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Counter Terrorism

Multiple terrorist attacks around the world have made it even clearer that Singapore faces increased threat from terror. The threat of a terror attack in Singapore is at its highest level in recent times.

Singapore is committed to the global fight against terror. To counter the terrorism threat at its source, the SAF has been part of the international coalition against terrorism. The SAF was in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2013 against Al-Qaeda, with close to 500 personnel deployed. Since 2015, the SAF has also deployed units as part of the multinational coalition efforts against ISIS. These deployments included Intelligence Fusion Officers, Imagery Analysts, and an SAF medical team in Iraq. Singapore has also stepped up our information sharing and intelligence cooperation with other countries. The SAF has offered the assistance of our Information Fusion Centre in Changi Naval Base to the Trilateral Sea Patrol[1] to combat terrorism and kidnappings. At the 2017 Shangri-La Dialogue, the Five Power Defence Arrangements Ministers committed to deal with the terrorist threat to Malaysia and Singapore, and to start with information-sharing.

SAF is Operationally Ready to Support Homeland Security

Over the years, the SAF has strengthened its contributions to homeland security, working closely with the Whole-of-Government (WoG). The SAF works in tandem with the Home Team, viz. the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to strengthen homeland security. Examples of such efforts include:

  • Protection of critical installations, where the SAF partners the SPF to conduct joint security patrols at Changi Airport.
  • Providing security for large-scale national events, where the SAF works together with the WoG to ensure security for events such as the SG50 Golden Jubilee celebrations at Marina Bay.
  • Participation in joint exercises with MHA and SPF, e.g. Ex NORTHSTAR, Ex HIGHCREST and MHA & SAF Counter Terrorism Exercise.

In 2016, the SAF stood up the Army Deployment Force (ADF) comprising highly-trained regulars to fulfil an expanded range of counter-terrorism operations, such as setting up cordon operations to contain the incident site.

The SAF and the Home Team have enhanced their joint responses to homeland security threats. We can expect to see more SAF forces committed for a wider range of counter-terrorism operations.

The SAF has also begun training more Regulars and national servicemen to support homeland security operations. The SAF will be scaling up the training of more SAF units to be ready for homeland security operations. From July 2017, the SAF will expand the roles of its Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) to include homeland security operational duties, working alongside Regulars and active servicemen to support the Home Team. Selected Army NS units will take on homeland security operations during their In-Camp Training (ICT), on top of existing operational duties, in the event that national security contingencies occur. The new Island Defence Training institute (IDTI) will train approximately 18,000 soldiers from active and NS units yearly in homeland security operations.

[1] The Trilateral Maritime Patrol is a joint patrol undertaken by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in the waters surrounding the Philippines’ Sulu archipelago. The aim of the TMP is to combat maritime crime and terrorism, and ensure safety in these waters which border the three nations.