Non-combat troops can help in cyber defence

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.PHOTO: ST FILE

Soldiers who may not be fit enough to take on combat roles can instead help the Singapore Armed Forces in its fight against online threats.

Calling this group of soldiers a "resource pool that we can draw from", Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said they can work alongside their combat-fit counterparts to monitor cyber threats and beef up the Singapore Armed Forces' networks against virtual attacks.

Dr Ng said the SAF will add more regulars, full-time and operationally ready national servicemen to the SAF's Cyber Defence Operations Hub.

The unit, which was formed in 2013, brings the SAF's cyber-security experts under one command.

Soldiers with medical conditions are usually exempted from activities such as long marches and field camps during their full-time NS stints. They form about 6 per cent of the cohort and are referred to in military parlance as "Pes C", short for Physical Employment Status C.

Dr Ng said: "You have now a new arena where more and more people can make a fundamental difference, even a bigger impact, contribute more. So this works to our advantage."

Jermyn Chow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Non-combat troops can help in cyber defence'. Print Edition | Subscribe