Commanding Greater Response and Agility
04 Dec 2019

The SAF Commando Formation marked several milestones on 4 December 2019, when it celebrated 50 years of achievements and witnessed the commissioning of the new Special Operations Command Centre (SOCC) delivered by DSTA.

Officiating at the formation’s 50th anniversary parade held in Hendon Camp, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen highlighted the continued need for a special force like the Commandos, especially as the threat of terrorism remains a clear and present danger.

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“To respond to this growing threat, our Commandos too must evolve their strategies, capabilities and tactics. In keeping with technological advances, our Commandos have incorporated new sensors and other equipment into their armamentarium. The inauguration of the Special Operations Task Force’s (SOTF) Special Operations Command Centre represents an important step in the Commandos’ response to present day security threats,” Dr Ng added.

Designed and developed by DSTA in partnership with the SOTF, the SOCC enhances the SAF’s ability to centrally plan, monitor and manage multiple counter-terrorism and contingency operations. Previously, forward command posts had to be set up at different locations, depending on the nature of incident.

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With the networked command system incorporated by DSTA, data sources across different assets and platforms can be integrated to provide commanders with a comprehensive situational picture. In addition, the SOCC is networked to the command centres of other taskforces to foster tighter inter-agency coordination and sharing of information.

“Speed is important in SOTF’s operations. We thus harnessed data analytics and developed decision support engines for the SOCC. These allow critical information to be processed in real time, and key insights to be derived so commanders are able to make informed decisions swiftly,” DSTA’s Programme Manager (National Security) Ng Wee Kwang shared. For example, the SOCC can use various information sources such as military drones to obtain real-time visual of the ground situation.

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DSTA’s Programme Manager (National Security) Ng Wee Kwang at the SOCC

As the planning and coordination of operations is a complex effort, there is also a need to manage and sense-make disparate information sources efficiently and effectively. DSTA hence worked closely with SOTF to better understand their processes, requirements and underlying challenges. Furthermore, the team focused on optimising the design of the SOCC and carried out workflow studies to develop the centre for greater operational effectiveness and flexibility.

With the SOCC, the SOTF can manage and execute its operations with enhanced responsiveness, sense-make more effectively through technology like data analytics and obtain a common situation picture with its networked capabilities.