Revolutionizing the SAF: The Digital and Intelligence Service

Digital and Intelligence Service

To defend Singapore against the growing threats in the digital domain, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is proposing to set up the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) — which will be the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) fourth service, after the existing services of army, navy, and the air force.

Hiring for DIS to Commence Soon

Announced in end-June 2022, MINDEF said that hiring will ‘commence hiring within weeks and its core training and operations facilities for the DIS will also be concurrently set-up along with the hiring.

The proposal to set up the DIS will require an amendment to Singapore’s constitution. It will be proposed in July 2022, in parliament. If approved, the DIS will be able to be inaugurated as soon as end-2022.

Why the Need for DIS?

The international landscape has drastically changed over the past two decades, and we are in another wave of change following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. In the invasion, cyber-attacks are being conducted against Ukraine’s infrastructure. Warfare has changed, and the SAF must change — or risk be left behind, which exposes a fundamental vulnerability.

It is a tumultuous time for geopolitics. No one can be sure what would happen next. As Singapore moves to become a digitally educated and savvy nation, it is even more important we safeguard our infrastructure against adversaries who have ill-will against us.

Competing For Talents

The SAF acknowledges that it must remain attractive to young labour amidst a tight labour market caused by our falling birth rates, and competition from the private sector.

It intends to focus on recognizing soldiers’ contributions during their time in the army by helping soldiers gain professional accreditation and academic qualifications through their skills.

For example, graduates of nautical studies or marine engineering can now have their sea-serving time recognized for seafarer certificates issued by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

SAF continues to sponsor talents’ studies in institutes of higher learning (IHLs) as well. In particular, the first batch of digital specialists sponsored by the SAF will take courses in the Nanyang Technological University and will enlist in early 2023. New recruits can expect to have more of such opportunities if their interests and skillsets fit the criteria outlined by the SAF.


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