Committee of Supply Debate 2020

Committee of Supply Debate 2020
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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How and Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman outlined the Ministry of Defence’s (MINDEF's) focus areas for the coming year at MINDEF's Committee of Supply (COS) debate in Parliament on Monday, 2 March 2020.


As Singapore enters a new phase of geopolitics, we need to forge stronger relations with our key partners and preserve space for ourselves, to maintain our sovereignty and independence, and to pursue our own interest.

Some examples of MINDEF/SAF's efforts to strengthen defence ties with the United States (US), China and key partners include:


Against the changing geopolitics, the SAF will restructure to better respond to clear and present security threats - terrorism, cyber threats and maritime threats.

Enhanced Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Capabilities

  • Through stepped-up efforts and formalised intelligence sharing under the ASEAN 'Our Eyes' Intelligence Initiative, the SAF will work closely with other like-minded countries.
  • The SAF is restructuring its own military intelligence outfits so that counter-terrorism intelligence to detect, forewarn and respond to terrorist plots is part and parcel of its core mission to protect Singapore.

Stronger Cyber Detection Capabilities

  • A high-level committee, headed by Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) and Chief of Defence Force, will guide restructuring efforts to create an integrated Cyber Command to defend our digital borders, especially against foreign cyber actors. The SAF Cyber Command will provide threat assessments and early warning of cyberattacks, and respond accordingly.

New Maritime Capabilities

Click the image below to view the full infographic.

Restructuring the SAF


To deal with both conventional and unconventional threats in an uncertain landscape, the SAF will continue to develop overseas training areas and facilities where servicemen and units can receive effective training that makes the decisive difference.

Next-Generation Training Facilities in Australia

Under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia, the facilities being developed in Shoalwater Bay and Greenvale include modern instrumented training ranges, such as the Combined Arms Air-Land Ranges and Urban Operations Live Firing facilities, in an area approximately 10 times the size of Singapore. Significant progress has also been made with the completion of an ammunition storage building in 2019.

The training areas in Shoalwater Bay and Greenvale are expected to be ready for operation by 2024 and 2028 respectively. Upon completion, the SAF will be able to conduct integrated training across all three Services, involving up to 14,000 personnel and 2,400 vehicles over up to 18 weeks annually.

Training Opportunities and Capabilities for Navy

Last year, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) participated in Exercise Pacific Griffin and the inaugural Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise. This year, the RSN will take on a key leadership role in the world's largest multilateral maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific Exercise or RIMPAC, alongside established navies in the Pacific Ocean. These overseas deployments help to validate the RSN's systems and benchmark competencies.

The last three of the RSN's fleet of eight Littoral Mission Vessels were commissioned last month. With the commencement of trials for the new Invincible-class submarine in Germany, her pioneer crew is undergoing work-up training.

New Fighter Training Detachment in Guam

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed last December by the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, a fighter training detachment will be established in Guam. Upon completion in 2029, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) plans to deploy F-15s, F-16s and supporting assets such as the Gulfstream 550 – Airborne Early Warning for training. The training airspace around Guam, approximately 80 times the size of Singapore, will allow the RSAF to conduct larger scale, more complex and realistic air-to-air and air-to-ground training to hone operational capabilities.

Click the image below to view the full infographic.

Overseas Training Spaces

Acquisition of F-35B Fighter Aircraft

Following last year's announcement on plans to purchase the F-35s, the SAF will acquire four F-35Bs and locate them in US for training and in-depth evaluation. The fifth-generation fighter aircraft is able to take off from a shorter runway and land vertically, an essential feature in land-scarce Singapore.


In support of WOG efforts to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change, the SAF will make significant changes to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Net Positive Energy Aircraft Hangar

In March 2020, the first net positive energy aircraft hangar in Changi Air Base will be delivered. The project design obtained the Green Mark (GM) Platinum (Positive Energy) award, and was lauded for its ability to produce 30% more electricity than it consumes.

Energy-Efficient Buildings

  • The upcoming National Service (NS) Hub's design incorporates features that maximise natural ventilation and daylight, while reducing solar heat gain and energy demand. It aims to be among the top 10% of energy-efficient buildings in Singapore.
  • Net zero energy buildings at Kranji and Seletar camps have been commissioned, and buildings in 12 SAF camps will be solar-powered by March 2021.

Other Green Initiatives

  • By 2022, 400 administrative vehicles will be replaced with hybrid models, reducing carbon emissions by up to two-thirds per vehicle, and later when the island's infrastructure is built, with electric vehicles.
  • A waste management system has been established under a joint collaboration with National Environmental Agency, Singapore Food Industries and Defence Science and Technology Agency, turning food waste collected from 18 SAF cookhouses into biogas. If successful, this will be expanded to all cookhouses.
  • The RSN is exploring the use of hybrid propulsion systems in designing its incoming vessels, instead of traditional fuel-based ones.

Click the image below to view the full infographic.

