Modern militaries "as dependent" on scientists as they are on soldiers: Ng Eng Hen

Militaries today are as dependent on defence scientists and engineers as they are on soldiers, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Wednesday.

He emphasised this point in his opening remarks at this year's Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) - Defence Science Organisation (DSO) scholarship awards ceremony held at Orchard Hotel.

"If we want to maintain that technological edge which the Singapore Armed Forces has today, we will constantly need men and women like yourselves to explore, adapt and acquire (technologies) for military use," he told the 94 award recipients and guests.

Dr Ng reminded them that Singapore's size and population mean that the SAF's need for a "technological edge" - a point raised by the late former deputy prime minister Goh Keng Swee decades ago - would continue.

"What Dr Goh said over 40 years ago, holds true today, and I suspect will hold true 40 years later," he said.

Mr Ng also made particular mention of the threat of cyber-attacks, which have been a recurring theme in international defence forums this year, noting that Singapore's defence scientists continue to work on strengthening the country's cyber-defences.

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