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3G SAF at "advanced stage": Chief of Defence Force

Singapore's third generation military is progressing well, and is at an "advanced stage" according to the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Ng Chee Meng

SINGAPORE: Singapore's third generation military is progressing well, and is at an "advanced stage". This, according to the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Ng Chee Meng, who said he is already looking at opportunities to further enhance the armed forces.

He was speaking to the media ahead of SAF Day on Tuesday.

The SAF started from humble beginnings, but after almost 50 years, Singapore’s defence chief says it is now in a position of strength.

"Today, we can bring lethal firepower at a very short time to hit moving targets - one shot, one kill,” said LG Ng. “This is a capability that few armed forces in the world possess, and we have the capabilities to ensure that we fulfil our mission to protect Singapore.”

The SAF transformation of the army, air force and navy into a modern fighting force started in 2004, combining advances in technology and training.

Work on the next generation of soldiers has already begun.

“We are looking at new opportunities on the horizon, and beyond, and also the challenges,” said LG Ng. “It is clear that our country faces demographic challenges, and the SAF will have to look at how to harness new technologies, automation, robotics and unmanned technologies to incorporate them more into our fighting systems so that we can create even more potent fighting capabilities with leaner resources."

LG Ng, who is from the Air Force, was appointed Singapore's eighth defence chief in March last year.

As CDF, he felt it was important to understand more about what soldiers from the army and navy go through. To achieve this, he took up a naval diving course with the navy and participated in an 80-kilometre route march with the army.

The defence chief hopes to forge a "tribe" identity in the SAF within five to 10 years by growing a shared sense of pride and purpose.

LG Ng also wants to ensure SAF personnel are deployed meaningfully, and that they find satisfaction in completing their tasks.

"A culture of high standards where we put our people through rigorous, realistic training in a safe manner; and where we give them the best experience to have a sense of purpose in which they have served -- that is the philosophy.” he said. “

He also stressed the importance of balancing the success of a mission, and training safety.

"When we go into operations, mission success will likely be higher in priority,” said LG Ng. “Then, even in operations we must be safe, so that we can carry on with the mission in these four words - Mission Success, Safety Always."

The defence chief also believes the SAF could do better in its internal and external communications, but he said this will take time as the SAF is a big organisation.

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