SAF welcomes first batch of C4X Senior Military Experts
// Story by Chia Chong Jin
// Photos by Chua Soon Lye
Wanting to make a career in the field of cyber security and contribute to Singapore's defence, then-Corporal First Class (NS) Chew Tee Chin decided to join the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) under the Command, Control, Communications and Computers Expert (C4X) scheme.
Introduced by Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in 2019, C4Xs are tasked to work alongside Defence Cyber Experts, as well as cyber Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), to strengthen MINDEF's and SAF's cyber defence capabilities.
"I was already interested in signing on during National Service but was not sure if a military career was right for me," said the 30-year-old.
"It was only after my final year of university, after completing a few cycles of In-Camp Training, that I knew I wanted to remain in the SAF for the remainder of my career."
He became a Regular in 2017, and he has since then gone through the Officer Cadet Course and the Military Domain Experts Course (MDEC), which trains Military Experts to assume roles in the SAF where in-depth expertise in areas such as engineering, intelligence, military medicine and cyber security is required.
On 15 Jan, Military Expert (ME) 4 Chew received his Senior Military Expert rank alongside 90 other servicemen and women at a ceremony held at Temasek Club. He is among the four Senior Military Experts from the first batch of C4X trainees.
Speaking at the ceremony, Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How highlighted the significance of the new C4X vocation.
He said: "With the proliferation of cyber weapons, malicious actors now have a borderless and asymmetric instrument to launch attacks… Being a highly networked force, it is vital for MINDEF and the SAF to strengthen our systems against cyber threats."
Mr Heng's words were not lost on ME4 Chew. He initially applied to become a Military Intelligence Expert but decided to take up the challenge to become a C4X after being offered the vocation.
"During the interview, I told them that I studied programming and software development for game design and they offered me the opportunity to become a C4X.
"Looking back, the C4X role is the obvious choice for me, as it is something that I am actively interested in, in terms of programming and software development, so this vocation allows me to keep my interests going."
Currently, ME4 Chew performs operational roles in areas such as network monitoring and cyber incident response in the SAF C4 Command.
"My team and I continuously monitor the networks on a 24/7 basis, and we are always ready to respond to any incidents if they arise."
ME4 Chew also goes through on-job training and industry external courses to sharpen his cyber security skills. He is also tasked to train the Full-time National Servicemen in his unit after they graduate from the Cyber Defence School.
Through his work, ME4 Chew hopes to inspire more military personnel to join the SAF C4 Command and take the step towards safeguarding Singapore's cybersecurity.