Introducing sandals, better meals: How NS has changed in 55 years and the road ahead

With demographic and other challenges looming, the institution will have to evolve to meet the changing expectations of the population and a new generation of enlistees. Insight speaks with academics, defence chiefs, policymakers and servicemen to examine the thinking behind current policies and the road ahead.

All male citizens and PRs are liable for national service, with non-officers serving from age 18 to 40 and officers to 50. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
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SINGAPORE - In the 1980s, soldiers were allowed to wear only combat boots or running shoes in camp, even when these were wet from the rain after field training.

This meant there was little opportunity to dry their feet even when not training. Then an armour trainee, former chief of defence force Desmond Kuek suggested having sandals as part of the basic kit, to be worn in camp.

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