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Singapore

 
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Singapore

THE ARMED FORCES

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Figure 12. Japanese Campaign on Malay Peninsula, 1941-42

Source: Based on information from Jack-Hinton, A Sketch Map History of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore, London, 1966, 62; and N.J. Ryan, The Making of Modern Malaysia and Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, 1969, 221.

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Japanese officer handing over maps to British and discussing troop positions, 1945
Courtesy National Archives

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Figure 14. Organization of the Armed forces, 1989

Source: Based on information from International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 1988-89, London, 1989, 176; and Singapore, Ministry of Defence, The Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore, 1985

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Jungle warfare military training
Courtesy Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information

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Figure 15. Military Rank Insignia, 1989

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Urban warfare military training
Courtesy Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information

In 1989 Singapore's armed forces comprised the army, navy, and air forces, their reserves, and the People's Defence Force, which was the country's national guard. There were 55,000 personnel in the regular armed services, 182,000 in the reserves, and 30,000 in the national guard. All males were required to register for service at age sixteen and became eligible for conscription when they turned eighteen. Most conscripts served in one unit during their twenty-four to thirty months of active duty, and they continued with the same unit until they completed their duty in the reserves. The 1970 Enlistment Act required enlisted men to remain in the reserves until they turned forty and officers until the age of fifty.

The Constitution was amended in 1972 to prohibit the armed forces from being subordinated to any foreign power without the approval of the voters in a national referendum. The amendment, Article Six of the Constitution, states that defense treaties and collective security agreements negotiated by the government are to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the electorate. This amendment did not preclude Singapore's participation in the 1971 Five-Powers Defence Agreement (see Glossary), which was primarily intended to provide support by Australia, Britain, and New Zealand for Malaysia and Singapore should either nation be attacked. In 1989 the members of the Five-Powers Defence Agreement maintained an air defense network for the protection of Singapore and Malaysia and organized military exercises to improve the interoperability of their armed forces.

The Armed Forces Act of 1972 defined the organization and mission of the armed forces. The Armed Forces Council was chaired by the minister for defence and included as members the commanders of the army, navy, and air force. The Council was the top military policymaking body subordinate to the prime minister. In 1989 the minister for defence was a civilian, as had been his predecessors although military officers were not legally prohibited from holding a ministerial appointment.

Data as of December 1989

Singapore - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • National Security

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    Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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