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POINTER Vol. 40 No. 4
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Fires - Tempering of Steel
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Information Fusion Centre: Challenges And Perspectives
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Launch of Chief of Defence Force Essay Competition 2014/2015
Launch of Chief of Defence Force Essay Competition 2014/2015

The Chief of Defence Force Essay Competition (CDFEC) is an annual competition aimed at encouraging SAF Officers to actively research and reflect on professional issues, and to share their knowledge, ideas and views through writing. The CDFEC 2014/2015 is now open. Participants have until 28 Feb 2015 to submit their entries to POINTER for consideration. Please follow all competition regulations closely and attach a completed entry form or your entry may be disqualified. Participants are also strongly advised to consult the CDFEC writing checklist for guidelines on how to prepare their essays.






Clausewitz’s views on the Transformation of War, Politics and Society—An Analysis with reference to the Wars in the 19th and 20th Centuries

by MAJ Foo Kong Pin Gilbert


Modern day theories on war fighting are filled with ideas that technology and changes determine battling capacities of the military and the war itself. But Clausewitz claimed that the changes in war were less a function of technology or shifts in ideas and more due to the involvement of society in the conduct of war. This article looked into Clausewitz’s claim that war did not change much due to inventions or innovations in technology and strategies, but rather due to the transformation of society. This article aimed to establish that this transformation of society was time-dependent, had a psychological basis and tended to be the centre to which ‘inventions or new departures in ideas’ take hold of first, before making any significant impact on the manifestations in war.


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Can Wars ever be pursued with Limitless Violence?

by MAJ Leonard Wong

This essay defines 'war', focuses on the means of war and addresses why pursuing wars with limitless violence is impractical, with the support of Clausewitzian concepts. This essay also looks at the possibility of a limitless war occurring in the future given the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and nuclear weapons. The author then elaborated on the forces that prevented the 'means' of war to meet Clausewitz’s ideals, the dimensions of strategy and the remarkable 'trinity'. In conclusion, the author discusses the future of wars and even the RMA would not eliminate friction and fog but would reduce its prevalence. The true nature of war is characterised by uncertainty and the presence of various elements work to prevent wars from ever being pursued with limitless violence.


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The Limits of the Malayan Emergency as the Universal COIN Paradigm

by MAJ Soh Yen Chu Elizabeth


The principles and policies put forth by the British administration during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) have set the benchmark for counter-insurgency (COIN) situations. Optimal utilisation of a military force, the harnessing of a nation-state’s national unity and proper leadership techniques via command and control are key learning points to be taken away from the crisis. However, it is vital to note that each COIN situation is unique and depending on the scenario, these learning points need to be applied with some degree of flexibility. Each situation can be unique based on the cultural dynamics and present ideologies pertinent in the local population. As such, each situation requires appropriate management, taking into consideration the key factors that contribute to the situation at hand whilst also noting past achievements and failures.


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Combating the Cognitive Trap of Mirror-Imaging: Pitfalls and Possibilities for the Intelligence Officer

by 2LT Philip Chan


Intelligence has always been a crucial factor in the military, from decision-making to execution. As such, the intelligence officer or analyst constantly faces the challenge of filtering out ambiguous and incomplete information while making sense out of it within a limited timeframe. Under these circumstances, mental strategies such as mirror-imaging are used to accurately understand and predict the adversary’s intent and possible courses of action. This essay addresses how mirror-imaging functions as a mental heuristic and discusses how it can lead to both success and failure of handling intelligence. The essay also provides examples of intelligence failures due to mirror-imaging and suggests adopting the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) approach which will mitigate the disadvantage of mirror-imaging.


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Last updated on 13 Jan 2015
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"Decision-making is both an art as well as a science." COL Ong Yu Lin
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