The safety and well-being of national servicemen remain a priority of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). MINDEF/SAF has been harnessing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics and conducting research into novel technologies to improve existing frameworks and solutions designed to enhance servicemen's safety during trainings and operations. This year, the SAF will be establishing the Heat Resilience and Performance Centre (HRPC) to address rising ambient heat, which poses critical risk to operational readiness of the SAF, and rolling out an SAF-level digital safety information system.
The SAF's Heat Resilience and Performance Centre
According to the National Climate Change Secretariat Singapore, the annual mean temperature in Singapore has risen from 26.9 degrees to 28.0 degrees due to climate change, between 1980 and 2020. The HRPC will be the first-of-its-kind in Singapore aimed at addressing rising ambient heat. In order to holistically address these challenges, the SAF will collaborate with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and DSO National Laboratories (DSO), to address more fundamental and forward-looking approaches and to generate solutions for the SAF over the longer term. This collaboration will lead to an exponential leap in R&D outcomes as it leverages the collective expertise and operational insights among the organisations. The HRPC, to be established later this year, will be situated in NUS.
The HRPC will work on four key research thrusts that take on a more fundamental approach towards developing game-changing heat resilient and heat proofing solutions to benefit the SAF at both the organisational and soldier levels. The four key thrusts are:
(1) Active surveillance to uncover new factors that could influence onset of heat injury and reinforce our research focus and mitigation strategies
(2) Real-time prediction and detection of at-risk soldiers to prevent heat injury
(3) Strengthening heat resilience of soldiers through novel and more efficient heat mitigating strategies
(4) Infrastructure enhancement to reduce the heat stress of soldiers during training
While the focus of the R&D is targeted towards a military context, key fundamental outcomes and approaches will be applicable outside the military to para-military and civilian context.
The SAF's Enterprise Safety Information System (ESIS)
The SAF is currently developing the Next-Gen safety information system that leverages digital technologies and data-driven safety management to better support the safety requirements in today's world. The Enterprise Safety Information System (ESIS) leverages safety information across the SAF, and using data analytics, flags out areas of safety concerns in a timely manner to predict and prevent potential accidents.
The key features of the SAF ESIS are:
a. Safety In Your Hands. SafeGuardian, the SAF-wide safety mobile application was launched in June 2021. Commanders and servicemen will be empowered to perform a variety of safety functions using their personal mobile devices on-the-go. Open reports filed via SafeGuardian will be disseminated in a timely manner across the SAF and then transferred to ESIS for analysis. There has been a 20 per cent increase in open reports filed over the same period compared to the previous year. SafeGuardian will remain the key tool to help strengthen our servicemen's involvement and engagement on safety.
b. Enhancing Safety Situation Awareness. The ESIS is a digital portal hosted on MINDEF/SAF's resident IT system. The ESIS allows safety information sharing across Services to establish overall safety trends and patterns, and enable Commanders to draw SAF-wide insights. Its data analytics tools will draw from a central repository of safety and other datasets on training, medical, equipment maintenance and HR, to support trend analyses. This will help Commanders monitor safety information, safety trends and safety alerts to direct their safety efforts. With better awareness of the safety status, it will make safety more targeted, and accident prevention more effective and timely.
c. Preventing the Next Accident. The SAF is leveraging data science and AI technologies to support in-depth data analytics using relevant data from SAF systems. This will lead to discovery of potential risks in operations and training, help predict probable future occurrences, and recommend pre-emptive actions to prevent potential accidents. This effort will increase the safety community's capacity to drive improvement in SAF's safety performance and enhance its ability to achieve zero accidents. More new features for ESIS will be progressively built and rolled out every six months as we aim to achieve the full operational capability by 2023.
 These include near-miss or hazard reporting, risk assessment for safe conduct of activities, timely sharing and dissemination of critical information such as hazard proximity zones and weather conditions, and referencing of safety materials.