NEW IPPT FORMAT, SCORING FROM 1 APR 2015
The 5-station IPPT will be cut to 3 stations to encourage personal ownership of fitness, while the scoring system will be updated to motivate personal excellence.
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 2014, 2300 hours (GMT +8)
It was at a recruitment talk during Basic Military Training that 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Bryan Lim was introduced to the idea of being a naval officer. The vision of him being the captain of a warship captivated him so much that he decided to sign on with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Besides the nature of the job, which entailed sailing and going on missions, the 20-year-old also felt that the purpose of the SAF also resonated strongly with him because the SAF is vital for Singapore's survival. The eldest of three siblings, who will go on to read International Relations at Tufts University in Boston, United States, is looking forward to the day when he commands his own ship. I want to be a commander whom everybody on the ship, regardless of rank, won't be afraid to bring up any concerns. You may be the lowest-ranking personnel on the ship, but you won’t be shy to suggest changes because you know that the captain believes in you and your captain is open to new ideas. 2LT Lim was among the six recipients who received the prestigious SAF Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS) from Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Istana on 29 Jul. In his speech to the scholars, Dr Ng said: As scholarship recipients, much is expected from you. There is one essential aspect that you must personally be responsible for and cannot delegate - that of personal integrity and trust. The organisation and the public will look to you to embody and uphold the highest standards of integrity and devotion to duty while serving MINDEF and the SAF. Apart from the six SAFOS recipients, 18 were awarded the SAF Merit Scholarship (SMS) and seven received the Defence Merit Scholarship (DMS). The SAFOS, SMS and DMS were introduced in 1971, 1983, and 2002 respectively to recruit top students into the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the SAF. SAFOS and SMS recipients return to the SAF after completing their studies to assume a variety of challenging appointments that will groom them for senior command and leadership positions. Similarly, DMS recipients will return as Defence Executive Officers and be groomed for senior management positions. Fellow SAFOS recipient Officer Cadet (OCT) Richard Kwek looks forward to the day when he can fly his own fighter plane to contribute to the defence of Singapore. A trip on a C-130 transport aircraft during an internship programme with MINDEF in his junior college days cemented his decision to sign on with the Republic of Singapore Air Force to be a pilot. Said the 19-year-old who will go on study Law at University College London: As I looked out of the window at the country, I thought to myself, this is home. This is home for me, and I really feel that I want to use my life to defend this country. For SMS recipient Lieutenant (LTA) Tinaesrupan A Jagadessan, receiving the scholarship was not the easiest of all journeys as his parents separated when he was in Primary 6. As such, he was left a lot to his own devices and made a lot of mistakes. The 22-year-old had chosen to repeat his first year of junior college when he fared less than ideally. To him, it was one of the best decisions he made in his life, as his original results could have cost him his scholarship. I always tell my men, if you want to do something, do it well. That's one of my principles in life, said the Armoured Infantry Officer. LTA Tinaesrupan, who will go on to read Engineering at the University of Cambridge, also hopes to motivate his men through his childhood experiences. When my men come to me, one of my higher priorities is to make sure that they have a fulfilling NSF life… And I think it's nice to be sort of a bigger brother to them when they need help. Similarly, OCT Zara Toh hopes to bring her personal touch to her future appointment in the Guards formation and also, to get to know her men better and ensure that they have a positive NS experience. The 19-year-old chose a career with the SAF because she did not want a desk-bound job and loved that the SAF environment was both physically challenging and mentally demanding. She will be leaving for her studies in Liberal Arts at New York University after completing her Guards Conversion Course and Officer Cadet Commissioning in early 2015. While most people have the impression that one has to be in uniform to contribute to MINDEF and the SAF, Ms Jessie Lim thinks otherwise. The DMS recipient, who will specialise in Psychology at University College London, hopes to contribute to the Defence Psychology Department when she returns from her studies. One of her aspirations is to use psychology to maximise the potential of every individual in the SAF. The award ceremony was also attended by senior officials from MINDEF and the SAF, members of the Public Service Commission, in-service scholars and parents of the recipients
26 Jul 2014, 1900 hours (GMT +8)
