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Military

This tag is associated with 57 posts

To Strengthen National Service, It Has To Be Questioned And Challenged

The perspective that it is necessarily deleterious if Singaporeans raise questions about or challenges to National Service (NS) policy – for instance, “if people start to question now whether NS is necessary, if operationally ready NSmen should shoulder certain responsibilities, and whether the tempo and intensity of military training should be reduced” (ST, Feb. 5) – not only seems short-sighted and further disregards the absence of substantive engagement with servicemen and the general public, but also underestimates the value of rigorous discourse over the need for NS and the principles of defence and deterrence which justify the need for conscription in Singapore. It appears somewhat paradoxical, yet instead of being anchored by unquestioned or unchallenged assumptions of its importance, the institution of NS is perhaps best strengthened when it is constantly questioned and challenged by Singaporeans. Continue reading

Be More Specific About Diversity Of Public Scholars

That the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are working to increase the diversity of both their scholarship applicants and recipients – for instance, by encouraging “more of those living in one- to three-room Housing Board flats and those from poorer families to apply for the scholarships” (ST, Jul. 21) – is encouraging, though they have to be more specific about what is meant by “diversity” and how it is measured and tracked over time. In addition, perhaps having defined diversity across race, gender, socio-economic status, as well as family or educational backgrounds, these metrics ought to be communicated more consistently. Continue reading

Safe NSF Communication Channels Key To Deter Abuse

That the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is adopting a zero-tolerance approach to the abuse of soldiers is encouraging. In addition to the development of a comprehensive safety management system over the years (ST, Jul, 11), however, the availability of safe communication channels to report transgressions – for full-time national servicemen (NSFs) in non-commanding positions, in particular – is important. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen mentioned in parliament that new recruits are briefed on how they can make reports through unit supervisors or feedback units, yet two questions follow: First, how many reports are actually made, and how have the figures changed with time; second, the extent to which such reports have translated into disciplinary action or policy changes. Continue reading

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