WE WELCOME feedback from the public on the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) ("Initial success depends on applicants" by Mr Kwan Jin Yao and "Issues with volunteer soldiers" by Mr Lee Yong Se, both published last Monday; and "Transform volunteer corps into military reserve force" by Mr Chew Kok Liang, last Wednesday) and look forward to engaging our future volunteers.
The SAFVC is the first uniformed service scheme that will provide more Singaporeans and permanent residents with the opportunity to contribute to national defence, show support for national service (NS) and deepen their understanding and ownership of national defence.
Other existing volunteer schemes within the SAF allow national servicemen to continue serving beyond their NS obligations, as well as for Singaporeans who are experts from the private and public sectors to serve on the Ministry of Defence's boards and committees.
The success of the SAFVC will depend on the commitment of volunteers to give their best while serving in their respective roles.
Volunteers will be carefully selected, taking into account their motivation, aptitude and experience, to ensure that they are suitable for military service.
Volunteers will also undergo medical and security screening processes similar to those for our national servicemen.
The SAF takes the contributions and proficiency of volunteers seriously. They will be trained to the required standards before they are deployed. This emphasis will ensure that volunteers continually improve their skills in order to contribute meaningfully to our country's defence and security.
In evaluating the SAFVC, the context of Singapore's defence must be taken into consideration. NS is the cornerstone of Singapore's defence, and every national serviceman is an essential part of the SAF.
The training that our national servicemen undertake ensures that the SAF is operationally ready to deal with a range of security threats and challenges.
The roles and expectations of volunteers are different as they will be trained and deployed in roles that support the duties of our national servicemen.
Mike Tan Cheow Khai (Colonel)
SAF Volunteer Corps
Straits Times 27 Oct 2014