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Singapore Military


The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy. The nation's philosophy of defence is one of diplomacy and deterrence. This principle translates into the culture, involving all citizens in the country's defence. The government spends 4.9% of the country's GDP on the military and one out of every four dollars of government spending is spent on defence.

The Singaporean army was initially established with help from Britain and Israel, a country that is not recognised by neighbouring Islamic Malaysia, Indonesia or Brunei. The main fear after independence was an invasion by Malaysia and/or Indonesia. Israel Defence Forces commanders were tasked with creating the Singapore Armed Forces from scratch, and Israeli instructors were brought in to train Singaporean soldiers. Military courses were conducted according to the Israel Defence Forces' format, and Singapore adopted a system of conscription and reserve service based on the Israeli and Swiss models, which remain in effect. Singapore still maintains strong security ties with Israel and is one of the biggest buyers of Israeli arms and weapons systems. The MATADOR is one example of recent Singapore-Israeli collaboration.

Singapore has conscription for all able-bodied males at age 18, except those with a criminal record or who can prove that their loss would bring hardship to their families. Males who have yet to complete pre-university education or are awarded the Public Service Commission scholarship can opt to defer their draft. Though not required to perform military service, the number of women in the SAF has been increasing: since 1989 they have been allowed to fill military vocations formerly reserved for men. Before induction into a specific branch of the armed forces, recruits undergo at least nine weeks of basic military training.

The SAF is being developed to respond to a wide range of issues, in both conventional and unconventional warfare. The Defence Science and Technology Agency is responsible for procuring resources for the military.[119] The geographic restrictions of Singapore mean that the SAF must plan to fully repulse an attack, as they can not fall back and re-group. The small size of the population has also affected the way the SAF has been designed, with a small active force but a large number of reserves.

The SAF has sent forces to assist in operations outside the country in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan, in both military and civilian roles. In the region, it has helped stabilise East Timor and has provided aid to Aceh in Indonesia following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The SAF also helped in relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina. Singapore is part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements, a military alliance with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.


Military branches : Singapore Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force (includes Air Defense) (2012)
Military service age and obligation : 18-21 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 2-year conscript service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 40 (enlisted) or age 50 (officers) (2008)
Manpower available for military service : males age 16-49: 1,255,902 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service

: males age 16-49: 1,018,839
females age 16-49: 1,087,134 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually : male: 27,098
female: 25,368 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures : 4.9% of GDP (2005 est.)




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