New CMPB to open in 2025; OneNS web portal to be ready this year

Actions /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/c233073e-f6e6-4f8f-8247-0ca171e0f185/29feb24_news1-photo1-thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-c233073e-f6e6-4f8f-8247-0ca171e0f185-oTTJmIc /web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/community/2024-Q1/29feb24_news1
29 Feb 2024 | COMMUNITY

New CMPB to open in 2025; OneNS web portal to be ready this year

//Story by Teo Jing Ting /Photos by PIONEER photographers

English Melayu

Servicemen across all stages of NS can look forward to greater convenience from new facilities and initiatives introduced by the SAF.

The new CMPB opposite Cashew MRT station will gradually be opened from 2025. [Image: MINDEF]

Where was CMPB (Central Manpower Base) located at when you enlisted for National Service (NS)? Servicemen today head to CMPB sited at Depot Road, while older generations will recall Dempsey as the place they went to.

From 2025, national servicemen will begin to know CMPB as being located in Bukit Gombak, opposite Cashew MRT station.

The new CMPB (previously called NS Hub) will be opened in phases from 2025, announced Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How.

Mr Heng was speaking at the Committee of Supply Debate on the defence budget on 29 Feb.

The new facility will feature an all-weather Fitness Conditioning Centre. [Image: MINDEF]

One-stop service centre

An integrated service hub for NS-related administration, the new CMPB will allow servicemen to undergo the Health Screening Programme, take their Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) or attend NS FIT training at the all-weather Fitness Conditioning Centre.

Pre-enlistees will attend medical screening and take their pre-enlistment IPPT there. The medical screening time will be shortened, thanks to an easier registration process and improved sequencing of stations.

"Conveniently located across the Cashew MRT station, the new CMPB will be seamlessly connected and sheltered from the station," said Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Lau Hui Boon in a media interview on 26 Feb.

The 50-year-old Head of the Gombak Redevelopment Project Office added that those entering the premises can just present their NRIC for registration instead of exchanging passes, making entry into the base much easier.

Housing medical specialists at one location

The new CMPB will also house the second Regional Health Hub (RHH), centralising various SAF healthcare facilities which are currently spread across the island.

These include the Medical Classification Centre (MCC); the Specialist Medical and Dental Centre; Health Screening Programme Centre; and MINDEF (Ministry of Defence) Medical Centre.

The new RHH will also house specialists from various fields, such as eye; ENT (Ear Nose and Throat); orthopaedics; dermatology; psychiatry; and occupational medicine.

The first RHH at Kranji Camp III only provides satellite psychiatry services.

LTC (Dr) Ho says that the new RHH will house specialists from various fields including orthopaedics, dermatology, psychiatry and occupational medicine.

"If a pre-enlistee has a medical review at the MCC and he needs a specialist review and we provide such a specialty within the health hub, he will be referred within the same hub for quicker consultation and turnover for his condition," said Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (Dr) Ho Boon Hor.

The 46-year-old Head of Specialist Health Services from Military Medicine Institute is in charge of overseeing the set-up of the second RHH.

Over the next decade, the SAF will be establishing up to four more RHHs islandwide.

Located at Dieppe Barracks, the third RHH will house the SAF's first Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre to better manage musculoskeletal injuries. It is slated to commence operations in 2027.

The OneNS mobile app is expected to be rolled out to all NS units by end-2024.

Making ICT process more seamless

In line with improving the NS experience, the oneNS Web Portal will gradually replace the NS Portal by the second half of this year.

Hosted on a commercial cloud, the revamped portal will allow smoother access with few disruptions, said Mr Heng.

There will also be an accompanying OneNS mobile app, which is expected to be rolled out to all NS units by end-2024.

Aimed to make In-Camp Training (ICT) administrative processes more efficient, the app includes streamlined in-processing via geo-location and QR code scanning features, as well as acknowledgement of ICT call-ups and the receipt of Make-up Pay.

Since December 2022, trials for the app have been ongoing for some 4,000 Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) to get it ready.

