New SAF post for retired brigadier-generals

Highest appointment for NS generals is now Deputy Division Commander

RETIRED brigadier-generals in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are being redeployed in an operational capacity as Deputy Division Commanders.

The newly created post, which can be held only by NSmen, was introduced in 2011.

Before this, the highest appointment an NSman could hold was that of division chief of staff, which is typically a rank of colonel.

The move allows the SAF to tap upon the experience and expertise of the retired brigadier generals in a similar capacity to that which they served in their active days.

"Our regulars gain much experience and expertise in the course of their careers," said Chief of Staff (General Staff) and Director (National Service Affairs) Brigadier-General (BG) Tung Yui Fai.

He added that these new appointments will allow the SAF to fully tap on these qualities for operational requirements, mentorship and the sharing and retention of knowledge and skills.

All three Deputy Division Commanders that the Ministry of Defence has identified are former commanders themselves of one of the SAF's combined arms divisions.

The active commanders they will now support hold the brigadier-general rank as well.

BG (Volunteer) Lim Teck Yin, now the chief executive officer of the Singapore Sports Council, holds the Deputy Division Commander position in the Singapore 9th Division.

He was the commander of the Singapore 6th Division from 2007 to 2008.

The other two Deputy Division Commanders are BG (NS) Tan Yih San (3rd Division) and BG (VOL) Ishak Ismail (6th Division). BG (NS) Tan is currently the chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore while BG (VOL) Ishak is the chief executive officer (Defence Services) at logistics company CWT Limited.

BG (VOL) Lim actually handed over command of the Singapore 6th Division to BG (VOL) Ishak back in 2008 while BG (NS) Tan commanded the Singapore 3rd Division from 2005 to 2008.

"It's certainly a privilege to continue to serve alongside our regulars," said BG (VOL) Lim.

"One thing that struck me when I was a regular was the number of senior personnel who had reached the statutory age (of the Enlistment Act) but continued to volunteer in the SAF.

"I think for us to serve reinforces the same message - to help the next generation of leaders.

"It's about being present and supporting what the active commanders are trying to do."

Mindef said that it currently has more than 200 volunteers across various ranks holding different appointments in the SAF.

qnwong@sph.com.sg