The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning cooperation in cyberspace with the United States (US) Department of Defense on 20 August 2021. The MOU, signed by Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Melvyn Ong with Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino and Commander of the US Cyber Command General Paul Nakasone, would institutionalise cyber cooperation between the two defence establishments. Such cooperation and engagements are professionally valuable, help to build mutual understanding and facilitate info-sharing and collaboration between trusted partners in capacity-building efforts.
The conclusion of the MOU was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US Vice President Kamala Harris earlier today during a joint press conference, as part of a suite of deliverables between Singapore and the US, which saw the expansion of bilateral cybersecurity cooperation with the conclusion of three MOUs between MINDEF/SAF, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and their respective US counterparts. Highlighting the significance of MINDEF/SAF's MOU, LG Ong said, "This MOU on cyberspace cooperation between Singapore and US defence establishments is an important step in formalising our cyber cooperation, and a reflection of our continued commitment to expand our defence collaboration in more areas. We look forward to cooperating with the US in this complex cybersecurity landscape".
The defence establishments of Singapore and the US enjoy extensive defence interactions, including dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, training and cross-attendance of courses, and defence technology cooperation. The Singapore-US defence relationship is anchored by the 1990 MOU Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore, the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement which recognised Singapore as a Major Security Cooperation Partner, and the 2015 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement which expanded defence collaboration across traditional and non-conventional security areas and laid out new areas of cooperation including in cyber defence and biosecurity. The 2019 Protocol of Amendment to the 1990 MOU extends the US forces' access to Singapore's military facilities for another 15 years.