SAF evolving to deal with terrorism and cyberthreats

Businessman Tan Boon Poh and his wife, Madam Yu Shui Ping, 51, pinning on the uniform of their son, Second Lieutenant Gordon Tan, epaulettes bearing his rank.
Businessman Tan Boon Poh and his wife, Madam Yu Shui Ping, 51, pinning on the uniform of their son, Second Lieutenant Gordon Tan, epaulettes bearing his rank.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Military has also beefed up joint response with Home Team, says DPM Tharman

Terrorism and cyberthreats are pressing security issues which Singapore has to deal with and the changing role of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) reflects this.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the SAF has evolved over the years into a fighting force capable of a wide range of operations, including humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.

With terrorism posing "a real and pressing threat across the region", he said the SAF has also enhanced its joint responses with the Home Team to counter homeland security threats, and contributed to international efforts to combat terror at its source as well.

Speaking yesterday at the 109/17 Officer Cadet Course commissioning parade held at Safti Military Institute, he said the SAF sent an imagery and analysis team to Kuwait and a medical team to Iraq in support of multinational coalition efforts against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Citing the example of the SAF C4 Command - command, control, communications and computers - created last year, along with the cyber scheme to get full-time national serviceman with the requisite talent and expertise involved, DPM Tharman said the SAF has made "significant strides" in addressing cyberthreats as well.

"The peace and stability we enjoy in Singapore can never be taken for granted. It is the very foundation upon which our homes are built, on which jobs are created and upon which opportunities for Singaporeans can grow."

Mr Tharman was the reviewing officer at the commissioning parade, where 348 officer cadets, including those from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Royal Thai Army, graduated after 38 weeks of training.

In congratulating them, he also touched on the leadership role of the Singapore officers. "What you do and how you conduct yourselves will shape the national service experience of those who look up to you as officers and leaders.

"Lead them well, train them hard, and keep them safe. This is a serious responsibility, which you must undertake with the utmost of care."

Second Lieutenant Gordon Tan, who will serve in the Republic of Singapore Air Force, said he is looking forward to the journey ahead.

"With men under me, there will be a heavy responsibility, but I am excited."

The ceremony was especially special for him as his father, Mr Tan Boon Poh, 54, flew in from Hong Kong, where he is working as a businessman in the shipping sector.

"I had completely forgotten that it was Father's Day as well... It is a good present. I am very proud of him," said Mr Tan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2018, with the headline 'SAF evolving to deal with terrorism and cyberthreats'. Print Edition | Subscribe