56 NSF cyber specialists in pioneer batch graduate

(From left) 3SG Saif Erfan Bin Mohamed, Armoured Infantry Specialist, 3SG Tan Jia Le, Cyber (Specialist), Golden Bayonet Recipient and 3SG Thaneswari D/O P Manoharan, Signals Specialist, at the 40th Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade on Aug 22, 2019. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Fifty-six full-time national servicemen from the pioneer batch of cyber specialists graduated on Thursday (Aug 22).

The Cyber NSF Scheme received its first intake last December, and the NSFs underwent a 35-week course at the Cyber Defence School at Stagmont Camp in Choa Chu Kang.

The course started out with 59 NSFs.

Third Sergeant (3SG) Tan Jia Le decided to sign up for the Cyber NSF Scheme in his third-year of diploma studies in infocomm security management at Singapore Polytechnic.

"When I heard about the scheme, I thought it was perfect for me. I could use what I learnt, constantly upgrade my skills, and earn university credits at the same time," said 3SG Tan, 20, who received one of 13 Golden Bayonets, awarded to the top specialist cadet graduands from each vocation.

As he has now graduated as a full-fledged specialist, 3SG Tan, who is a regular serviceman, will perform advanced cyber roles for Mindef and the Singapore Armed Forces such as threat monitoring for signs of intrusion, making sure that there is no suspicious traffic, as well as responding to cyber incidents.

He will also go for weekly lessons at the Singapore Institute of Technology. After completing the scheme in three to four years, he and his peers will go on to complete the full-time degree in cyber security.

On Thursday evening, 3SG Tan and his 55 peers were among 1,087 cadets who took part in the 40th Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade at Pasir Laba Camp to mark the completion of the 22-week Specialist Cadet Course. The others were 896 cadets from the Singapore Army, 81 from the Republic of Singapore Navy, and 54 from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Among them were regular servicewoman Thaneswari P Manoharan, 22, who graduated as a Signals Specialist, and NSF Saif Erfan Mohamed, 20, who graduated as an Armoured Infantry Specialist.

In a speech, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and for Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng said the pioneer batch of cyber specialists will lead the way in building up Singapore's cyber defence capabilities.

He also told the graduands that, as leaders, they will have to train their soldiers to achieve high standards of operational readiness while remembering that safety is a top priority.

"The journey ahead of you may not always be smooth, but I am confident that no matter what adversity you may face, you will overcome it through teamwork and learning from those who have come before you," he added.

Correction note: In an earlier version of the article, we said NSFs will complete the full-time degree in their fourth to sixth year in the scheme. It should be after completing the scheme in three to four years. We are sorry for the error.

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