New complex to house defence engineers

Dr Ng (second from left) viewing models of the Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle and Trailblazer Countermine Vehicle at the DSTA Gallery in the DSTA Integrated Complex during the opening ceremony of the new complex yesterday.
Dr Ng (second from left) viewing models of the Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle and Trailblazer Countermine Vehicle at the DSTA Gallery in the DSTA Integrated Complex during the opening ceremony of the new complex yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Singapore's top defence engineers are now working under one roof - the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) Integrated Complex, which was officially opened yesterday.

Made up of a new 12-storey building and an existing 25-storey structure, it will house 3,000 engineers who were previously spread over three locations - Depot Road, Bukit Merah and the Science Park.

Built on a space the size of three football pitches, it has adopted an "open concept office" without walls or cubicles to encourage interaction.

DSTA chief executive Tan Peng Yam said it aims to "promote" teamwork.

The new complex was opened by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who also toured the premises.

He said that today's security threats from extremists, cyber warfare, biological pandemics and hybrid warfare require defence engineers and scientists to take a "cross-disciplinary approach" to solve problems and innovate.

The design of the building will "break down the barriers" between engineers, technologists and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), he added.

Noting that this year also marks 50 years since Singapore's Defence Technology Community was set up, Dr Ng credited its members who "dared to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals".

He said the DSTA has boosted the Republic's defence science capabilities.

With a "significant and permanent reduction" in the SAF's manpower pool after 2030, the military will increasingly use more robotics and unmanned platforms, said Dr Ng, who urged defence engineers to continue building up the armed forces.

DSTA cybersecurity engineer Leon Cheng said his move to the new premises later this year will make it easier for him to meet his colleagues.

Currently, the 37-year-old - who has worked in the DSTA for 13 years - takes up to 20 minutes to shuttle between his Science Park office and Depot Road as often as three times a week.

"There are no walls and when you stand up, you can see and talk to everyone, making it much easier and convenient to develop new software solutions quickly and easily."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'New complex to house defence engineers'. Print Edition | Subscribe