Country Listing

Singapore Table of Contents


People's Defence Force and National Cadet Corps

In the late 1980s, the People's Defence Force, with 30,000 members organized under two commands, and the National Cadet Corps, with an enrollment of 20,000 high school and university students, were Singapore's only paramilitary organizations. The People's Defence Force was established in 1965 to absorb former members of several paramilitary organizations that, prior to independence, had been part of the Singapore Volunteer Corps. By 1980, however, fewer than 200 volunteers remained in the volunteer force, and most of its personnel were national servicemen who had completed their twenty-four to thirty months of active duty. These personnel were assigned to units of the People's Defence Force to complete their reserve obligation. The ministries of defence and education were jointly responsible for the administration of the voluntary National Cadet Corps, which had army, air force, and naval components. Approximately 10 percent of the nation's high school students participated in this extracurricular program. The legal framework for the People's Defence Force and National Cadet Corps was provided by parliamentary acts passed in 1965 and 1971, respectively.

The Army General Staff had operational responsibility for the People's Defence Force. The specific organization and missions of units of the two People's Defence Force commands undoubtedly were similar to those found in the army reserves. Guarding coastal areas and local administrative jurisdictions against possible sabotage and other military actions during wartime or a national emergency were the most likely assignments for battalions. Unit training was said to have been limited to physical fitness, weapons familiarization, and infrequent mobilization exercises.

Data as of December 1989