Parliament: New cyber vocation 'selective and demanding' comparable to commandos and naval divers, says Ong Ye Kung

A new cyber vocation has been formed and full-time national servicemen will be deployed in this role from August this year.
A new cyber vocation has been formed and full-time national servicemen will be deployed in this role from August this year. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's cyber defenders will need to possess "a high level of skill" given the increasing frequency and complexity of cyberattacks, Second Minister of Defence Ong Ye Kung said on Friday (March 3).

"They will be entering a very selective and demanding vocation, comparable to the commandos or naval divers," he said at the Ministry of Defence's (Mindef) Committee of Supply debate in Parliament.

Earlier, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced that Mindef will set up a cyber command - comprising 2,600 personnel in total - to beef up its defence against cyber attacks, and rope in national servicemen (NSmen) to play a bigger role in safeguarding the nation's military networks.

A new cyber vocation has been formed and full-time national servicemen will be deployed in this role from August this year.

Men who possess cyber skills will be "rigorously selected and identified" before they are enlisted, Mr Ong said. This can be done through established local cyber competitions, camps and activities, as well as selection tests.

 
 
 
 

Part of the selection process can take place in junior colleges, polytechnics, institutes of technical education. This will heighten the interest and expertise in cyber and digital technology among students, added Mr Ong, who is also Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills).

"This will also increase the talent pool for national defence as well as Singapore's growing cyber industry," he said, as he noted the 50th anniversary of national service in Singapore.

Mr Ong also announced a new Centre for Excellence for Soldier Performance that will focus on improving the fitness and well-being of troops.

It will do so by developing fitness regimes, soldier nutrition studies, injury prevention programmes, and rehabilitation regimes to help injured national servicemen recover. It will also look into enhancing the mental strength of our soldiers.

With technological advances, the SAF is also reviewing vocation requirements and can better deploy full-time national servicemen effectively in accordance to their fitness and abilities.