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.
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.
20 Jul 2014, 2200 hours (GMT +8)
About nine months ago when Second Lieutenant (2LT) Fionne Lai first stepped into the door of Officer Cadet School (OCS) at SAFTI MI, she was a very different person. Before signing on as a Regular Signals officer, 2LT Lai had been a primary school teacher. She is the head of her household as her father had passed away and her mother was working overseas. On why she wanted to join the military, 2LT Lai cited the need to take care of her younger sister, and her passion for teaching and inspiring the younger generation. She added: I was looking for a different kind of challenge, and I realised that it (being in the Army) not only tested my mental capabilities, but also pushed my limits physically. She was one of 553 officer cadets who were commissioned as officers in a parade held at SAFTI Military Institute on 20 Jul. The reviewing officer for the parade was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam. 2LT Lai, who will be posted to 12th Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence battalion, hopes to lead the men and women under her by example, using her experiences within the Officer Cadet Course (OCC) to become a better leader. Mr Shanmugaratnam had a similar hope for the newly commissioned officers, stating in his speech: As a commander, you will have a role to play in helping your men understand and internalise the importance of National Service. Our soldiers come from all walks of life and bring with them different expectations and perspectives. As their leader, train them well and build them into a cohesive fighting force. Show them that they have something precious worth defending. Lead by example and uphold the highest standards of discipline and professionalism. This message resonated strongly with Sword of Honour recipient 2LT Lam Mun Yuan, who will be a Logistics officer in 1st Transport Battalion. What attracted 2LT Lam to sign on was the opportunity to participate in national events such as the National Day Parade, and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief operations. All these events are opportunities where you get to be part of the planning or organising team, said 2LT Lam. It allows you to gain a lot of eye-opening experiences...because working on the ground with different people and different organisations is not something that comes easily. Looking back on the previous 38 weeks, Ground-Based Air Defence officer 2LT Sim Jing En noted that completing the OCC was no easy feat. One of the initial challenges that 2LT Sim faced was his poor physical fitness. He said: My friends were always there to push me, telling me not to give up and to keep going. That small little motivation and small little push eventually helped me to maintain my discipline. This experience has motivated 2LT Sim to be the best leader that he can be. The Sword of Honour recipient, who will be heading to the 3rd Divisional Air Defence Artillery Battalion, said: I will do for them (the men under my command) what my friends have done for me, in terms of pushing them beyond their limits, to make sure they can achieve greater things.
20 Jul 2014, 2130 hours (GMT +8)
Singapore may only be celebrating her 50th birthday next year, but one special birthday present came early - in the form of a panoramic drawing of its iconic skyline. What makes the present even more special is that the picture was hand-drawn by renowned British architectural artist Stephen Wiltshire, who reproduced the entire 4m-by-1m drawing from memory after aerially viewing the city just once. The drawing was commissioned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to commemorate its 30th anniversary and will be formally presented to President Tony Tan Keng Yam in September as a 50th birthday gift to the nation. Mr Wiltshire, 40, is a savant with exceptional talents in the areas of music, art and memory, and has sketched panoramas of cities such as New York and Hong Kong. On 14 Jul, he was invited on board a Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma helicopter to get an aerial view of the Marina Bay area. During the hour-long ride, Mr Wiltshire, accompanied by his sister Annette, sat silently as the helicopter circled Singapore's south-eastern tip. Occasionally, he would request for the pilot to slow down to allow him to better soak in the sights. When asked how he enjoyed the ride, Mr Wiltshire replied that it was great and exciting to see Singapore from the air. I really like the high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. Marina Bay Sands is one of my favourites. I (will) go back to my hotel room later and plan how I will draw the view tomorrow, he explained of his sketching process. I can just see the details in my head, no problem at all, he added. Following five days of drawing at the atrium of Paragon shopping centre (where an exhibition of his artworks was held), Mr Wiltshire's masterpiece was finally complete. The finished art piece was unveiled this evening at the completion ceremony held at Paragon shopping centre, which was graced by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Head of SG50 Programme office. The art piece will be displayed at the Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore City Gallery until its formal presentation to President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
18 Jul 2014, 2100 hours (GMT +8)
The Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operational capabilities are set to receive a boost with the pioneer batch of Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) volunteers who have graduated as senior Military Experts (MEs). Twenty-two NSmen from the first cohort of the new Expertise Conversion Scheme (ECS) have successfully completed their initial phase of training, and attained the rank of ME4 (Apprentice) (NS), or ME4 (A) (NS). The ECS allows NSmen, who have completed their National Service (NS) cycles and with the appropriate expertise, to volunteer in areas such as law, medicine, psychology, engineering, info-communications and ship operations. They can continue to contribute to the SAF and take on roles such as legal advisers as well as nursing, dental and radiography officers. The pioneer batch comprises 14 senior MEs from the Republic of Singapore Navy and eight from the Singapore Army. The graduation ceremony, held at Temasek Club on 18 Jul, marked the completion of their first two training components, which provided them with specialisation training and military leadership education. The newly-appointed Senior MEs will go for at least two years of On-Job-Training for their final training component. Upon completion, they will be given the rank of ME4 (NS). At the ceremony, Brigadier General (BG) (NS) Tung Yui Fai, Director for National Service Affairs, commended the graduands for their commitment and dedication. Tonight, I am convinced that I am amongst a group of 22 committed NSmen who had continued to volunteer your service because you believe strongly in the purpose and importance of National Service for the defence and security of Singapore. BG Tung added that the ECS would allow the SAF to tap into its diverse NS talent pool to enhance the operational readiness and capability of the SAF. One of the recommendations by the Committee to Strengthen NS that were recently accepted by the Singapore Government, the scheme is primarily open to Warrant Officers, Specialists and Enlistees (WOSEs) with relevant qualifications who have completed their NS cycles. NSmen with existing Operationally Ready NS commitments may be considered for conversion on a case-by-case basis. NSmen converting under the ECS will see their NS statutory age raised to 50 years. They need to serve in their new rank and roles for at least three years, and are liable for call up for up to 40 days per year. Interested applicants can register their interest with the NS Relations Officers in their formation or division headquarters.