Train NSFs, NSmen to take charge in terror crisis

NSmen carrying their weapons for a live firing exercise at Nee Soon Camp.
NSmen carrying their weapons for a live firing exercise at Nee Soon Camp. PHOTO: ST FILE

Without a doubt, it is everyone's duty to prevent and deter terrorism ("S'poreans urged to be more security conscious"; last Tuesday).

The problem is that many of us are not equipped with the knowledge or training to do so. The real question is: How do we do so?

Fortunately, there is a solution to jump-start the process: It is our men and women who are currently serving or have served national service, or who participate in our civil defence.

We no longer have the luxury of thinking that wars are fought on a well-defined battlefront while in uniform. The vicious nature of terrorism has brought war into our everyday lives.

From neighbourhood coffee shops to temples, these mundane locations are extremely vulnerable targets for any terrorist.

Given that our population has a large portion of full-time national servicemen (NSFs) and operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) well distributed throughout the country, their anti-terrorism skills and actions may save many lives, should a terrorist act occur.

Therefore, it is imperative that our NSFs and NSmen update their skill sets to heighten their awareness, reaction and rescue skills in off-duty scenarios.

Ideally, they will have the skills and initiative to detect suspicious characters or activities, come up with plans with others in the immediate area with similar skills, implement effective evacuations and deploy life-saving emergency medical aid until help arrives.

More importantly, they need to feel empowered to take the initiative, without waiting for government instructions.

Such skills should be inculcated in every new recruit and reservist as soon as possible.

From there, it is their duty to educate their families on their respective roles during a crisis.

Young Chuan Hwa

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Train NSFs, NSmen to take charge in terror crisis'. Print Edition | Subscribe