The President has accepted the advice of the Prime Minister that Major-General (MG) Desmond Kuek Bak Chye, currently Chief of Army take over from Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Yat Chung as Chief of Defence Force on 23 March 2007. Brigadier-General (BG) Neo Kian Hong, currently Chief of Staff-Joint Staff (COS-JS), will be appointed as the new Chief of Army on 20 March 2007. These changes are part of the continuing process of leadership renewal in the SAF.
Since his enlistment in 1979, LG Ng Yat Chung, aged 45, has served the SAF with distinction. As Chief of Defence Force since 1 April 2003, LG Ng laid the transformational blueprint for the 3rd Generation SAF and demonstrated bold leadership in its execution. He has been instrumental in transforming the SAF as a networked, knowledge-based force by driving close integration between the Army, Navy and Airforce, developing new operational concepts and assimilating cutting-edge technologies in building up the SAF's new force structure.
During his tenure as Chief of Defence Force, LG Ng has significantly strengthened the SAF's full spectrum capabilities to meet new security challenges such as terrorism and low intensity conflicts, effectively prosecute peacetime operations and raise the SAF's capabilities for conventional operations. LG Ng successfully commanded the overall deployment of the SAF in peace support operations in East Timor and in humanitarian and disaster relief operations under Operation Flying Eagle in Aceh and Phuket after the tsunami in 2004 as well as to Yogjakarta and to Phitsanulok, Northern Thailand in 2006, following natural disasters there. These and many other such operations and exercises demonstrate the high level of operational readiness to which he has brought the SAF. In addition, LG Ng has helped broaden and deepen the SAF's extensive network of professional relationships with other armed forces, to further Singapore's role as a constructive partner in regional security. LG Ng will return to the Administrative Service after attending the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University.
The incoming Chief of Defence Force, MG Desmond Kuek Bak Chye, aged 43, joined the SAF in December 1981. In the course of his military career, MG Kuek has held amongst other appointments, that of Director, Joint Intelligence Directorate; Commander, 3rd Division; Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Operations); Commander, 4th Singapore Armoured Brigade; and Commanding Officer, 41st Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment.
As Chief of Army, MG Kuek steered the Army towards organisational excellence, transforming its force structure to enhance operational efficiency and eliciting peak performance from servicemen through the L.I.V.E (Leadership and Learning, Image and Identity, Values and positive Experience) movement. He significantly improved the Army's combat capability, especially in the areas of command and control, firepower and urban operations. MG Kuek attended the Command and Staff Course at Camberley Staff College, United Kingdom in 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hons) (Engineering Science) and a Master of Arts Degree (Engineering Science) from the University of Oxford, UK. He also holds a Master of Public Administration Degree (Macro Economics, Statistics) from Harvard University, USA.
The incoming Chief of Army, BG Neo Kian Hong, aged 42, joined the SAF in March 1983. In the course of his military career, he has held amongst others, the appointments of Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command; Commander, 9th Division; Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Operations); Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Personnel); Commander, 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade; and Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards.
BG Neo also served as the SAF's contingent commander for INTERFET (International Force for East Timor) in 1999, and played a pivotal role in establishing the national contact and tracing system during the SARS crisis in 2003. BG Neo attended the Indonesian Army Command and Staff Course (SESKOAD) in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree (Hons 2nd Upper) (Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering) from King's College London, UK; as well as a Master of Science Degree (Management of Technology) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
The Ministry of Defence wishes to express its deep appreciation to LG Ng Yat Chung for his sterling service and outstanding contributions to the development of the SAF.