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Singapore Armed Forces

Singapore Armed Forces

Overview
The Singapore Armed Forces (abbreviation: SAF, Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

: Angkatan Bersenjata Singapura, Simplified Chinese: ; ) is the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
The Ministry of Defence is a ministry of the Government of Singapore entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces...

. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army
Singapore Army
The Singapore Army is the branch of the Singapore Armed Forces responsible for land operations. It is the largest of the three armed services and heavily reliant on a conscript army, comprising the majority of Singapore's Operationally Ready National Servicemen .-Capabilities:The mission of the...

, the Republic of Singapore Air Force
Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

 (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy
Republic of Singapore Navy
The Republic of Singapore Navy is the naval component of the Singapore Armed Forces , responsible for the defence of Singapore against sea-borne threats and protection of its sea lines of communications. Operating within the crowded littoral waters of the Singapore Strait, the RSN is regarded as...

 (RSN). The SAF protects the interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Singapore from external threats.

The SAF relies heavily on a large pool of conscripts
National Service in Singapore
Conscription in Singapore, called National Service , requires all male Singaporean citizens and second-generation permanent residents who have reached the age of 18 to enrol in the military...

 in the active and reserve forces.
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Encyclopedia
The Singapore Armed Forces (abbreviation: SAF, Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

: Angkatan Bersenjata Singapura, Simplified Chinese: ; ) is the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
The Ministry of Defence is a ministry of the Government of Singapore entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces...

. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army
Singapore Army
The Singapore Army is the branch of the Singapore Armed Forces responsible for land operations. It is the largest of the three armed services and heavily reliant on a conscript army, comprising the majority of Singapore's Operationally Ready National Servicemen .-Capabilities:The mission of the...

, the Republic of Singapore Air Force
Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

 (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy
Republic of Singapore Navy
The Republic of Singapore Navy is the naval component of the Singapore Armed Forces , responsible for the defence of Singapore against sea-borne threats and protection of its sea lines of communications. Operating within the crowded littoral waters of the Singapore Strait, the RSN is regarded as...

 (RSN). The SAF protects the interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Singapore from external threats.

The SAF relies heavily on a large pool of conscripts
National Service in Singapore
Conscription in Singapore, called National Service , requires all male Singaporean citizens and second-generation permanent residents who have reached the age of 18 to enrol in the military...

 in the active and reserve forces. It has an active strength of around 71,600 personnel and is capable of mobilising over 350,000 reservists.

History



Singapore's military role stems from its strategic geographical location, an asset exploited by local settlers and foreign colonists alike. Archaeological excavations have discovered remnants of forts and other forms of military fortifications in pre-colonial Singapore. Sir Stamford Raffles
Stamford Raffles
Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, FRS was a British statesman, best known for his founding of the city of Singapore . He is often described as the "Father of Singapore"...

, founder of modern Singapore, selected Singapore in 1819 to establish a new colony
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 with the security concerns of British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 interests in the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 in mind against the Dutch
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

. Thus, Singapore played an active role in British military interests for decades, particularly in the years leading up to the world wars.

The Singapore Armed Forces has its humble origin in the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force
Straits Settlements Volunteer Force
The Straits Settlements Volunteer Force was a military reserve force in the Straits Settlements, while they were under British rule. While the majority of the personnel were from Singapore, some lived in other parts of the Settlements, including Penang, Province Wellesley, Malacca and...

 (SSVF, formed in 1922), which in turn had its roots in the Singapore Volunteer Artillery
Singapore Volunteer Corps
The Singapore Volunteer Corps was a militia unit established in 1854 as the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps. The Corps underwent several reorganisations and was known by various names through its history...

 (SVA, formed in 1888). The Motto of the SVA is "In Oriente Primus" , which is still in use today by the artillery formations of Singapore Army. In 1915 it helped to suppress the mutiny of Sepoys in Singapore.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the SSVF took part in the Battle of Singapore
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

 but most of its members were captured on 15 February 1942 when their positions were overrun. After the end of the war, the SSVF was re-constituted in 1948, but the SVF was absorbed into the Singapore Military Forces (SMF, predecessor of the SAF) following the disbandment of the SSVF in 1954. Subsequently in 1961, SMF was renamed to Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

When Singapore achieved independence in 1965, its military consisted of only two infantry regiments, commanded by British officers and made up of mostly non-Singapore residents. Singapore believed that it needed a larger force, with the presence of larger neighbouring countries. To that end, Singapore secretly contacted Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, which sent military advisers who helped Singapore set up a defence force modeled in part after the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

.

