301 COMMISSIONED AS OFFICERS
The parade marked the completion of 38 weeks of rigorous training at the Officer Cadet School. The realistic training sharpened the cadets' combat, planning and leadership skills.
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.
24 Apr 2015, 1130 hours (GMT +8)
More than 700 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards (3 Gds), and the 2nd Battalion, Royal Brunei Land Forces (2 RBLF) took part in Exercise Maju Bersama from 13 to 24 Apr, in Brunei. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the bilateral exercise which started in 1995, and underscores the close and long-standing defence ties between Singapore and Brunei. During the exercise, the troops carried out a series of jungle warfare missions that included assault, ambush, as well as search and destroy. The Guardsmen operated as part of the Bruneian battalion. For the final mission, a platoon from 2 RBLF was attached to the Singapore troops. Such training enabled both armies to enhance their interoperability. Said Captain (CPT) Nadzri Hussan, Officer Commanding of Alpha Company, 3 Gds: We were able to understand from the Bruneians how their company do their ambushes, and how their battalion as a whole give their orders to the companies. Newly-appointed Second Minister for Defence Lui Tuck Yew and Bruneian Deputy Minister of Defence Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat visited the troops participating in Exercise Maju Bersama on 23 Apr.
23 Apr 2015, 1755 hours (GMT +8)
PIONEER looks back at how the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, built up the country’s defence. When Singapore was thrust into independence in 1965, Mr Lee was acutely aware of the vulnerability of our tiny island-state. Among his pressing concerns was the security of the fledgling nation that had just been separated from Malaysia. Then, Singapore faced the danger of attacks due to Indonesia's armed campaign of Konfrontasi. Suddenly, we're on our own. We have to defend ourselves… You have to build an army, navy, air force, control and command systems, early warning…in the sky and so on, Mr Lee recounted during an interview with the International Herald Tribune in 2007. With the impending withdrawal of the British troops by 1975 (which was eventually brought forward to 1971), there was an urgent need to shore up a fragile defence that had only two infantry battalions. Mr Lee asked the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, then Minister for the Interior and Defence, to build up the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). As Prime Minister then, Mr Lee personally sought foreign assistance to kick-start the process. Aware that building a large regular army would strain Singapore's limited manpower and financial resources, he introduced National Service (NS) in 1967. I wanted the defence plan to aim at mobilising as large a part of the population as possible, in order to galvanise the people in their own defence while they had this strong feeling of patriotism as a result of their recent experiences, Mr Lee wrote in his memoirs From Third World to First. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in his eulogy that his father had personally persuaded parents to entrust their sons to the SAF. He succeeded, first because he led by example. His two sons did NS just like every Singaporean son... Secondly, people trusted Mr Lee, and believed in the Singapore cause. Therefore today, we sleep peacefully at night - confident that we are well protected. In 1968, Britain threw Singapore a bombshell when it announced that its troops would be withdrawn four years earlier than planned. Singapore was not ready for self-defence; its first batch of 900 national servicemen was still in training. But Mr Lee's strong ties with members of the British government helped to delay the withdrawal of their troops to late 1971, buying Singapore an extra nine months to beef up its defence with an Air Force and Navy. Over the years, Mr Lee also tapped on his friendships with other world leaders to secure training space for the SAF in Brunei, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. To attract the best talents to the SAF, Mr Lee mooted the SAF Overseas Scholarship scheme in 1971, which Dr Goh refined. He explained in his memoirs: Without a yearly intake of about 10 of our best students, the SAF would have the military hardware but without the brain power to use them to best advantage. The scheme was successful in attracting the best students over the years. Mr Lee cited four SAF scholars who, having risen to senior positions, entered politics and later became cabinet ministers: PM Lee, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, and former Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo. Continued concern Despite decades of peace and security, Mr Lee continued to believe that a strong SAF was critical for Singapore's continued survival. From the day we started, I knew that we needed a strong SAF and I believe that still remains today. Without a strong SAF, there is no economic future, there is no security, Mr Lee told SAF officers at the Temasek Society's 30th anniversary dinner dialogue in 2012. In his twilight years, Mr Lee wrote books so that the new generation of Singaporeans could learn from his experience. My abiding concern for Singapore arises from my belief that the younger generation, especially those below 35, had never seen the harsh economic conditions. They therefore do not know the threats we face from neighbouring countries, he wrote in Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going. He passed away on 23 Mar at the age of 91. We thank Mr Lee for building the nation. Your legacy will be remembered for generations to come.
