National Service recommendations accepted

National Service recommendations accepted

Some key recommendations by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) include establishing a volunteer corps in the Singapore Armed Forces, increasing benefits and incentives for servicemen and cutting down on waiting time for pre-enlistees.

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Recommendations by the Committee to Strengthen National Service

The Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) was convened in May 2013 to propose measures to strengthen the National Service (NS) system and enhance public support for this key Singaporean institution.

After a year of public engagement and review of the NS system, the CSNS announced its 30 recommendations in six areas on 22 May 2014.

The Government has accepted the 30 recommendations:

A Strong NS Training System

1. The NS training system will be strengthened with an additional 1,100 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regulars, as well as 230 regulars in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

More Opportunities for National Servicemen to Contribute

2. The percentage of commanders in the SAF, SPF and SCDF will be raised from 30% to 40%.

3. The skills and preferences of full-time national servicemen (NSFs) will be considered during deployment in NS.

4. There will be more leadership opportunities and deployment options for servicemen in service vocations (i.e. non-combat vocations).

5. The skills and personal qualities gained during NS will be accredited.

6. There will be opportunities for NSFs to contribute as Regulars on short contracts after they have completed their full-time NS

7. Scholarships will be provided to develop talents in engineering and science who can contribute to the SAF.

8. NSmen who have completed their Operationally Ready NS (ORNS) cycle will be able to volunteer in niche areas where their specialised expertise is required.

The SAF Volunteer Corps

9. An SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) will be set up to enable women, new citizens and first generation Permanent Residents to contribute to national defence.

Recognition and Benefits for National Servicemen

10. The NS Recognition Award (NSRA) will be revamped into the NS HOME (NS HOusing, Medical and Education) Award to support servicemen in housing, healthcare and education.

The current NSRA provides NSmen with $3,000 at three significant milestones during a serviceman's NS journey: (i) the completion of full-time NS; (ii) the midpoint of the ORNS training cycle; and (iii) the completion of the ORNS training cycle, for a total of $9,000.

The amount disbursed at each milestone will be increased by $2,000, which will go into the servicemen's Central Provident Fund Medisave Account. Hence, servicemen will receive up to $15,000 (or $16,500 for commanders) under the NS HOME Award.

11. Life and personal accident insurance coverage of $150,000 will be provided for national servicemen during full-time NS and the period of their ORNS call-ups.

Expand Community Support for National Servicemen

12. Recognition for the families of servicemen will be increased, such as through an extension of the Family Recognition Voucher (FRV) scheme. The number of NSmen who are awarded FRVs will be increased from the top 10% to the top 30% of In-Camp Training (ICT) performers, with the quantum raised from $100 to $200 for the top 10%.

13. Small gifts to servicemen will be given at significant milestones of their lives, such as marriage or the birth of their child.

14. The Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) will be restructured to comprise (i) an Educational Institutions Council; (ii) an Employer and Business Council; and (iii) a Family and Community Council, to deepen stakeholder engagement.

15. Awards for employers and individuals supportive of NS will be enhanced to include the "NS Mark", which recognises companies with pro-NS policies and human resource practices.

16. National Education efforts will be strengthened through the SAF Veterans' League and Home Team Veterans, to impart core national values to the younger generation and boost community support for defence and security.

17. SAFRA and HomeTeamNS recreational facilities will be expanded for servicemen and their families.

18. Community recognition will be improved by supporting community-led initiatives that recognise servicemen and raise public awareness of NS.

19. NSFs' transition to employment and further studies after they complete full-time NS will be facilitated by expanding the range of companies and institutes of higher learning at career fairs.

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