Wide range of factors used in picking of commanders

We refer to the letter by Mr John Lim Le Sheng (Don't sort army recruits by their education levels, Dec 31, 2018).

High performing full-time national servicemen (NSFs) are selected for command school from all intakes of NSFs.

Commander selection is based on a holistic and comprehensive system. Factors considered include cognitive ability, field assessments, peer and instructor appraisals, and medical and physical fitness.

While most commanders are selected during Basic Military Training (BMT), NSFs can also be considered for commander appointments after they have demonstrated exceptional performance in their units. Those who qualify include NSFs from a variety of educational backgrounds and vocations.

In 2018, the SAF introduced the One-BMT programme, which enlists NSFs from different educational backgrounds into the same unit.

Servicemen in the programme go through a common National Service (NS) training experience and stay together as a unit throughout their NS journey.

The NS experience provides developmental opportunities to all NSFs. Leadership traits that Mr Lim mentioned such as responsibility for others, resilience, and courage to make difficult decisions, are developed in each soldier regardless of their background, rank and appointment.

Team-based activities inculcate values such as teamwork and care for fellow soldiers.

NSFs also often take on leadership roles even as non-commanders, such as leading innovation projects or organising unit events, giving them valuable leadership experience.

We thank Mr Lim and other fellow Singaporeans for their strong support and commitment to NS.

Lee Chung Wei

Director Manpower

Ministry of Defence

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2019, with the headline 'Wide range of factors used in picking of commanders'. Print Edition | Subscribe