23 Apr 2015, 1000 hours (GMT +8)
What do you do when Dad's a Sword-of-Honour (SOH) winner in Officer Cadet School (OCS)? Get one of your own to match his, of course! I don't think you guys can get another Sword of Honour like your dad was a running joke in the Ng household. Mrs Ng issued this soft challenge for the boys to replicate their father Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) (NS) Ng Tian Chong's achievement in 1985. But the joke became a reality when, 28 years later, Lieutenant (LTA) Russell Ng graduated from OCS with top honours on 20 Jul 2014 and received his very own SOH too. All in the genes The eldest of five, LTA Ng certainly has a lot to live up to. Since receiving the SOH from President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who was then the Education Minister, SLTC (NS) Ng has risen through the ranks to become Commander of 26th Singapore Infantry Brigade in the 2nd People's Defence Force. The 50-year-old Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard South East Asia, Taiwan Hong Kong, has always been interested in all things military. He has even gone the extra mile to serve beyond his statutory age ceiling as a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Volunteer. As you grow older and more mature, NS takes on a different meaning. It becomes more significant and meaningful, especially after you begin to have kids, run a business and travel overseas a lot. You begin to appreciate what Singapore has, explained SLTC (NS) Ng of his commitment to NS. An early start SLTC (NS) Ng's passion for national defence has certainly shaped LTA Ng's NS experience, as well as their relationship. LTA Ng revealed that Dad was the reason he joined the National Cadet Corps (NCC) (Land) in secondary school. The funny thing was that I didn't choose to go… He was extremely chubby before he joined NCC! SLTC (NS) Ng chipped in excitedly. Yes, I was extremely chubby, and my dad wanted me to lose weight, LTA Ng conceded. So he thought, what better way than to join NCC, and put my name down. And all of a sudden, I'm in NCC! But the 23-year-old is by no means living in his father's shadow, and is holding his own as a Platoon Commander in the 5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment. In OCS, I was one of the few selected to join the motorised infantry batch. It was a new outfit and very unfamiliar to me - my dad and friends were all in infantry. But I maintained a positive outlook and enjoyed my time there, he said earnestly. Witnessing LTA Ng's commissioning was definitely one of the proudest moments for SLTC (NS) Ng, who attended the parade in his No.1 uniform. On donning his uniform, SLTC Ng explained that it's very symbolic and meaningful since I'm still in service. He added happily: Of course I was very proud. To see Russell graduating from OCS and to have encouraged him through the nine months and finally (getting to) pin on the epaulette, it's a very memorable process. What do you do when Dad's a Sword-of-Honour (SOH) winner in Officer Cadet School (OCS)? Get one of your own to match his, of course! My famous father But having a prominent dad can have its inconveniences - just ask the kids of footballer David Beckham, who are reportedly embarrassed about being seen at school with their famous father. It was quite awkward when my dad came to OCS, said LTA Ng. SLTC (NS) Ng is a member of the OCS NS Advisory Board and gives talks to graduating cadets about their NS obligations beyond the two years. I called out to him 'Hey, Dad!' and Colonel Seet (Uei Lim, Commander OCS) turned around and asked: 'Are you supposed to be calling him 'Dad', or 'Sir'?' he recalled with a chuckle. With two younger brothers aged 19 and 13 who will serve NS when the time comes, what advice does he have for them? I would share with them what my dad imparted to me; he always told me that it doesn't matter whether you take on a leadership role or not, the most important thing is to be positive, said LTA Ng. His father added: Any role is fine as long as you're contributing. There's no pressure and I don't expect them to have similar leadership roles. I just want them to participate and play a role in NS.
