MINDEF - The Singapore Army
MINDEF Cluster | MINDEF - The Singapore Army

More Than Just a Leader

As a purpose-driven and caring leader, Captain (CPT) Ahmad Hafizuddin hopes to continue leading and inspiring servicemen to serve the nation with dedication and pride.
The Singapore Army

Captain (CPT) Ahmad Hafizuddin, Platoon Commander, Army Deployment Force, was awarded the SAF Academic Award in 2018. He attained a Bachelor of Science in Sport Science, Exercise and Health from The University of Western Australia.

As the bedrock of our nation’s defence, the Singapore Army plays a vital role in maintaining our sovereignty. Key to this goal is ensuring that our soldiers are strong, disciplined and ready to engage if needed. Thus, commanders and trainers such as CPT Hafizuddin are integral to ensuring that their units maintain high standards of morale and training. As a Platoon Commander in the Army Deployment Force (ADF), he takes special pride in mentoring his men, while playing the role of leader and educator.

He shared his hopes to inspire others to join him on this exciting journey with the Singapore Army.

Firstly, we would like to know what made you choose to serve in the Army. Did NS have anything to do with it?

Yes, actually! My experiences before joining the Army played a significant role in my decision to be part of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). I have always enjoyed leading and teaching others. I actively participated in various outdoor activities and held leadership positions when I was still studying in polytechnic. These challenging experiences allowed me to find new and innovative ways to develop and manage my teams.

When I first enlisted in the Army in 2016, I was cognisant that my past experiences and personality would suit the Army. After having met and worked with many great soldiers who advocated and supported me to strive for excellence and care for others, this further reinforced my decision to be part of the Singapore Army, a people-oriented organisation.

We understand you were awarded the SAF Academic Award in 2018. Could you tell us more about this Award? What made you choose it over other options available to you?

I knew that an Army career was the profession I wanted for the long run and decided to take up the SAF Academic Award when I pursued my undergraduate studies. I felt that pursuing higher education was especially critical to provide me with the right skill sets to have an impactful career with the Singapore Army. Through the award, I was fortunate to be offered a sponsorship for my undergraduate studies at The University of Western Australia (UWA). The award also included accommodation and annual book allowances.

“I am truly grateful that the Army provides various opportunities for me to lead and inspire those around me – I feel a great sense of achievement whenever I see a soldier grow or change for the better.” Captain (CPT) Ahmad Hafizuddin

You took up a Bachelor of Science in Sport Science, Exercise and Health at UWA. Could you tell us about your study experiences there? Why did you choose to study overseas and what made you choose this institution specifically?

I chose to study overseas as UWA has a good sports science programme. Furthermore, I wanted to be exposed to a different education system, engage in a new culture and meet new people.

My experience at UWA was very fulfilling and one with many volunteering opportunities. I was a Residential Advisor at the student accommodation where I stayed and was responsible for my residents’ welfare and ran events for the community. I was also part of the student guild, where I was the vice-president of the International Students’ department and a vice-chair for the Guild Council. In these roles, I managed and organised numerous events, ensured meetings ran smoothly and provided a platform for people to voice their opinions. These unique experiences I’ve had while studying at UWA fostered growth and confidence in my leadership skills. Simultaneously, I became more meticulous as I had to run a myriad of events throughout the year.

Ultimately, the variety of interactions I have had with people is something I will always treasure as I’ve made good friendships.

What other forms of support did you receive through the Award?

One that stands out to me is the SAF Student Networking session for overseas students that allowed me to connect with fellow UWA students and seniors from my course. These connections helped me a lot as I transitioned into student life and assimilated into the Australian education system.

How do you apply your learnings from your degree programme to your role?

The degree in Sports Science and Exercise Health has helped me gain skills and knowledge that I can now apply and implement in my work. For example, when a soldier consults me regarding a physical training programme, I can further optimise the programme and make it more effective based on what I’ve learnt. More generally, my university experience has improved my confidence and ability to research, obtain relevant information and think critically.

Moving on, tell us more about your roles and responsibilities as a Platoon Commander in the ADF.

The ADF is a high-readiness unit with niche capabilities to reinforce the operations of SAF task forces. We can respond rapidly to peacetime contingencies such as terrorist attacks, peace support operations and even humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

As a Platoon Commander, I am responsible for my platoon’s training, morale, welfare and discipline. My soldiers come from various backgrounds and age groups and as it is an all-regular force, one of my biggest responsibilities is to help manage their development and career in ADF, within and even beyond the Army.

In ADF, we are also required to be on standby 24/7 and prepared to be the Army’s Quick Reaction Force. As we are expected to perform at our highest levels when called upon, we spend most of our time training, keeping fit and tightening our teamwork at every echelon to ensure mission success.

We recently participated in a joint counter-terrorism exercise involving Singapore Police Force’s Special Operations Command and Gurkha Contingent as well as SAF’s Island Defence Task Force (IDTF). We supported the IDTF together with the 1st Commando Battalion and the 15th Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Battalion to provide surveillance of the area and contain the situation by cordoning off the incident site. This was a very eye-opening experience for me as it allowed me to see how different organisations worked in tandem and to also see how my platoon was able to perform under stress after the trainings we did together.

When people speak of joining the Army, they normally mention how fulfilling they find this work. What makes it so fulfilling, in your opinion?

The people! I genuinely enjoy and appreciate every moment I spend with my soldiers, listening to their problems and trying my best to assist them. What is great about the Singapore Army is that you will constantly meet new people from different walks of life and learn from their varied experiences. It’s always nice to know you have a colleague at work who cares and I want to be that person for my soldiers.

CPT Ahmad Hafizuddin

CPT Ahmad Hafizuddin

Your passion for the Army is palpable. What are your career goals and aspirations?

I want to continue being part of training and operations throughout my career in the Singapore Army. I am truly grateful that the Army provides various opportunities for me to lead and inspire those around me – I feel a great sense of achievement whenever I see a soldier grow or change for the better.

Given the opportunity, I aspire to one day be part of SAF’s Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance as I believe I can use what I’ve learnt from my Sports Science degree to help develop and realise the full combat potential of every soldier.

Thank you for a wonderful interview. As we close, is there any advice you could give to people interested in joining the Singapore Army?

My advice is to stay adaptable and relevant! Things are ever-changing and you need to be adaptable to work through the challenges faced day in and out; and be relevant because as the SAF draws our strength from not just regulars but also Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), I feel that staying relevant with what’s out there will give you the edge to engage other soldiers.