding Officer (CO) of Independence, looked forward to working in the new ICC. He was CO of PV RSS Fearless from 2012 to 2014. These (the Bridge, MCR and CIC of the PV) are located separately; and not seeing one another, we rely on communications to make decisions and get situational awareness. With this Integrated Command Centre, we are able to have everybody co-located, using the same Command and Control System and have the awareness that we previously couldn't have. He added: The 360-degree bridge allows us to look out further. For the type of operations and the area we are in, it has very much improved the amount of time taken to make a decision, the awareness that we can have out of the window…so that we can deliver sharper responses. LTC (Ret) Lim Hock Chye, who was the first CO of PV RSS Independence, was impressed by the automation level of the new LMVs: This is the way to go. Automation not only allows you to run the ship efficiently, it is also more effective in terms of speed. He added: I must say that the people operating this ship are far more capable, because this new generation is educated, fast, and very sharp. I believe that the LMV will outperform most of the ships from the previous generation. Independence is expected to be fully operational by 2017, and all eight LMVs, fully operational by 2020.
03 Jul 2015, 0930 hours (GMT +8)
They came from all walks of life to join the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) during its formative years. These SAF pioneers share their stories. Most would know the tale of how Singapore's defence in 1965 started with two infantry battalions of 50 officers and about 1,000 men for the Army, and two ships for the Navy. There was no air force. From there, the Ministry of the Interior and Defence (pre-cursor to the present-day Ministry of Defence) started to build up the SAF. In 1967, National Service was started. The Army had the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR and 2 SIR). These were bolstered by the Singapore Volunteer Corps and Vigilante Corps to protect sites of strategic importance. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), with its roots in the Singapore Naval Volunteer Force (SNVF), started off with three ships. Of the three, only two were seaworthy. In 1968, the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC) was formed. It used Cessna 172 aircraft to train its pilots for Singapore's first fighter aircraft - the Hawker Hunters - which were added to the fleet in 1970. Five years later, the SADC became the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). These hodge-podge beginnings carried a generation of men and women who came together and built the defence of Singapore. Here are their personal stories as they recount the early years.
02 Jul 2015, 0700 hours (GMT +8)
As theSAF celebrates its 50th year of defending the nation,Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng reflects on what the milestone means to him.
01 Jul 2015, 2315 hours (GMT +8)
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) commemorated its 50th year of defending the nation with a special parade officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on SAF Day, 1 Jul. Five F-15SG fighter planes performed a flypast to pay tribute to all regulars and national servicemen - past and present. Also featured was a heli-flypast of the national flag. More than 3000 SAF Regulars, Operationally-ready National Servicemen (NSmen), and Full-time National Servicemen attended the parade at SAFTI Military Institute. Led by Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng, they recited the SAF Pledge to reaffirm their loyalty and commitment to the nation. They also observed a one-minute silence to remember those who died in the line of duty. The parade featured a special ceremony known as Trooping of the Colours, where a contingent carried (or 'trooped') theColours (flags) across the parade square, marching to the beat of music performed by the military band. Parade Commander Lieutenant Colonel Mohd Nizam Bin Yahya said the procession was to honour the Colours on the special occasion of the SAF's Golden Jubilee. This parade is different from other SAF Day parades, he said. Honouring pioneers The parade also recognised the contributions of SAF pioneers, and a video montage paid tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding prime minister, who played an instrumental role in building up the SAF. Some 500 SAF pioneers were guests at the parade. Among them was Major (MAJ) (Ret) Leong Kwai Wah, 74, who was part of the first batch of SAF officer cadets in 1966. He was involved in taking over Tengah Air Base from the British when they started withdrawing their troops from Singapore in the late 1960s. He and fellow pioneers had to deal with the threat of Konfrontasi during the early years of independence. We were put on the frontline to look after the country, recalled the former Air Operations and Communications Officer. MAJ (Ret) Leong, who retired in 1988, added that he was confident that the generation today will continue defending Singapore. Best units, NSmen recognised The parade also recognised the best units of the SAF. Mr Lee presented the State Colours to this year's Best Combat Unit, 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn), which had won the award for the 12th consecutive time. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented the Best Unit and Best National Service Unit awards to 28 SAF units. Sixteen NSmen received the NSman of the Year award from Dr Ng at a reception held after the parade. One of them was Captain (CPT) (NS) Chen Fuwei, 33, a naval diver from the Naval Diving Unit. As the Officer Commanding of the underwater demolition group, he leads a team of about 100 divers. The father of two, aged 3 and 1, has to juggle his work as an assistant director in the Civil Service, family commitments, and NS duties. But strong support from his family and employer allowed him to do his best inhis military work, he said. His family commitments are about to increase. His wife is expecting their third child. Despite this, he has extended his NS cycle. I gained a lot from National Service - very close friends,... fond memories, and useful life skills and values, he said. I see volunteering as a way of giving back... As long as I am fit and capable, I will continue to serve.
