Strategic Effectiveness, Not Lethality

For those who follow Singapore's defence matters, the following graphic is probably familiar to you: Singapore's Ministry of Defence all has another infographic, provided below: So here's my problem with the narrative that the graphic presents: greater lethality does not guarantee strategic effectiveness. To be fair, however, when a military organisation undertakes a modernisation programme, … Continue reading Strategic Effectiveness, Not Lethality

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Michael Raska on The SAF After Next Incarnation

The text below belongs to my colleague, Michael Raska. I felt it important, and I wanted to put his commentary in this blog. You can also access his commentary here. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, Singapore’s force modernisation priorities toward the Next-Generation SAF currently follows three lines of effort: (1) developing capabilities to counter … Continue reading Michael Raska on The SAF After Next Incarnation

How to evaluate a country’s arms dynamic?

In An Introduction to Strategic Studies: Military Technology and International Politics, Barry Buzan argued that the phenomenon of the arms dynamic is driven by three elements: an action-reaction dynamic between the state and its putative adversary; the domestic structures within the state that is not necessarily fully synchronised with the action-reaction dynamic with its putative … Continue reading How to evaluate a country’s arms dynamic?

What Four Deaths in the SAF Over 16 Months Ought to Teach Us

It is well known that since September 2017, there have been 4 deaths in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) during training exercises. Before the first of these 4 training deaths, the last training accident that resulted in the death of a soldier was in September 2012. Before that, between July 2009 and January 2011, there … Continue reading What Four Deaths in the SAF Over 16 Months Ought to Teach Us

2019: Is this the year Strategic Stability in East Asia comes under threat?

As my post of 2 January 2019 suggested, the emergence of an on-going territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore over the maritime border in the western approaches to Singapore has developed a potentially unpleasant domestic political element. A friend of mine commented on his Twitter account, when the Malaysia-Singapore issue emerged in December 2018, that … Continue reading 2019: Is this the year Strategic Stability in East Asia comes under threat?

Strategic Stability and the Malaysia-Singapore Territorial Spat of 2018

On 25 October 2018, the Attorney-General’s Chambers of the Federation of Malaysia published a document outlining changes to the limits of the Johor Bahru port authorities in the western approach to the Straits of Johor. By all reckoning, the apparently-unilateral extension of the Johor Bahru port authorities meant that Johor port authorities would claim administrative … Continue reading Strategic Stability and the Malaysia-Singapore Territorial Spat of 2018

Is Southeast Asia on the cusp of a US-China war?

My colleague, Collin Koh, wrote this recently. The tantalising sub-title, "Is was the endgame in the South China Sea?", is more provocative than the article's argument, actually. Collin's assessment is rather more positive. He accepts that strategic distrust between the US and China will not dissipate overnight, and that "an unfortunate mishap arising from inadvertent … Continue reading Is Southeast Asia on the cusp of a US-China war?