25 May 2017
Singapore’s miltary modernisation trajectory projects a gradual evolutionary path. The First Generation (1G) Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), during the 1960s-70s, focused on capability-development of individual services. The 2G SAF reflected a period of consolidation and adaptation from service-oriented strategic thinking toward conventionally-oriented combined-arms warfare (1980s-90s). The 3G SAF (2000s onwards) has been viewed in terms of transitioning towards multi-mission type forces with capabilities ranging from defence diplomacy to conventional warfare against wide spectrum of threats.
In the process, the SAF’s doctrinal orientation and operational conduct has also shifted significantly in its character. In the 1970s, the SAF adopted island-defensive “poisoned-shrimp” strategy, which envisioned high-intensity urban combat to impose unacceptable human and material costs to potential aggressors. In the 1980s, the SAF moved towards a “porcupine” strategy that aimed at limited-power projection in Singapore’s near seas and envisioned a pre-emptive posture by transferring a potential conflict beyond Singapore’s territory.
… Michael Raska is an Assistant Professor in the Military Transformations Programme at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Singapore. An earlier version appeared in The Straits Times.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 26/05/2017