More training, operations to counter terror threat

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be sending more troops to Iraq later this year as part of international efforts to deal with terrorism at its source.

At home, the SAF's Homeland Security Training Centre and the Singapore Police Force's Frontline Policing Training Centre will conduct routine joint training sessions to arm soldiers with the skills to carry out homeland security operations.

These joint SAF-police training sessions are where SAF troops and police officers will practise operating together through a series of training scenarios. The sessions, aimed at enhancing inter-operability, will be the first routine training between the security forces when they start from early this year.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced these moves to deal with the terror threat yesterday in a speech during the debate on his ministry's spending plans.

He said "considerable progress" has been made since SAF troops were deployed in Iraq in 2014, adding that the coalition effort led by the United States has taken Iraq back from the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"Singapore will maintain our commitment to counter-terrorism globally, for our own interests."

The SAF Counter-Terrorism Training Unit will be deployed to Iraq to partner the Australian Defence Force to train Iraqi Security Forces in tactical-level weapons and combat tactics. The unit will partner the British Armed Forces to train Iraqi forces in counter-improvised explosive devices.

This deployment was in response to the coalition's request for combat engineer trainers and trainers with tactical weapons and combat tactics expertise to support the operational needs of the coalition in Iraq, said a Ministry of Defence statement.

The team, led by an SAF officer, will comprise combat engineer trainers specialising in counter-improvised explosive devices, weapons and combat tactics trainers, and a medical team of a medical officer and a medic.

Starting this year, a Community Response Module was introduced to equip all Mindef and SAF personnel with the ability to protect themselves, and help those around them in a terror attack. Another module will train recruits to respond to a crisis or security incident even when not on duty.

Lim Min Zhang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'More training, operations to counter terror threat'. Print Edition | Subscribe