Toa Payoh has a different feel this weekend as the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) celebrates its 45th anniversary in the bustling residential town. The event at Toa Payoh kicks off the series of RSAF45@Heartlands exhibitions over four weekends from 26 Jul to 31 Aug. If you have ever fancied yourself a pilot or just wanted to get up close to some of the cool machines the Air Force uses to defend Singapore's skies, this series of exhibitions is for you. After its two-day run at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub, it will move to Jurong East (16 to 17 Aug), Sengkang (23 to 24 Aug) and Yishun (30 to 31 Aug). Some of the hardware on display are the Hermes 450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) weapons systems such as the Surface-to-Air PYthon and DERby missile system and RBS-70 GBAD system on board a V200 vehicle. The RSAF45@Heartlands series of exhibitions was launched by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen on 26 Jul. At the exhibition, Dr Ng spoke to servicemen and women who were involved in the RSAF's round-the-clock air defence operations and search-and-rescue missions. Also at the exhibition was Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman. When asked why the RSAF decided to celebrate its 45th anniversary this way, Deputy Chairman of the RSAF45@Heartlands executive committee Colonel (COL) Randy Ong said: We thought it was a good idea to bring the Air Force to the heartlands to celebrate our significant milestones with fellow Singaporeans. It's also an opportunity for Singaporeans to better understand our capabilities and our people behind the scenes who work to safeguard our skies, added COL Ong, who is Commander Paya Lebar Air Base. The exhibits are split into three segments. The first is a historical showcase which explains the RSAF's transformation over the past 45 years. The second offers hands-on experience, featuring the operational capabilities of the 3rd Generation RSAF. It is here that visitors can try their hands at the flying simulators and aviation-related games. cyberpioneer spotted father-and-son pair Wilson Neo, 41, and six-year-old Zachary at this section. Said Mr Neo: Exhibitions like this are good! We get to see our forces up close. Seeing the equipment we have makes me confident in our Air Force's capabilities. The exhibition also reminded Mr Neo that the RSAF, like the larger Singapore Armed Forces, is made up of many Singaporeans like himself. I bumped into a friend who was manning his system here with his National Service unit! said the financial services director, who saw defence as not just the job of Regulars, but all those who serve NS. The NSman friend whom Mr Ng bumped into was Major (MAJ) (NS) Ronald Cheong, an insurance consultant, who serves as Deputy Commanding Officer of the 6th Divisional Air Defence Battalion. When asked why he was making time to take part in the series of exhibitions, he said: It's to show the public that NSmen, too, are committed to defence…. (and) also to re-live the camaraderie with my NS mates, many of whom I have known for more than 10 years! Visitors to the exhibitions can speak to airmen and women who will share their experiences in multinational operations such as reconstruction missions in Afghanistan, and humanitarian efforts in the wake of the recent Typhoon Haiyan. One of these airmen at the Toa Payoh exhibition is 3rd Sergeant (NS) Manesh s/o Rangarajan. The 25-year-old Full-time National Serviceman was deployed in the relief operations in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. He said: Being able to share my experience with other Singaporeans is a privilege for me, and it's a good opportunity to tell people what we did there. One of these experiences I like to tell people is the time when five of us unloaded 150 heavy sacks of rice (for the typhoon victims). We just had to do it ourselves due to lack of manpower, said 3SG Manesh who is a Load Specialist at Paya Lebar Air Base.
25 Jul 2014, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
From selling chickens and cleaning linen to being the Chief Executive of Cathay, Mr Suhaimi Rafdi has done it all. Despite his success, he has always kept himself grounded. Looking at his well-tailored suit, confident posture at the head of the table in a large conference room and the Starbucks coffee in his hands, you would never have guessed that the current Chief Executive of Cathay Organisation was once a counter boy at KFC. Through his stories, it was clear that the father of four - of whom two are adopted - has a soft spot for people. With a smile, he recounted his previous job as a Housekeeping Manager at Singapore General Hospital; he taught ah-mas how to clean up bedpans properly, and won their hearts by being patient and even teaching them how to read with pictorial cards. Those moments of nostalgia quickly flew by as he moved on to talk about how he was, by a stroke of luck (and some skill of course!), headhunted by Cathay at the age of 28. I thrive under pressure, said the 46-year-old. And the glow on his face was the evidence. It's been six years since he held the Cathay chief position and he is still going strong. Here's his rags-to-riches story. PNR: In Cathay, you had to make changes to the organisational structure on the ground which involved the older generation. How did you deal with that? It's all about good communication and being very above board. I had to tell them firmly: My job is to make changes. It might strain our relationship but I want to let you know that it’s not personal and I hope that you can respect the decisions and changes that I want to make. If you are with me on this, stay on. But if you are not, the doors are not closed. I also had to lead by example. Burning hours in the office during those first few years of the job was crucial. I also made sure that while we worked hard, we played hard too. Whenever we did well, I would give them little treats, such as staff lunches, which they treasured very much. What have you learnt about people management over the years? That I have to be very, very patient and have lots of perseverance. Even today, 60 percent of my time is dedicated to people management. Your own work can be fairly easy, but without them (other people), you can’t do the job. And when you have people from diverse backgrounds with all sorts of attitudes and characters, you have to juggle them and know when to control and when to let go. You were a Corporal during your National Service (NS) days. What was your NS experience like? Punctuality, transparency and integrity are key elements that I picked up during NS. That was also when I learnt the