SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) is on a recruitment hunt for cyber security specialists whose mission will be to beef up its cyber defences.
It has also set up a new cyber training school that will conduct courses for such specialised personnel and also help improve cyber hygiene for servicemen and employees across the ministry and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
In a statement on Wednesday (Feb 20), Mindef said it hopes to recruit some 300 personnel to perform specialised operational roles in areas such as cyber incident response, monitoring of computer networks, and testing for security weaknesses in IT infrastructure and applications.
The announcements were made on the sidelines of an Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (Accord) visit to Stagmont Camp, hosted by Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How.
Mr Heng told reporters after the visit that the establishment of these schemes and the cyber defence school will put Singapore in a better position to defend itself against cyber threats.
"(Why we've set up these capabilities is) to ensure that we are operationally ready even in the face of these attacks, so that we can protect our sovereignty and give peace of mind to Singaporeans," he said.
These regular personnel, who will be on the front lines of Mindef and SAF systems to protect against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, will come under two schemes.
These are: the Command, Control, Communications and Computers Expert (C4X) vocation under the military experts scheme, and the Defence Cyber Expert (DCX) job specialisation for defence executive officers.
The introduction of the new schemes means that there are now specialised roles in cyber defence for uniformed and non-uniformed regular personnel, as well as for national servicemen.
In February last year, Mindef introduced a scheme for full-time national servicemen (NSF) cyber specialists, where they will take classes under the Singapore Institute of Technology's cyber-security degree, while being deployed in advanced cyber-defence roles.
The C4X scheme will be implemented in the middle of this year, while the DCX scheme started late last year.
The SAF Cyber Defence School, which was established last November and opened on Wednesday by Chief C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) Ng Chad-Son, has run courses such as the Cyber Defence Operator and Cyber Specialist Cadet courses, meant for NSFs in the cyber vocation.
The school will also conduct cyber security workshops for servicemen and employees of Mindef and the SAF to strengthen education on cyber standards, regulations and best practices, and to inculcate strong cyber awareness.
Depending on their operational roles, DCX and C4X personnel will be trained in technical skills such as threat hunting, malware forensics, cryptography, network security and cyber analytics.
Besides operational roles, these regular servicemen can also be deployed to staff appointments like operations planning, policy formulation and long-term capability development, said Mindef.
The apex appointment under the C4X scheme is a Military Expert 8-ranked commander (Brigadier-General equivalent), and Defence Cyber Chief for the DCX scheme.
Some of the qualifications required to apply for these schemes include information technology and computing-related academic qualifications, strong analytical abilities, and certifications in the cyber security field.
C4X personnel will specialise in military cyber operations and have deep understanding of military systems and networks, said Mindef. They will also, through various military courses, attain leadership skills and military knowledge.
Military Expert 4 S. Subash, 30, a plans officer under SAF C4 Command who has signed up to be a C4X, said he will have to take a number of external courses as part of his transition process.
"This is to ensure that we keep up with evolving technologies and to be updated with the cyber threats out there," he said.
Defence Cyber Expert Serena Ong, 31, said she took on the job because it was challenging and there was a lot of room for professional growth, with cyber threats growing and evolving all the time.
Her job includes scanning for cyber threats on the Web, and collecting information on them to analyse how they may affect Mindef's systems.
"The DCX scheme is good because now there's a shortage of cyber security professionals not just in Singapore but around the world. This scheme will help to widen the pool of candidates," she said.