Singapore Armed Forces Day is commemorated by the SAF on July 1 with an annual parade.

Defence policy


Deterrence
Deterrence theory
Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons, and features prominently in current United States foreign policy regarding the development of nuclear technology in North Korea and Iran. Deterrence theory however was...

 and diplomacy
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 have been the fundamental tenets of Singapore's military defence policy. Through the years, the military has developed extensive links with armed forces from other countries. In recent years, there has also been an increased emphasis on international peace-keeping and relief operations, notably the peace-keeping operations in East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

 and the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 and disaster relief
Emergency management
Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disasters or catastrophes and to ensure the continuance of the...

 in the Indian Ocean earthquake-tsunami of 2004
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake...

, 2005 Nias earthquake
2005 Sumatra earthquake
The 2005 Sumatra earthquake, referred to as the Nias Earthquake by the scientific community, was a major earthquake on 28 March 2005, located off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Approximately 1300 people were killed by the earthquake, mostly on the island of Nias...

 and 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake
May 2006 Java earthquake
The May 2006 Java earthquake occurred at 05:54 local time on 27 May 2006 , in the Indian Ocean around south-southwest of the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, near Galur, on the southern side of the island of Java , 10 km below the seabed, with a magnitude of 6.2, according to the U.S....

 in Central Java
Central Java
Central Java is a province of Indonesia. The administrative capital is Semarang. It is one of six provinces on the island of Java.This province is the province of high Human Development in Indonesia and its Points Development Index countries is equivalent to Lebanon. The province of Central Java...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

.

According to military and strategic analysts, such as Tim Huxley in Defending the Lion City, Singapore is known to be using a forward-defence military doctrine
Military doctrine
Military doctrine is the concise expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military...

. Press statements from Singapore's Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
The Ministry of Defence is a ministry of the Government of Singapore entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces...

 (MINDEF) describe the SAF as a deterrent force. The SAF's declared mission statement is to "enhance Singapore’s peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, and should these fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor". Today, a career military force of 38,700 is supplemented by 42,800 men on active National Service duty. The main force actually comprises 400,000 or so Operationally-Ready National Servicemen (ORNSmen).

The SAF's policy towards Malays
Malay people
Malays are an ethnic group of Austronesian people predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, including the southernmost parts of Thailand, the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of Borneo, and the smaller islands which lie between these locations...

, who share religion and ethnic ties with Singapore's largest neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia, has been a source of controversy over the years. Malays were virtually excluded from conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 from the beginning of the draft in 1967 until 1977 and, after the policy was eased, were assigned mainly to serve in the police
Singapore Police Force
The Singapore Police Force is the main agency tasked with maintaining law and order in the city-state. Formerly known as the Republic of Singapore Police , it has grown from an 11-man organisation to a 38,587 strong force...

 and civil defence
Singapore Civil Defence Force
The Singapore Civil Defence Force is the main agency in charge of the provision of emergency services in Singapore during peacetime and emergency.A uniformed organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the main role of SCDF is to provide...

 (fire brigade), not active combat roles. In 1987,
Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore. He is married to Ho Ching, who is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew....

 (then Second Minister for Defence) stated that "If there is a conflict, if the SAF is called to defend the homeland, we do not want to put any of our soldiers in a difficult position where his emotions for the nation may be in conflict with his religion" and in The Roar of the Lion City (2007), military analyst Sean Walsh claimed that "official discrimination against the Malay population remains an open secret". The Ministry of Defence contests the charge, noting that there are "Malay pilots, commandos and air defence personnel" and stating that "the proportion of eligible Malays selected for specialist and officer training is similar to the proportion for eligible non-Malays."

Women are exempt from National Service, but have served in both combat and non-combat roles, some as combat officers, but mostly in clerical and logistic positions in the earlier years. The range of positions available to women has been expanded gradually, but is still limited. In July 2007, the SAF launched an exhibition highlighting the contributions of women in the armed forces.

