Singapore, US sign defence supply chain agreement

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen being received by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at the US Pentagon on Dec 6. - MINDEF

SINGAPORE: Singapore and the United States recently signed a Security of Supply Arrangement, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in a news release on Thursday (Dec 7).

It is a bilateral, non-binding agreement that enables both countries to better manage unexpected supply chain disruptions.

Under the arrangement, both countries can request for priority delivery of critical and urgent industrial resources to meet their defence needs, Mindef said.

The deal was signed by Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, Mindef’s Permanent Secretary for Defence Development, and US Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, Dr William A. LaPlante.

The arrangement is a means to strengthen defence cooperation between Singapore and the US.

It also demonstrates “the longstanding and mutually beneficial defence technology cooperation between Singapore and the United States”, Mindef said.

The two sides also established a new defence innovation partnership in October, according to a US Defence Department news release on Dec 6.

It added that US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at the Pentagon on the same day.

During their meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed their countries’ bilateral defence relationship.

Dr Ng expressed appreciation for the US’s support for the Singapore Armed Forces’ training and technology requirements.

These include “basing Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) training detachments in the US, as well as the ongoing acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter”, Mindef said.

On his part, Austin conveyed his appreciation for Singapore’s consistent support for the US’ military presence in and engagement of the Asia-Pacific.

He noted that “Singapore is one of the United States’ most important defence partners”, the US Defence Department release said.

Austin also emphasised “the Department’s support for the US-Singapore bilateral training relationship, which includes joint exercises in the region and opportunities for the Republic of Singapore Air Force to train in the United States”.

“The two officials also reiterated that the partnership between the United States and Singapore is built on common principles, underscoring their mutual commitment to supporting the security, stability, and prosperity of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the US Defence Department release said.

Dr Ng and Austin also discussed geopolitical developments and regional security issues.

The defence establishments of the two countries interact regularly, Mindef said. These include military-to-military exchanges, training, and defence technology cooperation.

In 2019, both countries renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the US’ use of facilities in Singapore.

They also signed an agreement on the establishment of an RSAF Fighter Training Detachment at an air force base in the US island territory of Guam.

In August 2021, Singapore and the US signed an MOU on cooperation in cyberspace with the aim of institutionalising cyber defence cooperation between their militaries.

In recent months, Singapore has also taken part in at least two military drills with the US.

The first, co-hosted by the US and Indonesia, involved seven participating countries and was held in September.

The other was a bilateral exercise between Singapore and the US and also took place in September. The annual war games were held in California and first took place in 1996. - The Straits Times/ANN

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