Green Initiatives

With National Service being the cornerstone of Singapore's defence, the SAF is committed to training our national servicemen effectively and safely. This means putting in place a robust training safety system, because we are accountable for every single national serviceman.

Training Safety

  • Since the formation of the SAF Inspector-General Office in February 2019, it has audited 70% of all formations and their sub-units across the SAF. The remaining will be completed by September 2020. These audits include interviews with servicemen at every level to understand how safety measures are practised.
  • On the ground, every soldier needs to be more conscious about keeping safe while training. To instil this, unit commanders regularly conduct before- and after-action reviews and risk assessments using checklists with their unit as part of their daily routine.
  • The "SafeGuardian" one-stop mobile app will be progressively rolled out to provide servicemen with on-the-go access to safety checklists, instant sharing of hazards among servicemen, and notification of danger zones.

Medical Support

  • Under Project Serve, SAF medics undergo six-month attachment programmes within the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF's) ambulances. These provided valuable experience working under real-life, time-pressured conditions. Recently, an attachment with the National University Hospital – NUH Emergency Medicine Department was piloted and proved extremely valuable for our medics. Discussions are underway with both SCDF and other hospitals to expand the programmes.

  • The SAF is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We take reference from the government's precautionary measures and apply them to pre-enlistees and NSmen who travelled to Mainland China and Daegu City or Cheongdo County in South Korea and are due for enlistment or In-Camp Training.
  • All SAF Medical Centres have a Pandemic Readiness Response Plan in place – with sufficient quantities of Personal Protective Equipment and medical personnel to manage any suspected cases.


The SAF will continue to improve the NS experience for every serviceman at every stage of the NS journey, to boost their commitment towards national defence.

Preparing Pre-Enlistees Adequately

  • The SAF has partnered with ACCORD to appoint dedicated NS Coordinators in Foreign System Schools and Privately Funded Institutions to assist pre-enlistees who come from diverse backgrounds - new citizens and permanent residents, with their questions on NS.
  • Under MINDEF's Pre-Enlistees Exercise Programme for National Service (PREP4NS), pre-enlistees can sign up for a one-year complimentary membership to six SAFRA EnergyOne gyms. The trial is ongoing and MINDEF is working with SportSG to extend the membership to 24 ActiveSG gyms.

Maximising Potential and Supporting NSFs

  • SkillsFuture@NS, which was introduced last year, will be enhanced. NSFs can now look forward to a full subsidy of E-PREP courses, up from the current subsidy of 90%. Two new institutions - National University of Singapore and Institute of Technical Education - are also coming on board. With these additions, NSFs across the SAF and the Home Team will be able to enjoy more than 4,000 E-PREP courses from 1 April 2020.

Recognising Contributions of Servicemen and Families

  • From 1 March 2020, the monthly NS allowance will increase by $70 to $120 for NSFs and NSmen across all ranks in the SAF and the Home Team.
  • MINDEF will launch the SAFRA Family Scheme by the second-half of 2020, where NSmen can sign up for a family package for himself and his dependants, regardless of the size of his family. They will be able to enjoy access to SAFRA facilities and benefits at a single subsidised fee. More details will be announced in mid-2020.

Leveraging Technology to Better Serve National Servicemen

  • New and enhanced Smart CMPB e-services will be rolled out in June 2020, to significantly reduce pre-enlistees' transaction times by up to 40%.
  • A new service - "Virtual Care" that leverages technologies such as digital stethoscopes and video conferencing tools is being trialled to allow Medical Officers to provide safe and effective treatment for servicemen, while based at different locations. When fully deployed, servicemen will enjoy more convenient access to medical services and reduced wait times.

Click on the image below to view the full infographic.



MINDEF continues to do its part in enhancing Singaporeans' and servicemen's understanding of digital threats and how everyone can play their part.

Increasing Information Literacy Across MINDEF/SAF

  • All BMT recruits will now have to complete an e-module on Digital Security as part of their BMT curriculum and visit the Digital Defence exhibition at the Singapore Discovery Centre to deepen knowledge on cyberattacks and information threats.
  • The first batch of Specialists from the Cyber NSF scheme has been deployed into cyber defence operations across MINDEF/SAF.
  • The Defence Cyber Security Centre has also reached 24/7 operating capability to monitor, detect and respond to cyber threats. It will coordinate operations across the defence sector and integrate cyber threat intelligence capabilities.

Equipping Business Owners With Domain Knowledge

  • In a collaboration between MINDEF, SkillsFuture Singapore, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and National Library Board, a Digital Defence component will be introduced into SUSS' SME Resilience, Entrepreneurship and Nurturing programme to teach small- and medium-sized business owners on how to use the S.U.R.E (Source, Understand, Research & Evaluate) framework to identify online falsehoods.

Building Community Resilience

MINDEF is collaborating with People's Association to introduce the Total Defence Achiever Badge programme for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), an organised group of volunteers specially trained to respond to emergencies. To achieve the highest tier of the programme, CERT members have to attend lessons to learn how to identify fake news, community mediation and psychological first aid, among other training components.

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