The Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) shift to living with Covid-19 after having achieved herd immunity through vaccination shows that it has moved ahead of the national curve. The posture it has adopted as part of its task to protect Singapore’s land, sea and air borders reflects a growing reality within the country that the coronaviral disease will become endemic here. The SAF’s move signals a determination to not let the pandemic disrupt the organisational and operational planning of its activities, which are undertaken with an eye on the demands of national security. Critical operations units, such as those protecting key installations and those performing air defence or maritime security operations, have continued to function throughout the pandemic. But basic military training was suspended from April to May last year during the circuit breaker period.
What makes a critical difference to the state of affairs in the armed forces today is that more than 90 per cent of individuals in the SAF and the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) have received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose. By the second week of this month, 92 per cent will be fully vaccinated with both doses. Pre-enlistment vaccination was rolled out last month for military recruits before they entered the Basic Military Training Centre.