National Service



According to the Enlistment Act, conscription is mandatory for all "persons subject to [the] act", defined as those who are not less than 16 years and 6 months of age and not more than 40 years of age, with some exemptions and with no specific bias to gender (not limited to males). In practice however, it is only compulsory for all fit and able-bodied Singaporean men who have reached 18 years of age, and are not deferred for certain reasons, to be conscripted in military service, or Full-time National Service (NSF).

NSF was initially three years for commissioned officers and two years for other ranks, but it was later changed to two years and six months for soldiers with the rank of Corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

 or higher, and two years for those with the rank of Lance Corporal
Lance Corporal
Lance corporal is a military rank, used by many armed forces worldwide, and also by some police forces and other uniformed organizations. It is below the rank of corporal, and is typically the lowest non-commissioned officer, usually equivalent to the NATO Rank Grade OR-3.- Etymology :The presumed...

 or lower. In June 2004, NSF was shortened to two years for all Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), regardless of rank, due to changes in population demographics and manpower requirements. NSFs who obtain a silver or gold standard in their IPPT will serve two months less. Upon completion of their NSF stint, servicemen will be considered as having reached their Operationally-ready Date (ORD) and will be known as Operationally-ready National Servicemen (NSmen/ORNSMen). Most NSmen will have to go through a 10-year cycle of military training with their assigned unit. NSmen are called up annually for training, courses and physical fitness tests.

Training




Prior to enlistment, recruits are required to attend a medical examination (PULHHEEMS
PULHHEEMS
The PULHHEEMS is a system of grading physical and mental fitness used by Britain's armed forces. PULHHEEMS is tri-service, which is to say that it is used by the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Its purpose is to determine the suitability of its employees for posting into...

) to determine their medical status. Following that, they will be issued a Physical Employment Status (PES), which will be used a guideline to determine which vocations they are suited for.

PES A and PES B Combat-fit recruits go through a nine week Basic Military Training
Recruit training
Recruit training, more commonly known as Basic Training and colloquially called Boot Camp, is the initial indoctrination and instruction given to new military personnel, enlisted and officer...

 (BMT) course, held either at the Basic Military Training Centre
Basic Military Training Centre
The Basic Military Training Centre is a military training facility located in Ladang, Pulau Tekong, in Singapore...

 (BMTC) on the offshore island of Pulau Tekong
Pulau Tekong
Pulau Tekong is the second largest of Singapore's outlying islands with an area of 24.43 km², and the island is still expanding due to land reclamation works on its southern and northwestern coasts which will eventually subsume many of its surrounding small islets, including Pulau Tekong...

, or at the various military units that directly accept mono-intake recruits. Recruits who are considered mildly or severely obese
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

, are required to attend a 19 week BMT course. PES C Non-combat-fit recruits undertake a nine week modified BMT course.

In BMT, all recruits attend courses on fieldcraft
Fieldcraft
Fieldcraft is a term used especially in American, Canadian and British military circles to describe the basic military skills required to operate stealthily and the methods used to do so, which can differ during day or night and due to weather or terrain...

, basic survival skills, weapon maintenance and a field camp, participate in live firing
Live fire exercise
A live fire exercise or LFX is any exercise in which a realistic scenario for the use of specific equipment is simulated. In the popular lexicon this is applied primarily to tests of weapons or weapon systems that are associated with the various branches of a nation's armed forces, although the...

 and hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

 throwing exercises, go through a Standard Obstacle Course (SOC), and do daily physical training in preparation for the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). The best performing ones among non-mono-intake recruits in BMT are selected to become officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

s or specialist
Specialist (Singapore)
In the Singapore Armed Forces , Specialists are the group of ranks equivalent to non-commissioned officers in other armed forces. This term was introduced in 1993, for a more "positive" rank classification. In the SAF, Warrant Officers are not considered Specialists.Like many other modern...

s. They will be posted to the Officer Cadet School
Officer Cadet School (Singapore)
Officer Cadet School is one of the several training establishments within the SAFTI Military Institute camp complex. Its role is to train officers of all three services of the Singapore Armed Forces...

 (OCS) or the Specialist Cadet School (SCS) respectively for further training. Other recruits are posted to various units or schools, where they may continue on specialized vocational training.