01 Jul 2015, 1600 hours (GMT +8)
With our lives! echoed through SAFRA Toa Payoh as 110 Operationally-ready National Servicemen (NSmen) ended their reciting of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Pledge at the East Zone SAF Day 2015 Combined Rededication Ceremony (CRC) on 1 Jul. Officiated by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, the East Zone SAF Day CRC was the first of four CRCs held across the four geological zones in Singapore, the other three being North/North-East, Central Business District (CBD)/South, East, and West. SAF Day CRCs have been organised since 1988, and are undertaken by civilian organisations on a voluntary basis. These organisations invite their business partners and companies that are located in that particular zone to participate in the CRC. Delivering his SAF Day message at the East Zone CRC, Dr Ng emphasised the need for a strong and credible defence, saying: Without a strong defence, Singapore could not have had the opportunity to progress from the Third World to the First. Why were our founding generation and our pioneers so convinced (of the need for a strong SAF)? It was because they had experienced being subjects under British rule, then being prisoners under the Japanese Occupation. After that, they saw saboteurs during the communist threat and Konfrontasi bringing violence and destruction to Singapore. They saw it with their own eyes…They learnt very bitter lessons … that when you're not in charge of your own destiny, others can reap what you sow, others can destroy what you built. One of the NSmen taking part in the ceremony was Captain (CPT) (NS) Low Kok Ping Leonard, General Manager of Feoso Energy Pte Ltd, and Company Second-in-Charge of Maintenance Company, 3rd Forward Combat Service Support Battalion. He agreed with what Dr Ng said. I think National Service is very important, said CPT (NS) Low. I've been privileged to travel to many places and have lived in other countries, so I think that what we have here in Singapore is very precious and is worth defending. CPT (NS) Low also found the CRC to be a meaningful one, saying: It is a very good way of recommitting oneself to the SAF and to the country… a good reminder that we are serving something bigger than ourselves - we are serving our country and our fellow Singaporeans. In total, more than 650 NSmen from 354 companies and their employers gathered to reaffirm their commitment to defence on SAF Day. Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Defence Lui Yuck Yew officiated at the West Zone CRC at the SIT@Dover. Minister, Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing officiated at the CBD/South Zone and Built Environment Partners CRC; and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin officiated at the North/North-East Zone SAF Day CRC at the Institute for Technical Education College Central.
