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The Relationship Between Arms Dynamics and the Security Dilemma – An Analysis
MAJ Sean Paul Magness

The essay argues that despite the defence spending increases, the situation in Southeast Asia does not qualify as an arms race due to the lack of adversarial relationships exemplified in the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC). All Southeast Asian states maintain normal diplomatic relations and trade with each other and exhibit a constructivist approach to political, economic and security co-operation as seen in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF), yet the perception that there is an arms race remains. The essay will use the example of Singapore and Malaysia to examine these perceptions and explain why there is no arms race.

Air, Land or Maritime Strategy – Which is More Crucial in the Battlefield?
LTC Michael Lui Peiwen

Citing various historical events, the writer argues that maritime and air strategies must always be assessed and formulated in terms of their impact on land strategy. In the first half of the essay, the writer discusses how maritime strategy has to be always developed and evaluated in terms of its impact on land strategy. In the second half of the essay, the writer discusses and rebuts the belief that air strategy can be formulated and assessed on its own merits as the decisive element in war, independent of its impact on land strategy. The writings of several theorists as well as the battles and campaigns of the 20th Century, in particular from World War Two (WWII) were deliberated. Focusing the scope of his essay within the context of non-nuclear, conventional war between states in the 20th century, the writer concludes that air and maritime strategies must always be assessed and formulated in terms of their impact on land strategy.

The Nature of War – Unchanging the Face of Shifting Form and Material Dimensions
MAJ Paul Lye Chee Wei

The essay comprises two central arguments—first, the fundamental concepts of war have endured and are still applicable today; and second, the way in which wars are being conducted is constantly changing and adapting based on context. The writer focuses on the Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz’s book, On War, written in 1832, as an important source of introduction to war, strategy, concepts and the psychological effects of war. The writer argues that the nature of war has not changed in the 188 years since On War. In the essay, the writer discusses the key principles on the nature of war based on Clausewitzian theories. He then compares these principles against the works of two notable academics who advocate war’s evolution—Mary Kaldor and William S. Lind. The writer highlights that that while their ideas certainly do represent the current context of war to a fair extent of accuracy, they do not in fact necessarily contradict the theories found in On War.

Should the Singapore Armed Forces Continue to Rely on Cutting-Edge Technology?
ME4 Ratnam Saravanan

In this essay, the writer emphasises the significant role that technology has played and will continue to play, in our lives. For a small nation like Singapore, a cutting-edge technology and technical know-how are important pre-requisites for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to maintain its operational edge. The writer feels that having stringent and robust processes in place to manage the defence budget and long-term planning of the country will ensure its peace and security. In his view, the SAF must continue to find ways to be more cost-effective so that it can focus on future weapons. He believes that with continued emphasis on technology, the SAF will continue to remain relevant and formidable in this region.

Addressing the Arms Race – An Asian Perspective
CDR AKM Rakibudduza

The essay will first analyse and highlight the concept of arms race, arms modernisation and arms dynamic. With a better understanding of these concepts, it will then scrutinise the motive of their existence. Thereafter, it will examine the present context through historical perspectives along with recent military expenditure and modernisation efforts of selected Asian states since the Cold War to disprove the existence of an arms race in Asia. The scope of the essay is confined within the context of non-nuclear acquisitions.

Last updated on 27 March 2020
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