Due to limited space within Singapore's territorial land and waters, some training programmes and facilities are located overseas.

Military education


Initially, commissioned officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 were drawn exclusively from the ranks of Singaporeans who had completed their GCE A levels
GCE Advanced Level
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, commonly referred to as an A-level, is a qualification offered by education institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, and the Cayman Islands...

 or embarked on tertiary studies. While the requirements have since been relaxed, the SAF has still been criticized for "using a promotion system that is based more on education and scholarships than on proven competence".

Officers receive their initial leadership training at the tri-service OCS in the SAFTI Military Institute
SAFTI Military Institute
The SAFTI Military Institute is a tri-service military training institution for officers of all ranks of the Singapore Armed Forces . Located within an 88 hectare campus in Jurong West, it was officially opened by the then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong on 25 August 1995...

 (SAFTI MI). As they progress in their career, they may undergo further formal military education at the SAF Advanced Schools and the Singapore Command and Staff College
Singapore Command and Staff College
The Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College is one of five officer schools of the SAFTI Military Institute of the Singapore Armed Forces . It was formerly the Singapore Command and Staff College but was named after Goh Keng Swee in 2011...

. On the other hand, specialist
Specialist (Singapore)
In the Singapore Armed Forces , Specialists are the group of ranks equivalent to non-commissioned officers in other armed forces. This term was introduced in 1993, for a more "positive" rank classification. In the SAF, Warrant Officers are not considered Specialists.Like many other modern...

s first receive leadership training at the SCS. Future platoon sergeant
Platoon Sergeant
In many militaries, a platoon sergeant is the senior enlisted member of a platoon, who advises and supports the platoon's commanding officer in leading the unit.-Singapore:...

s and Company Sergeants Major
Company Sergeant Major
A company sergeant major is the senior non-commissioned soldier of a company in the armies of many Commonwealth countries, responsible for standards and discipline. In combat, his prime responsibility is the supply of ammunition to the company...

 receive further instruction at the Advanced Specialist Training Wing (ASTW) in SCS. Specialists undergo further education at the SAF Warrant Officer School
SAF Warrant Officer School
SAF Warrant Officer School is a training school within the Pasir Laba Camp complex. In the new scheme, Third Warrant Officers of all services aspiring to promote to higher ranks in the Warrant Officer Corp are trained here...

 before receiving their appointments as Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s.

OCS and SCS both have an infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

-based curriculum; special-to-arms training for both officers and WOSPECs is conducted at various training institutes and establishments such as the SAF Medical Training Institute
SAF Medical Training Institute
The SAF Medical Training Institute has been the home and the cradle of the Singapore Armed Forces medic since its early days as the Medical Orderlies Training School and the School of Military Medicine .SMTI's primary role is to provide...

 (SMTI), Artillery Institute (AI), Signals Institute (SI), Engineer Training Institute (ETI), Armour Training Institute (ATI), Supply & Transport Centre (STC) and Ordnance Engineering Training Institute (OETI).

Pointer
Pointer (journal)
Pointer is the official journal of the Singapore Armed Forces. It is issued quarterly, and read primarily by SAF officers, warrant officers, and civilian employees of the Ministry of Defense...

 is the official journal of the SAF. It is a quarterly publication distributed to all Officers and Warrant Officers, which helps with their ongoing professional education.

Foreign defence relations


Singapore is part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements
Five Power Defence Arrangements
The Five Power Defence Arrangements are a series of defence relationships established by a series of bilateral agreements between the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore signed in 1971, whereby the five states will consult each other in the event of external aggression...

, whose other members include the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Malaysia. Designed to replace the former defence role of the British in Singapore and Malaysia, the arrangement obligates members to consult in the event of external threat against Malaysia and Singapore.

Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. military
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 presence in the Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific or Asia Pacific is the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean...

 region. In 1990, the U.S. and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding
Memorandum of understanding
A memorandum of understanding is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in...

