The Lion’s Trail
While 2 PDF Command was established more than 40 years ago, the roots of the division may be traced back as far as 1854, with the establishment of the Volunteer Corps. Upon gaining independence from Malaya on the 9th of August 1965, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew immediately set about to build up a sizeable militia, one that was well trained and uniformed, to project an image of strength.
Given the conditions of a fragmented multi-ethnic, multi-religious and migrant society that saw military duties as lowly, the challenge was to boost the public’s confidence in the upcoming National Service army. The Volunteer movement was envisaged to be a beacon for all others who are obliged to perform NS and as the fastest way to lay the foundation for reservoir of people necessary for a larger, conventional force. Mooted as a catalyst on which a citizen army can be built, the force was aptly named People’s Defence Force (PDF).
The 2 People’s Defence Force (2 PDF) is the peacekeeper within the borders of Singapore. It is mainly responsible for counter-terrorism and homeland security.
In October 1965, the PDF HQ was established as part of the Ministry of Interior and Defence, and was tasked to raise 3,200 volunteers to enhance Singapore’s defence capabilities. In 1968, PDF was reorganised on Operational roles of Guards and Internal Security Duties within Singapore.
In 2001, after the tragic events of 9/11, HQ 2 PDF Command was configured into a multi-agency Island Defence Headquarters (IDHQ) to enhance homeland security against the threat of terrorism. Protection of Installation Operations (POI Ops) was initiated to provide 24/7 protection of Singapore’s key military installations and civilian key installations (KINS).
Nine years later, IDHQ was transformed to Island Defence Task Force (IDTF) and 1 SIB was formed. It took commands of 6 SIR, 8 SIR and 9 SIR. This further strengthened the SAF’s capabilities in counter-terrorism and enhanced our homeland security. SAF Military Police Command (MP Command), SAF Military Band and Gombak Base came under the command of 2 PDF in 2011.
In 2015, 2 PDF Command celebrated her Golden Jubilee and the Peacekeeper - Protected Response Vehicle was commissioned by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister of Defence. The Peacekeeper replaced the V200 as the workhorse for Island Defence operations.
In July 2017, the Island Defence Training Institute (IDTI) was inaugurated to address all Island Defence training requirements. It sought to deepen operational knowledge, improve linkages and interoperability with the Home Team agencies and enhance the effectiveness of training delivered to our Active and NS units.
As Guardian of Our Homeland, 2 PDF/IDTF will continue to sharpen our homeland security and homeland defence capabilities by leveraging on technologies and Whole of Government (WoG) resources while maximising the soldier potential of our island defenders. This is predicated on a strong NS culture and shared identity as One Pride of Lions.