New centre to help unlock soldier's potential through tech
SAF's Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance opens
Soldiers can train smarter, be mentally stronger and better-equipped as well as recover faster from injury with the opening of a new centre yesterday.
The centre will collaborate with experts in fields such as sports science and psychology and nutrition to produce customised fitness programmes, appropriate food plans, and even tailor combat equipment to suit what a soldier does.
Its aim is to bring out the best in the men - a goal especially important as the young male population is forecast to decline by almost one-third in the coming decades in a swiftly ageing Singapore.
Called the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP), its establishment is "a key milestone" in the Singapore Armed Force (SAF)'s efforts to achieve a more targeted and effective training, Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung said yesterday at its opening.
"By putting our soldiers first, we are able to develop each soldier to his full potential and give our soldiers a positive national service experience," he said.
Its headquarters is at Selarang Camp in Loyang.
More than 20 experts in various fields, using a highly scientific approach fuelled by data, dig deep for the best outcomes in four areas of focus: fitness and nutrition, building mental resilience, injury management and improving soldier systems.
The CESP can help to develop stronger, fitter and more resilient soldiers, Mr Ong said.
The number of SAF personnel is expected to shrink by about 30 per cent by 2030 - a trend that is the miltary's "greatest challenge", Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in 2015.
Initially, the focus is on delivering results for the army where most of the conscripts serve, said the centre's head, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Yee Kok Meng, 42.
Ultimately, "the value proposition of the centre is really to unlock every soldier's potential using science", he said.
Soldiers can expect shorter downtime as a result of injuries, as ground commanders will be trained to do certain rehabilitation programmes.
Some of the CESP's programmes have been implemented in different units.
To improve mental resilience, techniques to focus the solders' attention and control their anxiety have been taught by defence psychologists in basic military training since September.
New gear for soldiers
One of the first achievements of the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP) is a next-generation load-bearing system for soldiers to carry military gear such as water bottles and ammunition.
The system has a new hip belt, which can be customised for size and worn separately from a soldier's vest. This helps to distribute some of the weight carried to reduce strain on a soldier's shoulders.
It will gradually replace the current integrated load-bearing vests.