 (MOU) which allows the U.S. access to Singapore facilities at Paya Lebar Air Base and the Sembawang
Sembawang
Sembawang is an area in the Northern-most portion of Singapore, encompassing the largest land mass within the Sembawang Group Representation Constituency. The incumbent Member of Parliament for the Sembawang Constituency is Khaw Boon Wan. The constituency jurisdiction extends into the Woodlands...

 wharves. Under the MOU, a U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 logistics unit was established in Singapore in 1992; U.S. fighter aircraft deploy periodically to Singapore for exercises, and a number of U.S. military vessels visit Singapore. The MOU was amended in 1999 to permit U.S. naval vessels to berth at Changi Naval Base
Changi Naval Base
Changi Naval Base is the latest naval facility of the Republic of Singapore Navy and was built to replace Brani Naval Base. Located about 1.5 kilometres east of Changi Air Base and 3.5 kilometres east of Singapore Changi Airport, the base was built on 1.28 km² of reclaimed land, it was...

, which was completed in early 2001.

Singapore's defence resources have also been used for international humanitarian
Humanitarianism
In its most general form, humanitarianism is an ethic of kindness, benevolence and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common element in its evolution...

 aid missions. They included United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 missions in areas such as Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 and East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, participation in the multi-national force in Iraq, sending military equipment and personnel to assist in the humanitarian rescue and relief efforts in the United States after Hurricane Katrina
Singaporean response to Hurricane Katrina
Following that devastation of the United States Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, sent a letter to US President George W...

, and establishing medical and dental assets for use by the Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 people. Several of the SAF's top officers have thus overseas operational military experience

Legislation


Under the SAF Act the President of Singapore
President of Singapore
The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial. Before 1993, the President of Singapore was...

 has the authority to raise and maintain the SAF. The President also has the power to form, disband or amalgamate units within the SAF.

The Armed Forces Council (AFC) administers matters relating to the SAF under the SAF Act. The AFC consists of:
  • ministers who are responsible for defence matters and any other minister who has been assigned to assist them;
  • the Permanent Secretaries of MINDEF
    Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
    The Ministry of Defence is a ministry of the Government of Singapore entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces...

    ;
  • the Chief of Defence Force (CDF);
  • the Chief of Army (COA);
  • the Chief of Air Force (CAF);
  • the Chief of Navy (CNV); and
  • not more than four other members as the President may appoint if the President, acting in his discretion, concurs with the advice of the Prime Minister
    Prime Minister of Singapore
    The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.The office of Prime Minister...

    .

Organisation


The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) consists of the:
  • Army
    Singapore Army
    The Singapore Army is the branch of the Singapore Armed Forces responsible for land operations. It is the largest of the three armed services and heavily reliant on a conscript army, comprising the majority of Singapore's Operationally Ready National Servicemen .-Capabilities:The mission of the...

     (three Combined Arms Divisions: 3 Div, 6 Div & 9 Div, two Army Operational Reserve Divisions, 21st and 25th, and one island defence command: 2 People's Defence Forces)
  • Air Force
    Republic of Singapore Air Force
    The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

     (seventeen squadrons and four air bases)
  • Navy
    Republic of Singapore Navy
    The Republic of Singapore Navy is the naval component of the Singapore Armed Forces , responsible for the defence of Singapore against sea-borne threats and protection of its sea lines of communications. Operating within the crowded littoral waters of the Singapore Strait, the RSN is regarded as...

     (eight squadrons and two naval bases)


The SAF is headed by the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), a three-star General (i.e. Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

) by establishment and the sole and only (active) SAF General that can be promoted or hold three-star rank; he is assisted by the three chiefs of the respective services (Army, Airforce, Navy), who are two-star generals/admirals by establishment (or Major-General/ Rear-Admiral). The SAF has a Sergeant Major who is currently SWO . The CDF is supported by various staff from branches such as the Joint Operations and Planning Directorate, the Joint Manpower Department, the Joint Logistic Department, the Military Intelligence Organisation and the Foreign Military Liaison Branch.

Supporting the combat role of the SAF, are other governmental organisations of the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
The Ministry of Defence is a ministry of the Government of Singapore entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces...

 (MINDEF), such as the Defence Policy Group, the Defence Management Group, the Defence Industry and System Office and the Defence Research and Technology Office. Within these groups are the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), the Central Manpower Base (CMPB), and the Military Security Department (MSD). Domestic technology companies also play a role in building up Singapore's military capabilities, particularly the government-linked ST Engineering (formerly known as Chartered Industries of Singapore), which designed and built some of the SAF's more advanced weaponry and equipment based on specific local requirements which may be expensive for foreign companies to adapt and produce.

