Strengthening Singapore’s defence against external threats

Find out how MINDEF plans to help Singapore defend itself in an uncertain world.

03 Mar 2017

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) shared how it aims to help better defend Singapore and Singaporeans in Parliament on Friday, 3rd March.

Speaking in Parliament, Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean, Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung, and Senior Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman focused on how the ministry plans to build a strong SAF, strengthen National Service, and support Total Defence.


The SAF is now entering the next phase of its transformation, which will leverage on new and emerging technologies – such as cyber defence, robotics, artificial intelligence, and data analytics.

Cyber defence: The SAF will be creating a new Defence Cyber Organisation (DCO). The DCO will oversee policies and train cyber units to monitor and defend networks against cyber threats.

DCO mindef

Building up defence technology: In order to support the SAF’s ability to combat existing and emerging threats, the Government will strengthen efforts to build up defence technology.

• To build up the SAF’s robotics, artificial intelligence, and data analytics capabilities, two new labs will be set up – a Robotics Lab in DSO, and a data analytics lab in DSTA.

• DSTA, together with other agencies, will hold an inaugural Defence Technology Summit in 2018.

• The SAF will build a new SAFTI City for the next generation of SAF soldiers to train. Training facilities there will include an urban training facility and Instrumented Battle Circuits.


NS has played a vital role in nation building, enhancing common space, building social capital, and deepening ownership of national defence. As such, the NS system must continue to innovate and adapt.

Developing soldiers: MINDEF and the SAF has begun reviewing vocation requirements, with the aim of optimising these vocations to help servicemen maximise their potential. New cyber-defence vocations for NSFs will also be established, with deployment to the vocations starting from August this year.

Enhancing training safety: An External Review Panel comprising prominent safety experts outside of the SAF has completed its 3-year review of the SAF’s safety management system. The review concluded that our health and safety system is internationally one of the best, but there are also a few areas for improvement. The SAF has accepted the panel’s findings and will improve safety culture at the unit level, and promote open reporting of near miss incidents.

Recognising skills: From this year, SkillsFuture Singapore will accredit enlistees with skills that are honed during Basic Military Training. Throughout their full-time NS, enlistes could also be accredited with other competencies such as leadership, technical, or specialist skills. An enhanced Certificate of Service, which will include awards, commendations and milestones, will be given to NSFs on their Operationally Ready Date by 2018.


As part of efforts to inspire the public to do more for Total Defence, the government will make a shift from “concept to action”, and help Singaporeans understand how they can put Total Defence into action in their everyday lives.

Working within the Government: MINDEF has been working with the rest of the Government as part of their Total Defence efforts, such as with MCI, National Archives of Singapore, and MHA. MINDEF is also working with MCCY’s Committee on Citizen Engagement and the National Youth Council (NYC) to engage youths in conversations on what it takes to build up Singapore’s psychological defence, from their perspective

Engaging economic and community leaders: MINDEF has successfully implemented all 18 of the ACCORD proposals involving the various stakeholders – employers and businesses, families and communities, and educational institutions, and will continue to engage economic and community leaders to strengthen commitment to defence.

Reaching out to citizens directly: The “Guardians of the City” Strategy Card Game will be rolled out to all secondary school uniformed groups this year. The game will educate youths on how society can come together to better prepare for terrorist threats, respond, and recover from them.