Safeguarding our nation’s well-being and interests requires everyone to play their part. The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) believes in managing and nurturing talent who wish to be part of the mission and have the passion to defend our sovereignty and way of life. This includes the Defence Executive Officers (DXOs) who are the non-uniformed professionals working alongside the military personnel.
Growing up, Sally Ang was always keen to pursue a career that allowed her to play a direct role in making a positive difference to Singapore and Singaporeans. Coupled with her interest in geopolitics, history, and international security, it became a natural choice for Sally to take up the Defence Merit Scholarship.
An Arena To Blossom
Upon graduation, Sally’s career began in the Defence Policy Office, where she was part of the team that formulated Singapore’s multilateral defence policies. One of the highlights was organising Singapore-chaired ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus in 2018.
Defence Merit Scholarship
Manager, National Service Policy Department
Bachelor of Laws – King’s College London
Master of Laws in International Legal Studies
– New York University
“We had to work closely with different Services and departments of MINDEF/SAF to develop useful and tangible deliverables in the areas of counter-terrorism, as well as maritime and aviation safety. It was a rewarding experience,” she shares. Another memorable experience was contributing an article in Tommy Koh’s book titled ‘50 Years of ASEAN and Singapore’. “It was truly humbling to be able to share my views on the genesis and importance of the ASEAN defence sector in a book that was written to commemorate ASEAN’s golden jubilee,” she reflects.
She is currently serving in the National Service Policy Department (NSPD), where she reviews and implements policies to ensure effective optimisation of NS resources. Sally shares that her portfolio in NSPD provides her with opportunities to hone new and useful skills in formulating domestic policies.
The skills and experiences Sally picked up during her studies really came to the fore and benefitted in her course of work. “The skills that I acquired, such as the ability to write succinctly, analyse, and think logically, were valuable in helping me formulate clear policies which would safeguard MINDEF/SAF’s interests and enhance Singapore’s international standing in the multilateral arena,” she shares. “In addition, the exposure I received while studying overseas was useful in ensuring that I was well-equipped to confidently engage my counterparts and senior officials from other countries, given that we often had to lobby and introduce them to Singapore’s proposals and perspectives.”
Not All Heroes Wear Uniforms
In MINDEF, there is a strong focus on nurturing the next generation of leaders who are passionate about making a difference in the defence sector. They can look forward to being exposed to different projects beyond their primary portfolio, which will allow them to have a more holistic and in-depth understanding of Singapore’s overall defence landscape. They will also have the chance to work closely with senior management to formulate policies. “Such close interactions are valuable to the growth and development of young officers as it provides them with a better sense of the strategic calculations and intricacies behind policymaking,” explains Sally.
With their greatest strength lying in their people, MINDEF offers a platform for like-minded people like Sally to be the most effective changemakers. “My career in MINDEF thus far has been fulfilling as I am always challenged to question my assumptions and push boundaries to achieve the best outcomes for Singapore and fellow Singaporeans,” she says.
“As a young officer, I particularly appreciate the fact that I am given immense autonomy to think independently and propose recommendations. As a result, there is great satisfaction in knowing that my views are respected, can have a direct impact, and are translated into concrete initiatives.”