MAJ Benny Tan leads and inspires his men as Commander, Army Deployment Force. He was awarded The SAF Scholarship in 2007, and holds a Bachelor of Arts with General Honours in Economics from University of Chicago and a Master of Arts in War Studies from King's College, London. MAJ Tan has been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel with effect from 1 Jul 22. The photos taken were before his promotion.
A strong and credible army is the cornerstone of any sovereign nation. Our Singapore Army, drawing its strength from a well-trained contingent of Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), Operationally Ready National Servicemen and Regulars, serves as the bedrock in ensuring the defence and security of our country.
Provided with diverse opportunities to contribute to the continued peace of Singapore for his loved ones and fellow Singaporeans, 34-year-old Major (MAJ) Benny Tan undertakes this through his sound leadership and military expertise throughout his postings in the Singapore Army.
MAJ Tan was awarded The SAF Scholarship in 2007 and is currently the Commander of the Army Deployment Force, ensuring his men’s operational readiness at all times.
A Career that Contributes Back
After graduating from junior college, MAJ Tan weighed his career options and questioned which paths would help him achieve his personal aspirations. Ultimately, the Singapore Army provided him the perfect platform to give back to Singapore.
“I was keen to contribute back to a nation and society that I felt deeply grateful for in shaping the person that I had become, and which my loved ones and I call home,” asserted MAJ Tan. “It became obvious to me that the SAF is the ultimate guarantor for Singapore’s peace, prosperity, security and sovereignty, and that here, I would be able to play a part in contributing to the success of our little red dot.”
Anticipating a dynamic career, MAJ Tan took up The SAF Scholarship and pursued his undergraduate studies in the United States and subsequently, his master’s degree in the United Kingdom. Apart from the opportunity to study at top universities overseas, MAJ Tan has also shared that The SAF Scholarship broadened his horizons, grooming him into a leader in the Singapore Army and an upstanding individual to his family and friends.
“The vacation attachments during my university years allowed me to experience a myriad of roles from ground to staff appointments where I could put what I have learned from schools into practice. The added perk was the ability to catch up with my peers to cross-share what we have learnt,” elaborated MAJ Tan.
His military training goes beyond just Singapore, which he is grateful to be a part of. “Being in the SAF has offered me the opportunity to attend multiple overseas military courses, including the United States Marine Corps Basic Officer Course and the United Kingdom Advanced Command and Staff Course. These opportunities are regularly available even as we progress through the ranks, so that we can continue to hone our ability to examine issues critically and lead our people well.”
Speaking of leading people, MAJ Tan ensures that his men in the Army Deployment Force are ready to respond swiftly and decisively to an extensive spectrum of operations.
MAJ Tan elaborated: “The Army Deployment Force is a high-readiness unit comprised of highly-trained soldiers with niche capabilities to reinforce the operations of SAF task forces. We are capable of responding to peacetime contingencies such as terrorist attacks, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions, or peace support operations.”
As Commander, he oversees every aspect of the unit.
“At the core, I am responsible for ensuring my unit’s operational readiness and mission outcomes on a 24/7 basis. Additionally, this means pushing capability and training development efforts in anticipation of future challenges, and taking care of my soldiers’ welfare, morale and discipline.”
But beyond that, what MAJ Tan really enjoys about the appointment is the opportunity to lead and work with people in his unit.
“There’s never a boring day in the unit, whether it is in working together to train for a mission or just spending time and getting to know my soldiers better. This is very much what the Army is all about – its people!”
Command appointments aside, MAJ Tan finds immense gratification to be able to work on the ground and make a palpable difference to people. For one, he was given the opportunity to support multi-ministry efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As part of the Medical Operations Task Force, we helped with the planning and coordination of medical resources, and monitoring of COVID-19 cases, as the nation tided through one of the toughest challenges in recent times,” he said when asked about his most significant achievement thus far.
“The possibilities at the Singapore Army are endless!” emphasised MAJ Tan.
“Our responsibilities and challenges range from the tactical, such as encouraging ground-up innovation efforts and coaching subordinates, to the strategic, such as crafting policy and engaging in defence diplomacy work. The wide range of opportunities also extends to various vocations and expertise that the Singapore Army requires and there is certainly a fit for anyone who is keen to be part of something bigger than themselves.”
Looking back on his experiences, MAJ Tan reflected that the Army at its core is about its people.
“I relish the opportunity and the challenge of working with a diverse group of individuals and moulding the team through challenging conditions towards achieving a common goal. These real and personal interactions are what drive and motivate me on a daily basis.”
“If you wish to be part of something bigger, and to serve a higher calling – the defence of our nation – a military profession in the Army is for you.”