consequences of not doing things right the first time. Because I got married at 18 and had a family to feed, I was already disciplined to a certain extent. NS toughened me up. It gave me the extra discipline that I needed to have in my daily work. What I also found rewarding was the cohesion and camaraderie. Back then, it was already about team building - that everything was not about me or you, but we as a group. As a member of the CSNS (Committee to Strengthen NS) working group, what are your personal views on NS? We have a good defence system in place and I think what the Government is trying to do is see this through with continuity and ensure that there are no lapses. For example, one of the ideas that came up during the discussions was to hire more Regulars to train soldiers more efficiently and effectively. Your eldest son is 26 and has already completed his full-time NS. What advice did you give to your son when he enlisted? I told my son to try to get things right the first time and don’t be too much of a smart aleck. Be a team-player, don't be aloof or try to be Mr Smart Guy and try to win over everybody. Discipline and teamwork are important, so learn everything in camp and make the best of it. As for my four-year-old son, I think it's going to be his elder brother who will advise him. I will have lost touch by the time he enlists! Your story has inspired many. What kind of advice would you give to them? There's no glass ceiling in any organisation unless you perceive as such. Race or culture is not an issue. What we're looking for is the individual's capabilities. How would I have known that Cathay does not have a glass ceiling (other than by) working really, really hard?
24 Jul 2014, 1800 hours (GMT +8)
Singaporean males who have National Service (NS) obligations can start hitting the floor, as push-ups will be included in the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) from next year. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has announced that the IPPT will be simplified to a three-station test format (instead of the current five-station one). Speaking to local media on the changes to IPPT on 23 Jul, Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Perry Lim said: Physical fitness is a personal responsibility and we want our NSmen to take ownership of their physical fitness. We will introduce a simpler IPPT format with fewer stations so that our servicemen can train for IPPT on their own without the need for specialised equipment. Our NSmen can even adopt the new IPPT format for their routine exercise. Push-ups aside, the other two stations will be familiar to Singaporean males. Sit-ups and the 2.4km will remain in the new IPPT format. It tests soldiers on upper body strength (push-ups), abdominal strength (sit-ups) and lower body strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness (2.4km run). Holistic fitness programme The new IPPT format fits in well with the SAF's holistic fitness programme. Explaining the move, MG Lim said: Over the past two years, we have implemented a revised combat fitness training and test regime for our soldiers. The SAF builds up the combat fitness of its soldiers through the Standard Obstacle Course, Vocational Obstacle Course (VOC) and Vocation-Related Exercises (VREs). The VOC and VREs were implemented two years ago. Regular route marches and field exercises also help develop the SAF soldier's combat fitness. Having implemented an effective combat fitness regime, we think it is timely for us to review our IPPT, which is a test of physical fitness, said MG Lim. Selected SAF units - active and NS units - will take part in a pilot implementation programme from September to November this year to determine how best to administer the new format. At least 3,000 servicemen and women of different vocations and age-groups will be involved in this pilot phase. Following the three-month pilot, the new IPPT format will be used across the entire SAF for both active servicemen and NSmen from 1 April 2015. The transition will be gradual, said MG Lim. We are prepared to give NSmen an option to do the existing five-station format or the new format for one to two years after April next year. The changes focus squarely on fitness and less on the method used to measure fitness, said MG Lim. He said: The fitness of our soldiers is essential to the operational readiness of the SAF. Our active service personnel and NSmen need to be fit to perform the tasks that we give them as soldiers. Our servicemen will still need to train to pass IPPT. To achieve Gold and Silver will be just as challenging as before. Easier to train for IPPT For Operationally Ready National Servicemen like Captain (NS) Lim Seow Lye, the simplified IPPT format makes it easier for him to train for the annual test. I can easily train for the two static stations at home, he said. The old five-station IPPT requires equipment to train for, such as pull-up bars and space for exercises such as the Standing Broad Jump. Like many NSmen, the 34-year-old juggles work, family and NS commitments. CPT (NS) Lim is a manager at Certis Cisco and serves in an NS Guards unit. Being able to train for his IPPT even at home is a benefit for him. That way, my wife won't nag that I leave her alone to manage the kid and housework! he laughed. Said Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) (NS) Bervyn Lee, commander of an NS brigade: The numbers tell it; if I had to train for three stations instead of five, it would be easier to train for. SLTC (NS) Lee holds a PhD in Sports and Exercise Psychology, and is a member of the SAF fitness advisory board. He added: To do well in the three stations still requires effort. (And) we shouldn't allow three or five stations to define our fitness… We shouldn't need the SAF or anyone to tell us that we should only be fit for these items. My fitness is mine and mine alone to take care of. Simpler scoring system The scoring system