SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) will recruit more digital experts – both military and non-uniformed – to deal with growing security threats such as the proliferation of cyber weapons.
Two SAF schemes have also been expanded to include digital competencies such as software engineering, data science and artificial intelligence. These are the Command, Control, Communications and Computers Expert (C4X) and the Defence Cyber Expert (DCX) schemes, whose personnel are deployed to roles in areas such as cyber incident response, network monitoring, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing.
In a media release on Thursday (Jun 30), the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said the SAF will continue to grow its initial core of digital experts through recruitment, in-service conversions and professional partnerships with the wider digital ecosystem.
In 2019, when C4X and DCX were set up, MINDEF said then that it planned to recruit about 300 personnel under both schemes.
The latest boost to recruitment efforts will see the SAF open C4X (Digital) positions to both entry and mid-career workers, with options for flexible short-term employment. The SAF will also increase the number of top-tier scholarships for digital and intelligence talents.
Full-time national servicemen (NSFs) as well as operationally ready servicemen (NSmen) with tech talent will be leveraged to support the SAF’s digital core, said MINDEF.
In March, MINDEF announced that selected NSFs will undergo a new scheme where they can take up modules to earn academic credits at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that contribute to a degree in data science and AI, computer science or computer engineering, while serving four years of national service.
NSmen with cyber talent may be deployed to the Cyber Security Task Force, and those with digital skills may also be deployed to relevant positions within the SAF.
INFRASTRUCTURE TO DEVELOP CAPABILITIES
A new Digital Ops-Tech Centre will be set up to equip the SAF with a quick response force to meet new operational requirements on the digital frontier. The centre will also develop a digital core that specialises in data science and AI technologies.
The centre will partner the defence tech community, whole-of-government digital agencies as well as academia and the industry, to remain innovative in its approaches and culture, said MINDEF.
Besides cultivating the SAF’s own digital experts, the centre will provide the tools, environment and mentorship for innovation and collaboration, to facilitate work on projects by the SAF’s operational units.
These digital experts will be rotated between the centre and the SAF’s operational units - as well as externally to professional partners - to increase their exposure and build a comprehensive understanding of the cyber ecosystem, the ministry said.
Another centre of excellence will be established to train the SAF’s cyber vocationalists - or Cyber Defenders - to help defend Singapore’s critical infrastructure.
Under the Centre of Excellence for Cyber Range, Cyber Defenders will be able to train in simulated cyber terrain, ranging from enterprise information systems to critical infrastructure systems.
In addition, the centre will host bilateral and multilateral exercises bringing militaries, industries and academia together to share best practices, insights and knowledge.
This will enable the SAF’s Cyber Defenders to hone their skills by training under realistic scenarios based on the current operating environment, MINDEF said.