22 Apr 2015, 1750 hours (GMT +8)
I think it's a great way to give back to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). They've been great to my family, and I also get to impart knowledge and share my experience with the men. This was what made Captain (CPT) (NS) Yusni Bin Hassan extend his service for two years. When asked what he liked most about being in the SAF, he shared that he had a heart for his men who came from less-than-fortunate families and it made him glad that he could dish out advice or channel them to various avenues available in the SAF, in order to guide them back onto the right path. As a flight steward with the Singapore Airlines and a father of three, CPT (NS) Yusni managed to juggle his family commitments, National Service (NS) duties and work flawlessly, and he owed it all to good time management. I'm a morning person so I wake up and run, send my sons to school and wife to work, go to the market and find the time to help the kids with school work when they come back, explained the Senior Assessor at the Defence Psychology Department. Even when I come home from work, I will make it a point to spend time with my sons after some rest, to take them out for a run. I also take this time to share my NS experiences with my sons. CPT (NS) Yusni was among the 168 outgoing Key Appointment Holders, ROVERS and Volunteers whose contributions towards NS were recognised at an appreciation dinner held at the Flower Field Hall at Gardens by the Bay on 21 Apr. ROVERS are Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) who serve beyond their NS training cycle, but are still within their statutory age ceilings (40 years of age for Warrant Officers and Specialists, and 50, for Officers). Volunteers are NSmen who serve beyond their statutory age ceilings. Speaking at the ceremony, Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Perry Lim expressed gratitude towards the recipients who have served the nation above and beyond the call of duty. Noting that Singapore was a country built upon the sacrifices of its pioneers and the continued hard work of successive generations, he said: It is your commitment, dedication and outstanding service to our nation that has helped Singapore to not just survive but thrive all these years. MG Lim also thanked the spouses, families and employers for their patience and support towards the national servicemen and women. For CPT (NS) Andy Foo, it was a sense of duty to ensure proper handover to his understudy that made him extend his service as with the Logistics Staff Officer of 606 Squadron for one year. He also found his NS duties especially meaningful as he saw how policymaking affected the men on the ground. We see the implications and outcomes of decision making and drawer plans, which is why we find purpose in what we do. It's not just paperwork. The business manager of semi-conductor firm Pinpointek Corporation was also grateful to his company and boss in allowing him to join the ROVERS scheme. They (my company) see this as an important part that I play in the nation. When I'm in camp, I don't get interrupted by my civilian roles and this allows me to concentrate on my duties during my In-Camp Training. Extending his service meant sacrifices at home, but the 44-year-old sees it as a good learning platform for his two children, especially for his son. Each time I go for ICT, it's a thrill for him to see daddy take out his field pack and wear his uniform. When asked what advice he would give to his son about NS, CPT (NS) Foo said: The main thing I would tell him is that nobody owes us the defence of our nation, it is up to our own people to safeguard what we find precious here and what we call home. He also had words of advice for those thinking of extending their service. If you find meaning in what you do, it is very natural to want to continue the good work that you started and not see it go to waste. So volunteering beyond your liability gives you the experience and opportunity to do that, and to see through what you have started and finish off well. The ceremony was attended by spouses and families of the national servicemen and women, as well as senior SAF officers.
