Update on Vocation Interest
Taking Servicemen's Vocation Interest into Consideration. Introduced in November 2016, the Vocation Interest (VI) initiative was one of the key initiatives recommended by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS). Pre-enlistees can indicate their interest in 33 National Service (NS) vocations when they report at the Central Manpower Base for their pre-enlistment procedures. The VI initiative enhances the NS experience by encouraging greater ownership of the servicemen's roles and responsibilities during NS.
High Interest in Island Defence and in Combat Roles. Since the introduction of VI, more than 32,000 pre-enlistees have indicated their interest for NS vocations. The inaugural batch of about 4,000 enlisted from November 2017 will have their VI considered as part of their deployment when they complete Basic Military Training in March 2018. Based on surveys conducted at CMPB, there has been a high-level of support for the opportunity to indicate interest in NS vocations. More than 80% of pre-enlistees indicated that this initiative has encouraged them to take greater ownership of their roles and responsibilities in NS. Pre-enlistees have also indicated strong interest for physically-demanding combat vocations like Infantry and Guards. Amongst the vocations that have received the highest interest from the pre-enlistees is Island Defence. Amidst rising security threats, these results are encouraging as they show greater awareness among pre-enlistees and their willingness to take up the responsibility to keep Singapore safe and secure.
Initiatives to Optimise Deployment of National Servicemen
Enabling Technologies Reduces Physical Requirements of Selected NS Vocations. With the help of technology, the physical requirements of selected NS vocations have been reduced. Some examples of enabling technologies include:
a. Unmanned Systems Allow More to be Deployed as Security Troopers. The SAF is introducing unmanned capabilities such as the Unmanned Watch Tower to enhance Island Defence. The Unmanned Watch Tower allows servicemen who were previously not suited to be Security Troopers, to now be eligible to be deployed as Security Troopers for homeland security operations at Jurong Island.
b. Greater Automation Reduces Physical Requirements. Warfighting platforms such as the Next Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) will have more automated features which can be managed from a user-friendly interface, thereby resulting in less demanding physical requirements needed for soldiers who operate the Next Generation AFV.
Vocation Deployment Criteria Review Provides More Opportunities to Serve. With these enabling technologies, the SAF has also reviewed its vocation deployment criteria to give our servicemen more opportunities to serve in vocations that they were previously ineligible for. The revision of the vocation deployment criteria will be conducted in phases from 2017 to 2019. Since 2017, the SAF has successfully deployed more than 600 servicemen to technical vocations, such as Maintenance, that they were previously ineligible for. The role of an Automotive Technician is an example of how the introduction of greater automation through the use of new technologies such as Telemetry Analytics Systems has reduced the physical demands on Automotive Technicians when they operate in the workshops. In 2018, we expect to deploy another 1,500 servicemen to more vocations, giving them more opportunities to serve. Creating more flexibility in deployment will increase the potential of our national servicemen to contribute to the operational edge of the SAF.