Military Expert 5 (ME5) Lloyd Chua was awarded the SAF Engineering Scholarship (formerly known as the SAF Merit Scholarship (Engineering)) in 2011. He has obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering from University of Edinburgh and a Master of Philosophy in Engineering for Sustainable Development from University of Cambridge. Currently, he is a Staff Officer in the Joint Logistics Department.
“Joining the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) allowed me to contribute to something bigger – there is no higher calling than defending our nation.”
Military Expert 5 (ME5) Lloyd Chua, Staff Officer in the Joint Logistics Department of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) opened his interview with that stirring declaration.
Singapore’s security, survival and success are inextricably linked to the sea and the RSN plays a pivotal role in ensuring Singapore’s seaward defence and protecting its sea lines of communication. Over the years, the RSN has also undergone many transformation journeys in order to remain ready and relevant to deal with ever-evolving threats, including new ones posed by climate change.
The need to constantly develop solutions to deal with these challenges is what keeps ME5 Chua engaged and passionate. After all, he manages strategic manpower issues for engineers within the Navy, overseeing various policies that impact the recruitment, retention and competency build-up of engineers. He also orchestrates logistics operations and optimises the deployment of logistical resources to allow the Navy to achieve its operational outcomes.
The position requires both engineering knowledge and people skills, and most importantly, a heart to serve.
In the Navy
“It’s not often that people come across a submariner, not to mention a submarine engineer,” smiled ME5 Chua.
Compared to a civilian engineer, being a military engineer in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) fundamentally requires leadership skillsets that are unique to the RSN operating context. ME5 Chua listed examples of leading at the frontlines, guiding his crew towards mission success.
“It is critical that we earn the trust and respect of our men and women in times of peace, building it up day by day so that in times of war or crisis, they know that they can trust you with their lives. It is this unique aspect of military leadership combined with engineering that drew me towards a career with the SAF.”
“It should be no mystery why an engineering education helps in your career as a military engineer,” ME5 Chua said. “However, rather than a pure academic application of scientific theory and formulae, what has turned out more important to my career has been the rigorous logical thinking and critical analysis skills that have been imparted as part of my engineering education.”
“These skills are valuable and in high demand in any field.”
Hence, he is deeply grateful to have been awarded the SAF Merit Scholarship (Engineering) in 2011 which gave him an opportunity to obtain his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and Master’s in Engineering for Sustainable Development in prestigious universities such as the University of Edinburgh and University of Cambridge.
“The scholarship has provided me with opportunities for personal growth, as well as the chance to contribute in larger and more meaningful ways. Even after graduation and upon commencement of my career, the opportunities for growth were boundless.”
Logistics Wins Wars
Logic and analysis are part of his bread and butter in his current position managing manpower strategy within the Navy, with a focus on recruitment and retention of engineers.
He explained: “There is a well-known adage among military professionals that goes by the saying, ‘Soldiers win battles, Logistics wins wars’.”
“An efficient and effective logistics system for the SAF helps to ensure that our frontline soldiers, sailors and airmen have the necessary support for their operations, to give them the best fighting chance to succeed in their missions.”
Besides conventional security threats, the SAF also tackles new challenges such as climate change.
“Climate issues will increasingly affect our future security,” declared ME5 Chua.
“I’m proud to have helped the SAF mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. I believe that we should do what we can to reduce our environmental impact without damaging our operational capabilities, and pursuing sustainability in certain areas can even enhance our operational capabilities rather than reduce them.”
To that end, he has helped establish a new sustainability outfit, now known as the SAF Sustainability Office, which collaborates with Whole-of-Government stakeholders to set out sustainability initiatives across the SAF for a greener, cleaner defence force.
The Future with RSN
As someone invested in officers’ growth and careers, ME5 Chua looks forward to meeting new recruits and guiding them.
“Seeing people grow and flourish with you, all culminating in us achieving something larger than the sum of our parts – these experiences represent the highlights of my career thus far.”
And he looks forward to seeing others embrace the opportunity as he did. “The SAF is an organisation that places emphasis and invests in people development like no other.”