NSFs undergoing functional assessments for transport operators, such as the mounting and dismounting of a five-ton truck.

Maximising contributions of national servicemen

In recent years, the SAF has rolled out several schemes to improve and strengthen NS contributions.

These included redesigning 1,800 roles across 20 vocations such as Combat Medics, Infantry Carrier Vehicle Operators and Transport Operators, by leveraging on technology.

Since this initiative in 2021, close to 700 NSFs have been deployed in a wider range of operational roles that they were previously excluded from.

Another was to review the medical fitness criteria and matching these to the physical requirements of jobs.

In January 2022, functional assessments for pre-enlistees with selected orthopaedic conditions were introduced. Since then, 200 pre-enlistees have been assessed to be functionally able to be deployed to a wider range of roles than before, said Mr Heng.

(From left) 2SG Firqin, ME4A (NS) Seah and CPL (NS) Joel Lim have found the recent NS initiatives – such as work-learn schemes, Enhanced Expertise Deployment Scheme, and a platform to access online courses – to be useful for their work or studies.

Working & learning

To invest and tap on national servicemen's skills and knowledge, the SAF has introduced various Work-Learn Schemes (WLS).

For the uninitiated, Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) who join this scheme are able to attain a diploma or partial university credits while performing a period of full-time NS, followed by Regular service. This also allows them to better contribute to the SAF with their enhanced skills and knowledge.

To date, there are eight WLS; about 520 NSFs have been enrolled in them.

Among them is 2nd Sergeant (2SG) Firqin Akmal, who signed up for the WLS in military maintenance in June 2022.

The 24-year-old Automotive Specialist Technician in the Army's 3rd Army Maintenance Base joined the WLS as he wanted to pick up leadership and people management skills in the SAF, while getting credits at the same time.

2SG Firqin is also currently doing his Work Study Diploma in Lands Transport Engineering at ITE College West.

The latest Polytechnic Cyber Work-Learn Scheme aims to attract students enrolled in cyber-security courses in Singapore Polytechnic. [File photo]

This latest partnership is between the MINDEF and Singapore Polytechnic (SP).

Final-year SP students can enlist a year earlier than their schoolmates, while having their military service recognised towards the fulfilment of their polytechnic's final-year internship requirements.

Another new initiative is an academic sponsorship for polytechnic diploma students in both SP and Republic Polytechnic (RP).

Students reading aerospace electronics courses in SP and those studying electrical and electronic engineering or information technology in RP can apply for the SAF-Polytechnic Sponsorship for Integrated Curriculum (SPS-IC) Diplomas.

Applications for both schemes are already open, with the Polytechnic Cyber WLS and SPS-IC applications starting in October 2023 and February this year respectively.

Redeploying NSmen with relevant skills & expertise

Since 2014, the SAF has also been identifying NSmen with relevant skills and redeploying them to units where they can contribute their civilian expertise in a greater capacity, said Mr Heng.

So far, about 790 NSmen have been deployed over the years in roles such as C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computers) operators and legal officers.

Just within 2023, the SAF has redeployed about 260 NSmen, as well as introduced marine survey as a new domain.

One of these NSmen is Military Expert (ME) 4A (NS) Melvin Seah. The 40-year-old now serves as an incident response team lead from the Digital and Intelligence Service's SAF C4 Command.

Before he joined the Enhanced Expertise Deployment Scheme last year, ME4A (NS) Seah held the rank of ME2 and was a Company Sergeant Major in the unit.

In his civilian role, he oversees a team of incident responders in local cybersecurity firm Ensign InfoSecurity, where he manages cyber incidents.

"This is a place where I can contribute and learn new (cybersecurity) processes from my ICT peers and the Regulars, as well as share my knowledge from a commercial point of view," said ME4A (NS) Seah.

NSFs visiting the exhibition booths at a SkillsFuture@NS career and education fair. [File photo]

Smoother transition for NSFs post-NS

In the budget debate, Mr Heng also gave an update on what MINDEF is doing to help NSFs transit better to their further studies or workplace after NS.