The Special Operations Task Force
Special Operations Task Force
The Special Operations Task Force is a Special Operations Command created by the Singapore Army to better combat terrorists threats that would harm Singaporean interests at home and overseas...

, comprised by the selected members of the Special Operations Force, SAF Commando Formation
Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation
The Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation is an elite branch of the Singapore Armed Forces . An offensive unit, it specialises in pre-emptive operations involving small groups of specially trained soldiers in enemy territory...

, Naval Diving Unit
Naval Diving Unit (Singapore)
The Naval Diving Unit is a Special Forces unit of the Republic of Singapore Navy, and is regularly tasked in salvage operations, underwater mine demolition and commando-type warfare.-Recruitment:...

 and other forces integrated under one command, is formed to combat common terrorist threats.

Technology in the SAF


The SAF utilises technology as "force multiplier
Force multiplication
Force multiplication, in military usage, refers to an attribute or a combination of attributes which make a given force more effective than that same force would be without it. The expected size increase required to have the same effectiveness without that advantage is the multiplication factor...

s", especially in the area of C4I
C4ISTAR
In military usage, a number of abbreviations in the format C followed by additional letters are used, based on expanded versions of the abbreviation C2 - command and control.C2I stands for command, control, and intelligence....

 integration, which will enable its various units to fight in an integrated manner. The Army, Air Force and Navy are linked via advanced data-links and networks to enable coordinated attacks and support for various units and forces. Technology is an important element in the SAF's transformation into a 3rd Generation Fighting Force.

The SAF acknowledges that technology is crucial for overcoming the limitations of Singapore's small population. Having consistently had one of the largest defence budgets in the Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific or Asia Pacific is the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean...

 region, Singapore has focused on maintaining its spending on sophisticated and superior weaponry. Research and experimentation to develop a technological edge began as early as 1971, even though the SAF then had only rudimentary capabilities. The effort started off with a three-man team. At present, MINDEF
Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
The Ministry of Defence is a ministry of the Government of Singapore entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces...

 is one of the largest employers of engineers and scientists in Singapore and the SAF continues to devote considerable resources to defence research and development (R&D) and experimentation - 5% and 1% of the defence budget, respectively. Singapore's education system
Education in Singapore
Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education , which controls the development and administration of state schools receiving government funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools...

 has also produced national servicemen who can be trained to operate SAF's sophisticated platforms and systems.

In Sep 2008, the SAF officially opened its Murai Urban Training Facility
Murai Urban Training Facility
The Murai Urban Training Facility is the Singapore Armed Forces' latest training facility created to hone the urban operations capability of its soldiers....

 (MUTF) to hone the SAF's networked urban operations capability. The MUTF resembles a typical town and allows the soldiers to train realistically in an urban setting. In the same month, the SAF's new combat uniform, as well as the Advanced Combat Man System
Advanced Combat Man System
The Singapore Armed Forces' Advanced Combat Man System is part of the SAF's move to integrate into 3G to progressively provide tactical units with network capabilities.-Key Components:...

, were also unveiled for the first time.

The country also has an established military manufacturing industry is responsible for the design and development of the following military hardware:
  • PRIMUS
    SSPH Primus
    The Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 Primus is a self-propelled howitzer armed with a 155 mm howitzer. Developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces , Defence Science and Technology Agency and Singapore Technologies Kinetics , it was introduced to the Singapore Artillery in 2004...

     - Self Propelled Howitzer
  • Bionix II Infantry Fighting Vehicle (An upgrade of the Bionix AFV
    Bionix AFV
    The Bionix is a family of tracked Singaporean armoured fighting vehicles developed by Singapore Technologies Kinetics . Intended to augment the Singapore Army's aging M113 armoured personnel carriers, it is the first indigenous armoured vehicle to be developed in Southeast Asia...

    )
  • MATADOR
    MATADOR (weapon)
    MATADOR is a man-portable, disposable anti-armor weapon system developed in a collaboration between Singapore and Israel. It is an updated version of the German Armbrust design, and operates on the same principles...

     - Unguided Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon
  • PEGASUS
    SLWH Pegasus
    The Singapore Light Weight Howitzer Pegasus is a helicopter-transportable, towed artillery piece. Developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces , Defence Science and Technology Agency and ST Kinetics, it was commissioned on 28 October 2005...

