Task of defending Singapore has grown even more challenging: Yaacob

SINGAPORE - Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim reviewed a commissioning parade at the SAFTI Military Institute this evening, where 258 Army and 42 Air Force officer cadets were commissioned as officers of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

Speaking at the parade, Dr Yaacob noted that the task of defending Singapore has grown even more challenging, as threats to the nation's security has expanded to include terrorism, piracy, pandemics, natural disasters and other unforeseen events.

He said, "Today, the SAF stands ready and capable to respond - at a moment's notice - to unforeseen events in unexpected environments, as we have seen in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and in the Search and Locate efforts for aircraft MH 370."

Dr Yaacob also urged the graduands to build a strong partnership with the Military Experts, Warrant Officers and Specialists.

"The Warrant Officers and Specialists and Military Experts, together with the Officers, play a key role in strengthening the SAF's operational structure and training systems… The strength of the SAF rests on the three corps working closely together to achieve mission success," he said.

The parade marked the completion of 38 weeks of rigorous training at the Officer Cadet School. The newly commissioned officers will go on to assume command, instructional or staff appointments in the SAF.

Present at the parade were Members of Parliament, senior SAF officers and Ministry of Defence officials, as well as families and friends of the graduands.

The Chief of Army of the New Zealand Defence Force Major-General (MG) Arthur David Gawn also attended the parade, where a New Zealand officer cadet was commissioned.

MG Gawn is on an introductory visit to Singapore from April 16 to 20, 2014.