Call for better, more realistic SAF training

Call for better, more realistic SAF training
Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing (standing, second from right) listening in on a lively session. Participants included SAF and Home Team NS commanders, civil servants, researchers and members of the Committee to Strengthen National Service.

SINGAPORE - Nurture better trainers as well as offer more specialised and hands-on training - such were the key suggestions thrown up at a focus-group discussion with Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

Mr Chan had started by highlighting three major shifts that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is grappling with today.

"The way our soldiers learn, the operational demands on them today and the technology that they have to keep pace with. All these have changed," he told the 63 participants, who included SAF and Home Team NS commanders, civil servants, researchers and members of the Committee to Strengthen National Service.

Started last year, the committee led by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has canvassed the views of more than 10,000 people. Yesterday's discussion followed Dr Ng's announcement at the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament that the SAF will hire more career soldiers as trainers.

Participants at yesterday's session were divided into groups and asked to come up with suggestions to deal with the challenges outlined by Mr Chan.

A group led by Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC Alex Yam called for the bulk of a "professional corps of trainers" to be placed into Basic Military Training schools to give young soldiers a strong grounding in the basics.

Some others could be allocated to vocations that required highly specialised training, he added.

Another group suggested that the SAF create a specialised "master trainer" career track.

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