New counter-terrorism centre to open by year end

Military Expert 5 Khor Mark Wan, head of Airbase Operability Systems, says the air force has always looked at technology as a force multiplier. He is seen here beside an F-16 fighter jet at Tengah Airbase. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
Military Expert 5 Khor Mark Wan, head of Airbase Operability Systems, says the air force has always looked at technology as a force multiplier. He is seen here beside an F-16 fighter jet at Tengah Airbase. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

The Singapore Armed Forces' new Special Operations Command Centre (SOCC) will be operational by the end of this year to plan, monitor and coordinate counter-terrorism operations, especially in cases of multiple attacks in multiple areas.

Sited at the commando headquarters at Hendon Camp in Loyang, the SOCC will be the main command centre to manage multiple counter-terrorism and contingency operations.

It will also be equipped with enhanced systems to support operational planning, coordination and to provide situational awareness.

When required, the SOCC will work with agencies in managing incidents.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the new centre last Friday as he warned that Singapore is one of the hot spots for terrorism as the centre of gravity shifts to this region.

"There are good reasons why our intelligence agencies all come to the same assessment. The centre of gravity, even as it moves away from Iraq and Syria, will shift to other places."

Dr Ng was giving his annual interview ahead of SAF Day today, at Murai Camp, after officiating the ground-breaking ceremony for Safti City, which will open progressively from 2023.

 
 
 

He said the SAF will also ramp up its capabilities in cyberspace, which will be increasingly contested, adding that the SAF recognises that it needs to recruit and train more regulars and cyber specialists as the core of the cyber force. There can be longer careers for servicemen in cyber and other specialised vocations because their expertise will still be valid as they grow older, he said.

Meanwhile, the SAF is also looking at reducing the time taken for servicemen to perform administrative tasks.

For instance, airmen at Tengah Airbase have begun trialling a tracking system for equipment used for maintenance of aircraft, such as an external power unit.

Through the use of a mobile app, they can book this equipment for a period of time, as needed.

In the past, servicemen had to write to the unit in-charge to borrow the equipment, which may be harder to track, as it is located across the airbase.

Military Expert 5 Khor Mark Wan, 37, who is head of Airbase Operability Systems, told reporters last Wednesday that the Republic of Singapore Air Force has always looked at technology as a force multiplier, with an example being the smart fleet management system.

"The FMS, for short, applies data analytics into aircraft operational information and maintenance data, and it can... deliver prognostics, condition-based maintenance. And all these will allow our maintenance crew to be more effective in generating air power," he said.

For the army, instead of going from place to place to draw its equipment, soldiers from active armour units at Sungei Gedong Camp can now be equipped in a single building.

The first one-stop Integrated Force Preparation Hub, which came into operation in March, will be expanded to include operationally ready national servicemen in the future.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2019, with the headline 'New counter-terrorism centre to open by year end'. Print Edition | Subscribe