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S$10m Total Defence Innovation Fund to be set up

At the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and DSO National Laboratories (DSO) scholarship award ceremony, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced that S$5 million each will be set aside for both agencies to seek new breakthroughs for Singapore.

SINGAPORE: The Government will pump in S$10 million to set up the Total Defence Innovation Fund to boost the development of ideas and solutions in tackling defence challenges in Singapore.

The amount - S$5 million each - will go to two defence agencies - the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and DSO National Laboratories (DSO). Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen announced this at the DSTA-DSO Scholarship Award Ceremony on Friday (July 11) evening. He said the fund will support the defence technology community in seeking "new breakthroughs" for Singapore.

The Government will also deploy more robotics and unmanned technologies in building up Singapore's defence capabilities. The importance of technology in the Singapore Armed Forces' operations was also stressed by Dr Ng, who describes it as "ops-tech integration".

"Without the use of advanced technology, SAF would not have been able to meet our goals whether in logistics and procurement or in combat elements - executing precision strikes from the air, sea or land. Individual soldiers depend on portable handheld devices to get essential information for their missions, as do higher commands at the General Staff and Division levels," said Dr Ng.

"What you do as defence and technology officers is no less important than what the SAF does in mission HQs and on the ground," Dr Ng added.

He said the work of these scientists and engineers also goes beyond defending Singapore. For instance, defence engineers helped battle SARS when they developed field thermal scanners that could screen large crowds and pick up those with fever.

Defence engineers were also involved in creating space underground - such as the Jurong Rock Cavern, and are now working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority to develop Singapore's underground master plan.

Singapore has some 5,000 defence engineers and scientists. More will join the pool with 69 students awarded the DSTA-DSO junior college and undergraduate scholarships this year. 

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