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POINTER Vol.41 No.2
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Fires - Tempering of Steel
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The RSAF Journey - Voices from the Past Present and Future
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Globalisation and Its Impact on Military Intelligence

by CPT (NS) Fu Wen Hao, Kelvin

Global intelligence communities are wrestling with the tidal changes that are happening around the world, coming to terms with the rapid pace of change that has come to characterise the 21st century. These changes have been exacerbated by globalisation, which has caused tremendous changes in the global, political, social, cultural and security landscape. The revolution in military affairs, which was built on information technology and communication revolution, heralded a dramatic shift in the way militaries conduct warfare, paving the way for the integration of complex command and control systems and the fusion of various types of firepower into highly coordinated military operations. The following essay will argue how globalisation has led to greater intensification of the interactions among people, ideas, economies, governments and nations which greatly redefine the way militaries must realign their strategy.


Illuminating Human Biases in the Intelligence Cycle

by CPT Ng Zhaohong, Jeffrey

In today’s day and age of increasing modernity, when technology on all fronts such as entertainment gadgets and military equipment are undergoing constant cycles of improvement and upgrading, it is not surprising that people’s dependency on such technology will only increase further. This is particularly true when it comes to high quality military intelligence as accurate and reliable assessments of potential threats compensate for the lack of strategic depth and provide much-needed time and space to safeguard and protect the country's sovereignty. As a result of this, the SAF has continued to invest substantially in capability development, force structuring and process refinements to sharpen our intelligence edge. This essay will aim to assess the impact of human biases and make recommendations on how to eliminate such biases, enhancing Singapore’s military intelligence in the process.  



Should the SAF Maintain its Existing Focus on Full-Spectrum Dominance or, Should the Organisation Return to its Core Deterrence and War-Fighting Mission?

by MAJ Benson Chian


Singapore’s geographical and population limitations have seen the Singapore Armed Forces develop its military into an all-encompassing, multi-faceted defence force capable of fulfilling Singapore’s defence policy of diplomacy and deterrence. While this policy has indeed presided over a successful period of peace and harmony within and beyond Singapore, the constant evolution of threats, both conventional and unconventional, has led to a debate on whether Singapore should continue to diversify her military to arm it with capabilities to counter a multitude of threats, such as cyberwars and terrorism, or to return to its roots of core deterrence and war-fighting mission. Certainly, major conflicts like the latest Arab-Israeli conflict and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have reminded countries around the world of the need to have a robust and resilient military that is well-equipped in war-fighting missions to protect their sovereignty. In the light of both conventional and unconventional threats that have occurred in recent years, this article discusses whether, for the SAF, building a diversified and multi-dimensional military is a more feasible and logical choice or, it should focus on its core deterrence and war-fighting mission.  



The Use Of Pre-Emptive Force By Small States

by COL Gaurav Keerthi

The use of anticipatory military actions or pre-emptive forces by states in the name of self-defence has long been a controversial decision that has elicited further analysis by the masses. Anticipatory attacks refer to any form of self-defence that is exercised before the enemy is able to impact you. Considering the distinction between preventive and pre-emptive force, this essay will aim to distinguish between small and large states in the use of pre-emptive force in self-defence. To conclude the hypothesis, three tests, namely the moral (philosophical) test, the legal test and the realist test, will be conducted to determine which size of state is more justifiable. This essay argues that the use of pre-emptive force is more justifiable for small states.     



The Strategic Merits of Airpower

by LTC Tan Kian Seng

Throughout history, military forces around the world have faced a similar challenge—garnering civilian support for their activities. Militaries are cognisant that their potency rests not only on their offensive capability, but also on the resolute backing of the entire population. Consequently, militaries are compelled to actively secure the wider public’s commitment to defence. This is a vital task even for the world’s most powerful military, the United States. Singapore is no exception. It is likely that the formulation of Total Defence as a security philosophy for Singapore was inspired by earlier models such as Switzerland’s ‘General Defence’ and Austria’s ‘Comprehensive National Defence’. Psychological defence is one of the five pillars of Total Defence. The foundation for this robust pillar of psychological defence has been continual engagement with the populace and the media’s impact on fostering commitment to defence is most critical. Singapore’s defence strategy that e ncompasses c ultivating a national consensus has come under mounting pressure in recent years, with media consumption patterns shifting from the mainstream mass media to online social media. The author concludes that in the long run, it is timely to open up to public dialogue and deeper personal engagement, as in the contest for hearts and minds, a tightfisted regulation of social media may yet win the battle but lose the war.


Last updated on 23 Jul 2015
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"Decision-making is both an art as well as a science." COL Ong Yu Lin
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