Caleb manages media relations in his role as a Manager at the Public Communications Directorate in the MINDEF Communications Organisation. A recipient of the Defence Merit Scholarship, he holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in International Relations & History from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Master of International Relations from the University of Chicago.
Mention “defence”, and for most of us, tanks, fighter jets, and ships come to mind. However, it takes a lot more to protect the security and sovereignty of Singapore than just military might. This is where Defence Executive Officers (DXOs) come into the picture.
DXOs are non-uniformed defence professionals working alongside military personnel who share the same passion for defence. They take on various roles and responsibilities within MINDEF to contribute towards the organisation’s objectives of enhancing Singapore’s peace and security.
Among them is Caleb Loei, a Manager at the Public Communications Directorate in the MINDEF Communications Organisation (MCO). MINDEF is the perfect fit for the 29-year-old, who has always been keen on international affairs, and felt a calling to serve in the nation’s defence.
A Global Outlook
Caleb played with country erasers as many children did. It was an innocuous activity, but it introduced him to the world beyond Singapore. As he got older, he started to read more into the interdependency between countries and diplomacy. Caleb’s inherent interest guided him while he was considering his future career options.
In the end, MINDEF stood out to him for its immense size and reach as well as its global-facing nature.
“I wanted to have a chance to do an international relations job to see how my academic interests actually translate into real life,” elaborated Caleb. “I wanted to pursue a career that is meaningful, allows for lifelong learning, and gives me the option to take on different appointments so that I can be exposed to different work environments.”
Caleb was awarded the Defence Merit Scholarship in 2013, and he pursued a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and History from The London School of Economics and Political Science and Master of International Relations from the University of Chicago. Upon completing his studies, he was given opportunities to work in numerous departments within MINDEF.
Contributing to Total Defence
Caleb’s first posting as a DXO was to the Defence Policy Office. The office is responsible for MINDEF’s defence relations with its foreign counterparts, formulating policy recommendations and conducting strategic planning to support defence diplomacy.
He then went on to a more public-facing role in MCO, which oversees MINDEF-wide public communications and public relations efforts, with the aim of strengthening the trust between MINDEF, the SAF, and the public.
“I am currently a media relations officer. My primary responsibilities include the planning and execution of public communications plans in support of MINDEF and the SAF’s communications objectives and working with media on defence-related stories and news,” he explained.
His job scope covers the designing, planning, and execution of public communications plans, as well as working with multiple internal and external stakeholders to produce media collaterals and facilitating the creation of stories and features.
“From time to time, we also engage the media to strengthen relations between MINDEF, the SAF and its media partners. I am also involved in crisis communications planning and execution.”
For example, Caleb worked with key stakeholders to roll out the public communications plan for Total Defence Day 2021, which included facilitating media interviews with SAF personnel contributing to COVID-19 operations, to highlight the importance of national defence.
A Dynamic Work Environment
Caleb is thankful for the numerous opportunities he has received in MINDEF, as well as the many friends he has made at work. Looking back at his journey in the organisation, he said: “There are opportunities to try out a myriad of roles. If one has the desire, the learning in MINDEF never stops.”
“I am happy to be in a role that allows me to contribute to the safety and defence of the country. This gives me added purpose.”
He concluded: “If you are interested in a dynamic career and passionate about contributing to the security of Singapore, MINDEF is the organisation for you.”