30 Jun 2015, 1800 hours (GMT +8)
The Singapore Armed Forced (SAF) continues to evolve and transform, to deal with new, complex challenges and emerging threats, many of which are transnational. It has to keep transforming because challenges change; if not in nature, then in the scale of it. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said this during a media interview at the Ministry of Defence on 26 Jun, ahead of SAF Day, 1 Jul. Towards integrated systems Reiterating that the SAF's strategy was never to compete with numbers but with superior skills and knowledge, intelligence, information and technology, Dr Ng said that the SAF was moving towards integrated systems. These systems would allow individual teams to call on the resources of the Army, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), thereby creating a multiplier effect from the shared information and resources. Networked force … means that any individual is able to see a wider area and with more precision than he could otherwise have. When you enter an environment, you enter an environment knowing what (it) is, and that makes a big difference in terms of modern warfare, he said. He added that the SAF would have better equipment that would enable soldiers to sense their environment and respond faster. One example is the upgrading of the RSAF's F-16 fighter jets, which have been in service since 1998. The F-16 will get a new Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar that will extend its detection range and enable it to track and engage multiple targets at greater distances. It will also come with datalink capability and an advanced helmet-mounted display that will provide pilots with superior situational awareness. The upgrade will commence next year in phases, over five to six years. More unmanned systems Dr Ng also announced that the SAF would be moving towards more unmanned systems, and systems that combine both manned and unmanned elements. With unmanned systems already deployed in the air and on sea, such as the RSAF's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and the RSN's Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel, more will be expected to be deployed on land as well. The RSAF recently marked the Full Operational Capability status of its Hermes 450 UAV in March this year. Cyber defence for non-traditional threats A new form of warfare is emerging: the hybrid warfare. Dr Ng had explained during the Committee of Supply Debate on 6 Mar that hybrid warfare is an orchestrated campaign to fracture the solidarity of the target nation through undermining its defences in civil, economic, social, psychological and military spheres. He said: This is an important area that the SAF is focused on because small states like Singapore are particularly susceptible to hybrid warfare. More so because we are an open economy, connected to the world, and subject to varying influences. He added that hybrid warfare was now being carefully studied by students of military strategy for its ability to soften the belly of a target nation for many years and finally bring it down to its knees slowly, because people have lost the will through misinformation, or prepositioning (that) would have reduced the ability (of the target nation) to respond. Thus, cyberspace, an essential tool of hybrid warfare, is the new frontier to defend against. It can cripple your systems, it can steal your secrets, (and) give disinformation to your people such that it affects morale, he said. The Cyber Defence Operations Hub was set up in 2013. Dr Ng announced that, to guard against emerging cyber threats, an increase in Regulars and NSmen (Operationally-ready National Servicemen) being deployed to cyber ops could be expected. The Hub would also enable non-combat fit soldiers to play a bigger role in national defence. Said Dr Ng: Now you have a new arena where more and more people can make a fundamental difference, a bigger impact, (and) contribute more. We have the same proportion of non-combat fit soldiers, but (where) previously you can't use them in combat, now you can use them (in cyber defence). Bigger roles for NSmen One of the challenges the SAF is facing is Singapore's shifting demography. On top of falling birth rates, there is also an increasing number of marriages between Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans. This will lead to a growing population raised on diverse influences, said Dr Ng. Nonetheless, he was assured that the new generations of Full-time National Servicemen remained committed to defending the nation. He said: We've been able to maintain and integrate, and bring in each year new (Full-time) National Servicemen who identify with the needs, the ethos, the history of Singapore, and why we need a strong SAF. He said that, while there was no current need to extend the length of National Service or conscript women, the modern weapon systems would require NSmen to take on more responsibilities and higher positions of command. He highlighted the RSN's deployment of warships completely run by NSmen. The RSN currently has seven units that are staffed by NSmen, and this makes it one of the few navies in the world to deploy ships run fully by reservist forces. One of these warships that have an entire crew of naval NSmen is missile corvette RSS Vigilance. Dr Ng added that the SAF would continue to explore deploying NSmen in areas such as intelligence and unmanned systems. SAF50 celebrations Dr Ng highlighted some upcoming events in the ongoing celebrations to mark the SAF's Golden Jubilee this year. These include the SAF Day parade and dinner, which will be officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; and the SAF50@Istana event which will be graced by President Tony Tan Keng Yam. There is also an SAF50 book to commemorate the special occasion. The book, which will be launched by PM Lee on 24 Jul, contains more than 40 personal stories about the SAF, written by individuals from all walks of life. Dr Ng also paid tribute to founding leaders and pioneers who, having lived through Singapore's tumultuous times under the British rule and Japanese Occupation, understood the urgent need for a strong defence force. These bitter and painful lessons that they experienced first-hand etched in them a deep conviction that, when we need to, we must be able to defend ourselves, said Dr Ng. He added: Without the ability to defend ourselves, they learnt that you can only own what you can defend. If you can’t defend it, you don't own it. Others will sow what you reap; others will break down what you build. Thus, he believed that it was important for the SAF to celebrate its 50 years of growth: This SAF50 is to remind us how far we’ve come and because of that, how much further we can go. The aim … is to commemorate and celebrate, to recognise that there has been a long journey, but a very transformational one, a very successful one, he said.