New military cyber warriors will be ‘comparable to commandos’: Ong Ye Kung

Photo: AFP

Those selected for a new cyberwarfare unit that is being set up in response to growing cyber threats will be comparable to the commandos or navy divers, said Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung on Friday (3 March).

“Our cyber defenders will need to possess a high level of skill given the increasing frequency and  complexity of cyber attacks. They will be entering a very selective and demanding vocation, comparable to the commandos or navy divers,” said Ong, who was speaking in Parliament during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate.

Ong’s speech came just after Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the formation of the new Defence Cyber Organisation, which will comprise 2,600 soldiers supported by scientists and engineers in the Defence Science & Technology Agency and DSO National Laboratories.

Ng said, “The Cyber Command will oversee policies, train cyber units to monitor and defend our networks 24/7 from threats, which will assess vulnerabilities and detect attempted intrusions and breaches in the system. And just as physical troopers now physically protect key installations, we will deploy these NS cyber defenders to protect our installations together with CSA (Cyber Security Agency).”

“SAF must keep up with the tactics and operations of aggressors in the cyber realm…because this is a never-ending game, as we do in conventional warfare.”

Ong then elaborated that many of the new cyber defenders will be full-time national servicemen trained in a new cyber vocation, and may be identified via established local cyber competitions, camps and activities as well as rigorous selection tests.

Ong, who is also Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), said to laughter from the House, “I take a personal interest in this and I will coordinate closely with the Minister of Higher Education.”