Our economy and society are facing the same problems of lower birth rate and ageing population as the Singapore Armed Forces. However, despite same problems and challenges, as claimed by the Defence Minister, we can still maintain a strong military force in 2040.
It seems our military men and scholars are better prepared and equipped to face the challenges. And not to forget, the population by then will be 6.2 million people #1, at least half a million more than today.
Well done the SAF.
300,000 maids and 300,000 soldiers
Should our society and economy learn from the Singapore Armed Forces? If the 300,000 men in green - active and reserve, can effectively protect Singapore even with a smaller manpower in 2040, they should have some valuable and prized experiences for the whole of Singapore.
The economy is facing the problem of shortage of manpower, skilled and unskilled. The society is facing the challenge of ageing problem and nursing care. And there is a projection and we will need 300,000 domestic helpers in 2030.
“The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) of the Prime Minister's Office said today that demand for foreign domestic workers or maids would increase to 300,000 by 2030 from 198,000 in 2011. “ #2
So, we will have 300,000 domestic helpers in 2030 and the same number of military men in 2040.
How to maintain an effective army?
According to Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, his reasons to the Parliament are below:
“That is, through advances in technology and with more effective systems and platforms, which require fewer men to operate.
Dr Ng said: "Beyond investing in technologically advanced platforms, we also leverage technology to network our platforms together to provide us greater synergy in training and operations.
"So one example is the recently inaugurated community for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence. Another important factor driving up the overall capability and productivity of the SAF lies in the rising quality of our servicemen."
"As a whole, the higher quality of our NS men combined with the advanced platforms and effective use of technology to network our systems, will ensure that the SAF continues to be an effective military force and a strong deterrent against any aggression," he added. #3
Technology, training, network, and better educated servicemen are the reasons given. The armed forces draw its manpower from Singapore economy and society. In fact, only half of the population is involved as female citizens are excluded. But how come the Army can and is able to meet the challenges. But Singapore as a whole cannot do it economically and socially? And we have to increase our manpower need year after year.
Perhaps, the SAF can give out more and more out-sourcing jobs to the civilians, especially in the logistic areas, like cooking, vehicle maintenance, etc. Perhaps, this is why the defence budget has to be so big so that they can upgrade their software and hardware as planned.
What do you think? If we put more money into the economy (by helping businesses, SMEs and entrepreneurship development) and the society (health care and social care), will the manpower problems be solved as effectively as the
Assumptions of effective SAF may be wrong
An effective army has to be supported by the economy and society. The assumptions are our economy in 2040 is as solid as today and our society is as inclusive? as today. However, if we look at the 3 IPS scenarios in 2022; the then economy and society will be different from today, not to mention in 2040.
If the problems of rich-poor gap, unaffordable housing and medical expenses, low wage workers and social divide continue; will the effective army still exist? Many strongmen in Middle East and Africa claimed to have a powerful army but what are their fates now?
If more and more Singaporeans having the thinking of “NS for Singaporeans and jobs for PRs”, it is hard to imagine what the effective SAF will be?
However, in 2040, Minister Ng will not likely to be the Defence Minister. The future Defence Minister may have to redefine the true effective army.