SINGAPORE: Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo on Monday (Jul 8) introduced a Home Team Science and Technology Agency Bill for the setting up of an organisation which will drive innovation and develop technologies to enhance the Home Team's capabilities.
The Ministry of Home of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a media statement that the agency is expected to bring together scientific and engineering expertise across Home Team departments, amid a continued terrorism threat and more sophisticated methods employed by criminals.
The agency will “focus on scientific domains critical to the Home Team’s operations”, such as sense-making and surveillance, forensics, robotics and unmanned systems, MHA said.
MHA will dedicate S$1.9 billion to science and technology in the 2025 financial year, up from S$979 million in FY2019, with the agency as a key investment, a spokesperson said.
While MHA has, over the years, partnered other government agencies and industry partners to develop capabilities for the Home Team, it will require a dedicated agency to more effectively develop and harness the Home Team’s in-house science and technology capabilities, focusing on those which are “unique and critical” to the Home Team’s operations, MHA said.
The agency will centrally recruit, develop and manage science and technology manpower for the Home Team.
As a start, it will bring together more than 1,000 research scientists, engineers, and technical staff from the Home Team departments.
“With the setting up of the dedicated science and technology agency, MHA will continue to foster partnerships and collaborations with other established entities in the science and technology field, including other government agencies, institutes of higher learning and industry partners,” a spokesperson said.
The second reading of the Home Team Science and Technology Agency Bill is slated to take place in August, and the agency is expected to be established as a statutory board under MHA in December this year.