     - Light Weight Howitzer
  • SAR 21 - Singapore Assault Rifle
  • Formidable-Class Stealth Frigate
    Formidable class frigate
    The Formidable class multi-role stealth frigates are the latest surface platforms to enter into service with the Republic of Singapore Navy, and are multi-mission derivatives of the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate. The frigates are key information nodes and fighting units, and are described...

     - Warships designed with stealthy characteristics, equipped with advanced combat systems and with longer endurance

Television

  • Army Series (1983)
  • Airforce (1988)
  • Navy (1990)
  • The Reunion (2001)
  • Honour and Passion
    Honour and Passion
    Honour and Passion is a Singapore Chinese drama which was telecast on Singapore's free-to-air channel, MediaCorp TV Channel 8. It was hyped for being one of the few Mediacorp series that was sponsored by the Singapore Ministry of Defence. This drama serial consists of 20 episodes...

    (2007)

See also

  • Awards and decorations of the Singapore Armed Forces
    Awards and decorations of the Singapore Armed Forces
    Orders and decorations conferred to military personnel of the Singapore Armed Forces in Singapore, listed by order of precedence:-Medals:* Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang Orders and decorations conferred to military personnel of the Singapore Armed Forces in Singapore, listed by order of...

  • Awards for Singapore National Serviceman
    Awards for Singapore National Serviceman
    -Singapore Police Service Good Service Medal:The Singapore Police Service Good Service Medal is awarded to an officer in recognition of his good, efficient and faithful service in the Singapore Police Service...

  • Camps and bases of the Singapore Armed Forces
    Camps and bases of the Singapore Armed Forces
    The following lists the camps and bases of the Singapore Armed Forces:-External links:*...

  • National Cadet Corps (Singapore)
    National Cadet Corps (Singapore)
    The National Cadet Corps is a youth organisation in Singapore. As of December 2010, it had a total strength of 19877 members. This consists of 823 Officers, 726 Cadet Officers and 17157 cadets, amongst others.The NCC is represented in 144 Secondary Schools and there are a total 176 School...

  • Republic of Singapore Air Force
    Republic of Singapore Air Force
    The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

  • Republic of Singapore Navy
    Republic of Singapore Navy
    The Republic of Singapore Navy is the naval component of the Singapore Armed Forces , responsible for the defence of Singapore against sea-borne threats and protection of its sea lines of communications. Operating within the crowded littoral waters of the Singapore Strait, the RSN is regarded as...

  • RSAF Black Knights
    RSAF Black Knights
    The Black Knights is the official aerobatics team of the Republic of Singapore Air Force featuring six F-16C Fighting Falcons in formation flight...

  • Singapore Armed Forces Bands
  • Singapore Armed Forces Best Unit Competition
    Singapore Armed Forces Best Unit Competition
    The Singapore Armed Forces Best Unit Competition is an annual competition which confers awards of recognition to the most outstanding units of the Singapore Armed Forces in combat readiness, operational proficiency and administrative excellence...

  • Singapore Armed Forces ranks
    Singapore Armed Forces ranks
    The Singapore Armed Forces has two rank structures.One rank structure is similar to that of other military in other country. One major difference is that the SAF uses a unified rank structure, with identical rank names and insignia throughout the Army, Navy, and Air Force. For example, traditional...

  • SAF Medical Training Institute
    SAF Medical Training Institute
    The SAF Medical Training Institute has been the home and the cradle of the Singapore Armed Forces medic since its early days as the Medical Orderlies Training School and the School of Military Medicine .SMTI's primary role is to provide...

  • Singapore Army
    Singapore Army
    The Singapore Army is the branch of the Singapore Armed Forces responsible for land operations. It is the largest of the three armed services and heavily reliant on a conscript army, comprising the majority of Singapore's Operationally Ready National Servicemen .-Capabilities:The mission of the...

  • SAFTI Military Institute
    SAFTI Military Institute
    The SAFTI Military Institute is a tri-service military training institution for officers of all ranks of the Singapore Armed Forces . Located within an 88 hectare campus in Jurong West, it was officially opened by the then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong on 25 August 1995...


External links