Parliament: Mindef sets up new cyber command to beef up defence against cyber attacks

The Defence Ministry (Mindef) will set up a cyber command to beef up its defence against cyber attacks.
The Defence Ministry (Mindef) will set up a cyber command to beef up its defence against cyber attacks.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The Defence Ministry (Mindef) will set up a cyber command to beef up its defence against cyber attacks, and rope in National Servicemen (NSmen) to play a bigger role in safeguarding the nation's military networks.

This will help tackle the growth in cyber threats against countries, especially in light of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) becoming an increasingly networked and technologically-centric force.

The new cyber command, which was announced by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Friday (March 3), will be called the Defence Cyber Organisation (DCO), that will be responsible for developing cyber defence strategies and policies.

The new organisation will also take charge of developing the military's cyber defence capabilities and, when necessary, support the national Cyber Security Agency.

"The SAF must keep up with the tactics and operations of aggressors in the cyber realm... a never ending game which we do in conventional warfare," said Dr Ng during the Committee of Supply debate on the ministry's spending plans.


GRAPHIC: MINDEF

A new Cyber Defence Group (CDG) will also be created. It will comprise two operational units responsible for the 24/7 defence of the SAF's networks, and a Cyber Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTec).

 

The two units - a Security Monitoring Unit and an Incident Response and Audit Unit - will perform round-the-clock monitoring of military networks, and deploy response teams to identify, contain and neutralise cyber threats.

 

Under their watch, the security of SAF's networks will also be audited to boost their resilience.

 

CyTec, which has been operational since 2015 but only publicly revealed on Friday (March 3), is a facility to conduct cyber defence training and exercises.

 

In total, Mindef targets to build up a pool of about 2,600 cyber defenders in about a decade. This is believed to be a significant increase from the current number. The ministry did not reveal how many cyber defenders ithas currently.

New cyber defence vocations for national servicemen have also been created, and soldiers are expected to be deployed to playthese roles from August (2017).

Both full-time national servicemen (NSFs) and operationally-ready NSmen who have the academic background or relevant work experience will be identified for these vocations.

To strengthen the SAF's training for cyber defence, a memorandum of understanding will be signed with Singapore Technologies Electronics (Info-Security) and Nanyang Polytechnic in March .

This will provide opportunities for industrial attachments and the co-development of cyber defence curriculum, among various benefits.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the personal details of 850 national servicemen and staff from Mindef were stolen in February.