21 Apr 2015, 2040 hours (GMT +8)
This year's Young Defence Scientists Programme (YDSP) has broken new ground by boldly going where no wheeled vehicle has gone before. With the aid of 3D printing technology, a group of students designed an eight-legged walking robot. The robot might eventually end up helping soldiers transport heavy weapons and even act as a mobile communications relay to transmit data from remote locations. Explaining the design, NUS High School of Mathematics and Science student Lee Jia Hern, 17, said: Leg mechanisms are more stable than wheeled designs in uneven terrain. He is part of a four-member team which also comprises students from National Junior College and Raffles Institution. The team took about six months to come up with their working model named 3D Printed Biomimetic Model under the Research@YDSP mentorship programme. These are things we don't learn in school and I'm glad for this experience, said team-member Kingston Kuan, 17, also from NUS High School. We were made to think out of the box and, along the way, we met with challenges which we had to think of ways to overcome, said team-member Sharon Tan, 17, from National Junior College. For example, the team had initially designed a two-legged mechanism but soon found that more legs gave more stability and utility. They ended up with an eight-legged design with rounded feet so that objects on the ground would not catch the robot's legs. Speaking at the YDSP Congress held at Orchard Hotel on 21 Apr, Minister of State for Defence Dr Maliki Bin Osman said: Without our defence engineers and scientists working quietly behind the scenes, the SAF would not be what it is today. The work of our defence engineers is never complete. Bigger challenges await, and we have given YDSP participants the opportunity to explore them during the Science and Technology Camps, and research projects. Dr Maliki also presented 30 YDSP Scholarships to outstanding students and another 70 academic awards to students for excellence in Physics and Mathematics. This year's YDSP activities also included three camps that introduced students to 3D printing technology and Space. Students at the week-long 3D printing camp had the chance to assemble their own 3D printers to use in the final challenge of designing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The judges eventually picked a cylindrically-shaped design that stacked two rotor blades on top of one other as the winner. One of unique features of our design is the use of collective-pitch which changes the angle of the (rotor) blades to manoeuvre the UAV, said Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student Mudit Mishra of his group's simple but effective design. The group of four 16-year-olds Hwa Chong Institution's Peng Yanjia and Richard Xiong, as well as Victoria School's Shah Dhruv Nilesh. Guiding the students in their projects were experienced mentors from Singapore's defence technology ecosystem like Mr Clarence Tan. The 32-year-old, who guided the team working on the walking robot project, said: It's about guiding the students and sharing our insights from working in the defence engineering community. It's fulfilling for me to help the students see how engineering (knowledge) can be used to help the country maintain a strong defence, said the engineer who works for the Defence Science Technology Agency's Land Systems Programme Centre. At the end of the day, we hope to inspire them to want to take up bigger roles in defence engineering.
20 Apr 2015, 0940 hours (GMT +8)
A delegation of 24 men and women from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Medical Corps conducted the first Joint Medical Mission with the Vietnam People's Army (VPA) in Vinh Phuc province, Hanoi, from 15 to 18 Apr. As the first collaboration between the two militaries, the Joint Medical Mission involves doctors, dentists, and other health-care professionals working together to set up a clinic to provide the villagers of Vinh Phuc province with primary health care, dental care, ophthalmology, and optometry services. Chief of Medical Corps Rear-Admiral (RADM) (Dr) Kang Wee Lee co-officiated at the opening ceremony of the SAF-VPA Joint Medical Mission on 15 Apr with the Director General of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence's Military Medicine Department, Major-General (MG) Vu Quoc Binh. Speaking at the ceremony, RADM (Dr) Kang said: As fellow ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) members, Singapore and Vietnam have always shared friendly bilateral relations and seek ways for mutual cooperation. The SAF Medical Corps have always valued opportunities for mutual learning and professional interactions in the domain of military medicine, and we are indeed very pleased to partner the VPA in this Joint Medical Mission. He outlined the three main thrusts of the cooperation between the two militaries as: firstly, professional exchanges in the domain of biodefence and bio-surveillance; secondly, sharing of experience in the area of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and peacekeeping operations; and thirdly, the conduct of a joint medical mission between the two military medical services. During the mission, the combined SAF and VPA medical teams treated about 3,100 Vietnamese from the Vinh Phuc province. One of the challenges faced by the SAF team was language. Said Military Expert 1 (ME1) Nicholas Choy, an optometry medic: Not being able to speak Vietnamese meant that communication was a problem… However, we adapted to the situation – learning a bit of Vietnamese - and we were able to cope with the difficulty. He described the joint mission as an eye-opening experience. Mr Edmund Lim, an optometrist from the SAF Military Medicine Institute Vision Performance Centre, found the joint mission a fulfilling one in spite of the difficulties faced. He said: The difficulties are all easily overcome when we see the smile on the faces of the Vietnamese whom we have helped. It's all worth it. Team Leader, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (Dr) Adrian Tan said the mission went extremely well, adding that the two medical teams had come together and overcome language and cultural barriers to provide the best possible medical care to the local community. He added: I am happy to see that my team, together with their Vietnamese counterparts, has worked extremely well together. The joint medical mission concluded with a handing over and taking over ceremony of the surplus medical supplies on the morning of 19 Apr.