Together with the Ministry of Home Affairs, it partnered NTUC Learning Hub and NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute to enhance the SkillsFuture@NS initiatives in 2022.

Under this enhancement, NSFs can use the SkillsFuture@NS Learning eXperience Platform (LXP) to gain unlimited access to 75,000 online courses.

Since its implementation, about 21,000 NSFs have signed up on the platform.

When he was about to complete his NS in 2023, Corporal (CPL) (NS) Joel Lim decided to sign up for the SkillsFuture@NS LXP to get back into the rhythm of learning and studying.

From presentation and team-building courses to food photography ones, the wide array of courses available has been interesting and useful to the 22-year-old Business Administration and Accounting undergraduate from the National University of Singapore.

"I wanted to keep my mind sharp and there are so many courses to choose from that can not only help in career and studies, but also just to learn about if it piques your interest," said CPL (NS) Lim, who served as a Military Policeman in Gombak Base.

In September 2023, MINDEF also collaborated with Young NTUC to introduce the Career Starter Lab programme to NSFs.

With close to 100 companies across a wide range of industries, such as food and beverage, retail, health, energy and finance, on board, this helps NSFs to kick start a career in the labour market.

All past and present national servicemen will receive $200 in LifeSG credits from this November. [File photo]

Appreciating past and present national servicemen

Mr Heng also noted that all past and present national servicemen will receive $200 in LifeSG credits this November, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong earlier on 16 Feb.

Valid one year from the date of issue, the credits can be used at any online or physical merchants accepting payment by "Scan and Pay” via Paynow UEN QR or NETs QR.

The amount is on top of the $100 disbursed in 2022 to commemorate NS55 (55 years of NS).

"NS remains the cornerstone in safeguarding our security, sovereignty and way of life.

"We must continue to do our utmost to strengthen the NS system, make full use of our NSF and NSmen's talent and skills, (and) appreciate their valuable contributions. We must take good care of them," concluded Mr Heng.

Suggested Reading
Training set to begin in new SAFTI City & battle circuits
Cover story
Training set to begin in new SAFTI City & battle circuits

Starting this year, soldiers will be able to train more realistically and effectively as three new Instrumented Battle Circuits and SAFTI City progressively open up.

MINDEF to acquire 8 F-35A fighter jets; platform upgrades on track Feature
MINDEF to acquire 8 F-35A fighter jets; platform upgrades on track

The acquisition of eight new F-35A fighter planes, in addition to 12 F-35Bs previously announced, are part of a steady, long-term investment to build a strong SAF.

Army marks 55th anniversary, holds first ever virtual exhibition
Army marks 55th anniversary, holds first ever virtual exhibition

There's a whole host of activities and games for everyone in the family at the Army 55 virtual exhibition.

Prepared for pandemics Feature
Prepared for pandemics

It's the first next-generation medical centre that is designed to handle pandemic outbreaks.

S’pore unveils new Total Defence logo
S’pore unveils new Total Defence logo

For the first time in 35 years, the Total Defence logo has a fresh, new look. The designer Samantha Teng shares her inspiration and message behind the new logo which incorporates Digital Defence.

SAF enhances precautionary measures against novel coronavirus Feature
SAF enhances precautionary measures against novel coronavirus

In view of the 2019 novel coronavirus situation, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has enhanced measures at SAF camps and bases to safeguard the health of its soldiers while maintaining operational readiness. Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How visited the Basic Military Training Centre on 11 Feb to observe the measures that have been put in place.

Top 9 SAF stories of 2019 Feature
Top 9 SAF stories of 2019

As the year draws to a close, PIONEER looks back at nine of the most significant MINDEF/SAF stories and events in 2019.

What you need to know about NS Hub Feature
What you need to know about NS Hub

By 2023, national servicemen will be able to access all their National Service (NS)- and training-related activities in a one-stop centre.

Doing her part for the nation
Doing her part for the nation

Would you reschedule your honeymoon to cover for a colleague while he went for In-Camp Training (ICT)? Ms Ulfah Khairiah Binte Aman did just that in December last year.