Rethinking the way fighting force is trained

Rethinking the way fighting force is trained
NS men queuing to return their empty magazines after a firing exercise in a 100m range at the new SAF Multi-Mission Range Complex (MMRC), which is a first of its kind three-storey indoor live firing range located at Pasir Laba.

SINGAPORE - While it has been stated before that Singapore has no natural resources to speak of, many have said that the people of Singapore themselves could be counted as one.

However, with a population of only 5.4 million, it is safe to say that manpower is a somewhat scarce resource for the island-republic, making it all the more precious.

The Government acknowledged this shortfall in a White Paper last year called A Sustainable Population For Dynamic Singapore. Rather than trying to increase total population, the Government is now more focused on improving overall productivity through other means, such as flexible working arrangements, automation and other technological options.

Since the recent Budget announcement, grants and measures from the Government have been discussed and put into place for this purpose.

For the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), with only 71,600 active frontline personnel, there is a clear need for effective use of manpower.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) recently announced that it will be hiring 1,100 new trainers to help reduce training times and shorten the total enlistment period by a few weeks. This is a great start, but it might be possible to do more to improve training quality while reducing the time demands on servicemen.

Mindef is already well known for aggressively adopting new technology to bolster its capabilities, as seen in the development of the critically acclaimed SAR21 assault rifle, as well as the organisation's defence research partnership with Nanyang Technological University.

Beyond improving military technology, Mindef could also look at leveraging relevant technologies that are already widely used in the business world. Video collaboration solutions are one such technology that can be used to augment the training process.

The needs of the military in the 21st century are dramatically different, compared to those of previous generations.

Today, training technology is a critical tool required to keep pace with the demands of high-tech military warfare techniques, which are constantly evolving.

The United States' army, air force and navy as well as Nato and the European Regional Medical Command are all examples of organisations which use video collaboration solutions to effectively enhance their training programmes and keep up with the changing face of military operations.

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