will also change to a simpler format. Soldiers will earn points for their performance in each of the three stations. The entire IPPT will be scored upon a maximum of 100 points. This way, soldiers can make up through more sit-ups, if they are weak in push-ups and running, or vice versa. There's a limit to how much you can make up, but I like this counting system because it encourages NSmen to max out on each station and it plays to the individual's strengths. said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen in a Facebook post on 23 Jul. Though the scoring system has been simplified, soldiers will still need to train for IPPT. Said CPT (NS) Lim: Although there is a reduction in the number of stations, it's not easier to pass. Every station has a certain level of difficulty; if you don't train regularly it will be hard to pass. The 2.4km run carries the heaviest weightage. Soldiers can potentially score up to 50 points. Push-ups and sit-ups carry a maximum of 25 points each. For NSmen the magic number is 51. That's the number of points they need to pass the new IPPT format. For Full-time National Servicemen and Regulars, the bar is set higher at 61 points. They are held to a higher passing standard because fitness training is incorporated into their work and training routine. Different standards for different ages Age-categories have also been re-looked and shortened. Instead of five-year bands, Servicemen will now be held to different physical fitness standards every three years. The new age category system is more sensitive to the effects of age on physical fitness, said MG Lim. For example, an NSman within the 34 to 36 age group will need to perform 35 push-ups in a minute for 20 points, 35 sit-ups in a minute for 20 points and run 2.4km in 10mins 40secs for 41 points. This gives him a total of 81 points which qualifies him for the IPPT Gold award. For elite units in the SAF such as the Commandos, naval divers and Guardsmen, the bar for IPPT Gold is a minimum of 85 points.
23 Jul 2014, 2300 hours (GMT +8)
Transitioning from the life of a soldier to that of a student is no easy feat when one has been in service for more than two decades. But 43-year-old Military Expert (ME) 4 Ng See Lye, a 27-year veteran with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), readily took up the challenge to attend the Military Domain Experts Course (MDEC), excelling in it, and eventually receiving the Sword of Honour. The Deputy Officer Commanding of Logistics Flight in 149 Squadron received the Sword of Honour from Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Senior Military Experts Appointment Ceremony at SAFTI Military Institute on 23 Jul. He was appointed Senior ME, along with 90 other servicemen and women. The appointment ceremony marked the completion of the seventh MDEC, where the MEs acquired in-depth expertise in their respective fields. The training enables them to develop their leadership competency, deepen their military domain knowledge, and hone their specialised skills. They will then move on to assume command or staff appointments in their professional areas. This was the largest graduating cohort since the inaugural ceremony in 2011. The graduands comprised 51 MEs from the RSAF, 14 from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), 12 from the Army, and 14 from Joint. In his speech, Mr Chan had these words of advice for the newly-appointed Senior MEs: Lead your men with conviction and with heart. Take care of them through thick and thin, in good times and in bad. He said: There will be many challenges ahead of you, and we will never be able to know what will happen in the future. You may be called upon to undergo operations in which you have never been trained before. You must never, never fear, or shirk your responsibility to take care of your men to the best of your ability under your charge. These words resonated with ME4 Ng, who had taken the initiative to organise sessions to share his experiences with trainees who had just signed on with the SAF. He said: We should not just receive, but we should give back to the organisation (by sharing knowledge and experience with others). This cohort also saw the oldest graduand of the MDEC to date. But to ME4 Elangovan s/o Palaniappan, 55, from the RSAF, age was just a number, and did not hold him back. Slightly apprehensive at first about attending an academic course, he persevered and scored well in the course. Describing one of the highlights of the MEDC for him, ME4 Elangovan, said: We had this opportunity whereby all the branch heads and commanding officers came to give us lectures. Their perspectives and insights are broader, and it was a rare learning opportunity. Navy graduand, ME4 Joyce Tan agreed that the sharing by senior commanders yielded many learning points. The Combat Systems Engineer on board Landing Ship Tank RSS Persistence also credited the course with giving her a deeper and broader understanding of the systems under her purview. For Army graduand, ME4 Chen Kee Wui, the course had given him a better understanding of his role, and the knowledge gained would be invaluable. He said: I think the biggest objective (of the course) was to give us the width as well as the depth of understanding. He is the first through-trained military expert, holding the appointment of Brigade Sergeant Major of 3rd Division Support Command - a post traditionally held by warrant officers. Said ME4 Chen: Previously, from the through-trained perspective, we were more used to the day-to-day maintenance of equipment. When we moved on to attend the MDEC and become Senior MEs, we realised there was more to it. For example, equipment life cycle management must be taken into consideration. Also present at the ceremony were Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Ng Chee Peng, Chief of Air Force Major-General (MG) Hoo Cher Mou, senior SAF officers, as well as families and friends of the graduands.
