Think Tank (6/2021)
Left to right: Mr Chan Heng Kee, Permanent Secretary (Defence), Ministry of Defence, Prof Subra Suresh, President of NTU, Amb Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, Dr Tony Tan, Chairman of the RSIS Board of Governors
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IDSS 25th Anniversary — Launch of IDSS Book and RSIS Commemorative Tree-Planting Event
23 Nov 2021

Since its founding in 1996, the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS) has been striving to foresee the strategic challenges that Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region will face in the coming years, not hesitating to ponder the improbable. Now in its 25th year, IDSS continues to engage in cutting-edge research on strategic and defence issues in the region. IDSS served as the nucleus that spawned the inauguration of RSIS in January 2007 and continues to be one of the centres within the school.

To commemorate IDSS’ 25th anniversary, on 23 November, Dr Tony Tan, Chairman of the RSIS Board of Governors, and Prof Subra Suresh, President of NTU, planted two ficus bonsai trees. The trees contribute symbolically to NTU’s efforts in environmental sustainability and signify the close relationship between RSIS and NTU.

Dr Tan also unveiled a new plaque to commemorate the 25th anniversary of IDSS/RSIS. In 1996, Dr Tan, who was then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, had tasked Mr S R Nathan, who was to later become Singapore’s 6th President, to set up IDSS. There was then political uncertainty in the Asia-Pacific region arising from the end of the Cold War era, and IDSS’s mandate was to study the possible implications of this uncertainty for Singapore’s security and defence.

“The establishment of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies will enable scholars and students to research and test ideas on the impact and implications of this rapidly changing strategic environment for Singapore’s security”, said Dr Tony Tan at the launch of IDSS, on 30 July 1996.

“The Institute will also help to develop comprehensive approaches to strategic thinking related to Singapore’s interests. Such work by the Institute, focused on academic aspects of research and teaching, will be invaluable to policy makers as they grapple with questions on how best to enhance our security in this time of uncertainties.”

The 25th anniversary commemorative events included the launch of the IDSS book Strategy and Defence Policy for Small States: Problems and Prospects by Dr Bernard Loo, Senior Fellow, IDSS. The book contains a collection of essays that seek to discuss key concepts in Strategic Studies, as well as contemporary challenges in strategy and defence policy, from the perspective of small states.

Catch it here on the RSIS NTU YouTube channel:

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