From January 26 to 27, Singapore held the latest iteration of its mobilization and equipping exercise. The drills – billed the largest in decades – were directed at reinforcing the city-state’s ability to tackle a full-range of threats, including terrorism amid lingering concerns about the challenge in the region.
Since the 1980s, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has been regularly conducting mobilization and equipping exercises (MOBEX) to evaluate the operational readiness of its units and test its activation procedures. The SAF conducts around twenty to thirty of such exercises annually.
Over the weekend, the SAF carried out another iteration of MOBEX. Around 8,000 active and operationally ready National Servicemen participated from nine divisions and assigned units, along with 700 vehicles. Local media outlets said this was the biggest known mobilization exercise carried out by the city-state since 1985.
This year’s MOBEX was designed to test the SAF’s readiness to respond to a full spectrum of operations, including civil disasters and emergencies, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and homeland security. It included an interagency response to a simulated active shooter scenario at the Singapore Sports Hub, which was part of an ongoing effort by the SAF to test the country’s response to terrorist attacks as I have been observing in these pages (See: “Singapore Holds Terror Drills in Changi Airport”).
The MOBEX exercise also highlighted the enhancements that have been made to the mobilization and equipping process. Much of this was tied to the One-Stop Mobilization and Equipping Center (MEC) concept that mobilizes and equips servicemen with assigned equipment under one roof, thereby saving time, streamlining logistics, and integrating new technology and practices. According to Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), the enhanced One-Stop MEC at Selarang Camp has introduced several features such as increased digitalization, a controlled humidity environment system for storage facilities, and the integration of green technology.
Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen visited MOBEX at Selarang Camp, where he was briefed on the process and witnessed the use of the One-Stop MEC. During his visit, according to MINDEF, Ng highlighted both the full-spectrum nature of the operations being held as well as their importance in giving confidence to Singaporeans that investments made in the city-state’s capabilities are being put to good use.