21 Jul 2014, 1030 hours (GMT +8)
With tight deadlines, hectic travels and endless coffee runs being the norm in the PIONEER office, things can get pretty intense. Maybe that's why the editor thought it was a good idea for journalist Benita Teo to pick up CPR and AED skills. I've never been known for my heart-stopping good looks. That must be why my colleagues sent me to learn to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). It's a face they can safely wake up to after they pengsan (Malay for faint). Although I'd heard about CPR and AED, I always thought they could be carried out only by trained medical professionals. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how simple and unintimidating CPR and defibrillation were to perform. At the one-day course conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Medical Corps, the instructors explained that the first four to six minutes of a cardiac arrest were the most crucial: This is the amount of time the brain could be starved of oxygen before damage occurs. Hence, there is no time for hesitation or being paiseh (Hokkien for shy or embarrassed) when it comes to saving lives. After a demonstration by the instructors, we were introduced to our training partners - the CPR dummies. I named mine Lars. Going in for the save As Lars had collapsed from a cardiac arrest, it was now up to me to keep him alive until help arrived. Kneeling beside him, I tapped him hard on the shoulders to determine that he had fallen unconscious and was not merely asleep. With Lars, it was difficult to tell. A quick check showed that he had stopped breathing. I knew I had to lean in for the save - with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Quite a mouthful In my mind, I imagined that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation would be a romantic affair; that he would awaken as I breathed life into him, our destinies intertwined forever... In reality, it was like trying to blow up a soggy, wet balloon with a big, gaping puncture. And it sounded the same too. Worse still, no air was entering Lars' lungs. My confidence was coming undone, flapping miserably in the wind like his deflated lungs. But with Lars' life in my hands - or rather, mouth - I had to soldier on. Opening my mouth wide while pinching his nose, I took a deep breath, clamped my lips over his and exhaled. And Lars' chest finally heaved. Victorious, I proceeded with chest compressions. Pressing my full weight down repeatedly on a human being's chest seemed like a terrifying endeavour. However, the instructors assured us that the ribcage was strong enough to protect our most vital organ. Shock through the heart At this point, the AED came into play. With the accompanying bag of essential tools, I was able to cut away Lars' jacket, shave off the excess hair from his chest and dry his perspiration. Only then could I apply the sticky electronic pads on his chest. The good thing about the AED was that it analyses the victim's heart rhythm and instructs the first-aider on the next course of action. With one pad below his right collarbone and the other under his left nipple, I leaned back and awaited the AED's instructions. When the AED recommended a shock to be administered, all I had to do was press the shock button. Also, because a passing electric current could be fatal to a normal heart, I had to remember to keep my hands off Lars to prevent a Wile E. Coyote situation. After the first shock, the AED began monitoring Lars' heartbeat again. Luckily for Lars, his heart had started beating and he was breathing. I moved him into a recovery position and waited for the ambulance. My final job was to report to the medics the time I found him unconscious and the number of shocks I administered before delivering him into their capable hands. A good save Going through the course, I could see why these life-saving skills are taught to every recruit in the SAF. When training and operating in remote locations without ready access to comprehensive medical services, CPR and defibrillation can buy a buddy the few precious minutes needed for help to arrive. Even for me, I'll never know when I could be called upon to use my new skills to save a life. So, would you like my face to be the first thing you see when you come back to life? OH COME ON, GIVE A GIRL A CHANCE.