05 October 2021
Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence,
Mr Heng Chee How,
Honourable Guests, Distinguished Speakers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), welcome to the 22nd Asia Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers (APPSMO).
Since its inauguration in 1999, APPSMO has grown in scale and prominence. On behalf of RSIS, I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible.
This year is a special year for APPSMO. This is our first virtual APPSMO, due to obvious reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic, while preventing APPSMO from achieving one of its key goals – which is to bring together senior military officers from all over the world to discuss defence and security issues of relevance to us all – is also highlighting to us the importance of working together to deal with the unexpected challenges affecting everyone. Hopefully our dialogue will contribute towards a better understanding of the problems we encounter and how to manage and resolve them.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of RSIS. We started as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), a research centre and think tank working on defence, security, and technology issues. Today, RSIS is a graduate school in the Nanyang Technological University which is one of the top universities in the world. RSIS continues to do research over a wide spectrum of interests and subjects. In fact, we now have several centres and programmes looking at issues that trouble our world. It is a testimony to the foresight and vision of our founding Director, the late Mr S R Nathan, who was the 6th President of the Republic of Singapore.
To commemorate this 25th anniversary of RSIS, we are pleased to have Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman join us from London to give the APPSMO Distinguished Lecture on the second day of this APPSMO. Professor Freedman is Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. You would have received the invitation and we are looking forward to seeing you there. He will be sharing his thoughts on “Strategy and Command in an Age of Extreme Uncertainty”, an apt and urgent discussion not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented effects in the world but because black swan events will happen again, and we should be prepared.
This year’s theme, “The Evolving Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific and its Challenges”, addresses a range of questions and issues regarding the changing nature of security dynamics in the Asia Pacific and beyond. We have lined up prominent scholars, experts, and policymakers to discuss how strategic planning and defence relations can be done well to maintain peace and stability. An exciting panel is our panel on the “Changing Nature of Conflict in a Hybrid Environment”. Covering Cyber-issues, Fake News and Hybrid Operations, we will hear from three experts and practitioners on how whole-of-nation efforts will be needed to deal with them, not just those from the military and security forces.
I hope all our participants will ask the most pressing questions of the day during the question-and-answer sessions and the syndicated discussions.
The vision of APPSMO is to bring together senior military officers and defence experts in an academic setting. We are glad the best and brightest from all invited countries are represented here today. Through APPSMO, friendships across borders will be forged. We hope these networks will grow over the years. Many of our APPSMO Alumni have become key appointment holders in their respective country’s militaries and we are proud to be associated with them. Make and stay friends with each other during this APPSMO. You are the newest members of our illustrious network. Welcome once again.
Finally, I would like to thank our sponsors, the Ministry of Defence, for its continued support. I wish you all a stimulating conference ahead.
I would now like to invite Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Mr Heng Chee How, to deliver the Keynote Address.
Last updated on 11/10/2021