The mission of Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is to enhance Singapore’s peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, and should these fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor.
Many have risen to the occasion to serve and contribute to the defence of Singapore. Four such scholars from various arms of MINDEF and the SAF give us an insight into their roles in defending our nation.
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Phua Jia Kai has been with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) for 16 years and still derives purpose and satisfaction from his work every day.
Currently as the Head of the RSAF’s Office of Strategy, he is responsible for assisting the Chief of Air Force in strategising and building a stronger RSAF for the future. LTC Phua shares, “Together with my staff, our mission is to ensure that the Air Force remains relevant and credible to meet the evolving demands of our future environment, while making the most of our finite resources.”
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Phua Jia Kai
The SAF Scholarship
Head of the RSAF's Office of Strategy (Hd ROS), Chief of Air Force Office
To stay ahead of the evolving security landscape, the SAF has a committed and structured career track to train and groom fresh talent. “In the SAF, we have a people-centric culture, because we believe that people are our most valuable asset. By training our people well and taking care of their career progression and personal development, their sense of purpose and belonging will be strengthened. We will then be in good stead to achieve our mission.”
The training and learning opportunities afforded to an SAF scholar include involvement in a variety of projects and studies that entail highly complex, strategic and multi-functional issues. These assignments stretch minds, sharpen critical thinking skills and deeply challenge individuals on an intellectual level. “The SAF is a dynamic and fast-paced organisation. We put young men and women in leadership positions early on to take on heavy responsibilities, with the confidence that we have trained them well enough to discharge these responsibilities,” LTC Phua elaborates.
Ultimately, it is the lives touched and service rendered to the nation that is the most rewarding aspect of a military career. “I have had opportunities to command men and women from all walks of life. These experiences showed me the importance of empathy, humility and the need to lead by example.”
“You need to have the heart to serve. The SAF is a very operational organisation. Our servicemen can get deployed halfway across the world at the drop of a hat, in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations. Our servicemen also stand ready on a 24/7 basis for air defence. These operations are meaningful but often entail personal sacrifice. So as long as you have the heart to serve, the SAF is a choice that you will not regret," he advises aspiring leaders.