While Singapore has enjoyed peace, prosperity and progress for the past 49 years, the Republic’s success and stability must never be taken for granted because risks and volatility elsewhere could easily affect us and new security challenges will keep emerging, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Citing how countries have in recent years had to deal with transnational security challenges, such as terrorism, natural disasters, biological pandemics and cyberthreats, he noted that “the inter-connected world we live in means that incidents in regions far from Singapore will have impact here, and more than before”.
Therefore, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has to remain a strong and credible force, he added.
“As the ultimate guarantor of Singapore’s security, the SAF must remain a strong and credible force against all security threats, to give Singapore and Singaporeans the confidence to face a volatile and uncertain world,” said Mr Tharman, who was speaking at an officer cadet commissioning parade held at the SAFTI Military Institute yesterday.
Although the SAF has transformed its warfighting capabilities by incorporating state-of-the-art platforms and weapons systems, he stressed that the cornerstone of Singapore’s defence remains national servicemen.
“It is the continued commitment, competence and fighting spirit of our people that underwrite the strengths of a 3rd Generation SAF and achieves mission success for us,” said Mr Tharman. “National servicemen, like yourselves, are the cornerstone of Singapore’s defence.”
Mr Tharman also noted that the implementation of the Committee to Strengthen National Service’s recommendations — including giving servicemen the chance to indicate their preferred vocations — will continue to build a stronger NS system.
“When fully implemented, we will have a stronger NS system that takes into account the aspirations and challenges faced by a new generation,” he said. “At the heart of it all is the intent to create a more positive NS experience that empowers and motivates individuals.”
The 553 graduands yesterday included 456 Army, 50 Air Force and 47 Navy officer cadets. The newly-commissioned officers will go on to assume command, instructional or staff appointments in the SAF.