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The best strategy to defending Singapore Island

Discussion in 'Strategy & Tactics' started by Twister, Dec 31, 2008.

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  1. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 3 of 4: Deterrence Explained
    6. Deterrence “is the use of a threat (explicit or not) by one party in an attempt to convince another party not to upset status quo” (Quackenbush, 2010: 60). More specifically, deterrence is the persuasion of an aggressor that the cost and/or risk of a given course of action he might take outweighs its benefits (George & Smoke, 1974: 11). Consequently, deterrence is a mutual relationship that involves communication and signaling and assumes that states in competition or conflict make decisions in accordance with rational cost-benefit calculations that can be manipulated (Mazarr & Goodby, 2011). Just because an aggressor acquires the capability to fire cruise or ballistic missiles does not mean the SAF is deterred — because Singapore practices Total Defence. Total Defence encompasses six key pillars – military, civil, economic, social, psychological and digital defence – and focuses on the need for each Singaporean or Singapore volunteer (i.e. locals without NS obligations or foreign nationals volunteering to serve an abbreviated version of NS) play his or her part to keep the country strong. Total Defence Day is marked annually on February 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the surrender of the British to the Japanese on 15 February 1942.

    7. On the flip side, Singapore aims to deter an aggressor using two main methods: denying benefits or imposing costs.

    One, deterrence by denial involves convincing the aggressor that it will not reach its objective, or that the perceived benefits are of little or no value — which is success by any measure since 1967 to 1990.

    Two, deterrence by imposing costs, or punishment, is about convincing the aggressor that the risk of suffering large losses is high and that the cost of a counter-attack significant — which has been successful since 1991 (see page 9 prior Post 3 of 5: Defusing tensions while standing our ground and working with partners). Further, it was reported that Mahathir said Singapore “may be small”, but it was more powerful than Malaysia. He said that he did not see war as “a means to settle conflicts”. He said that he’d rather sit down to negotiate, even though there may be no result, than go to war. In this specific case, Malaysia made no progress, gave up on its intrusive approach and sought rapprochement at a May 2019 Leader’s Retreat.

    Only if deterrence and diplomacy, fail, does the SAF have to secure a swift and decisive victory over that aggressor. And there is no doubt that the Singapore military can do what it says, and it is a factor in an aggressor’s calculations.

    8. Why would anyone target Singapore for rocket attacks, except terrorists? Keeping in mind that Singapore hosted the 1st Trump and Kim summit in June 2018 where the US and the DPRK signed a "Joint Statement at the Singapore Summit." As part of defence diplomacy, Singapore also hosts the annual Shangri-La dialogue — as a small country capable of supporting peace efforts and advocating its own interests, effectively, at the international stage (see paragraph 5 (ii) earlier). It can be argued that Singapore’s policy of zero enemies and many friends works.
    9. Not sure why you want to talk like a fanboy and call us ''partners in crime'' of the USA — given Singapore’s advanced military capabilities, ‘non-aligned’ posture and strong defence relations with numerous parties that do not see eye to eye. With regard to 4 of the P5 UNSC members, Singapore has strong relations with:

    • the Americans (the 1990 MOU would be renewed by 2020, and it will incorporate partnership elements of the US’ National Defence Strategy);
    • the English (read up on FPDA and it’s role);
    • the French (2019 is the 20th anniversary of the Singapore’s advanced jet training in Cazaux, France); and
    • the Chinese (with Singapore also upgrading of its defence ties with the Chinese later this year).

    10. No you do not. You misunderstand Singapore’s military options for escalation within our regional context and our air force’s tool kit for full spectrum escalation dominance in a conventional war scenario — a ballistic missile attack on Singapore gives us Casus belli — right to war. Any aggressor state’s military options must take into consideration the likelihood of retaliation. Any attack on Singapore, if it successfully occurs, only invites a response from the SAF, until Singapore is satisfied. With a defence budget of S$15.5 billion for FY2019 (up from S$14.8 billion for FY2018), Singapore is the most densely defended country in Southeast Asia. See also: Spotter’s Guide: NDP 2019 Mobile Column and the videos as a backgrounder on options and capability:

    11. How Singapore fights an aggressor is going to be dictated by:

    • Our perceived threat matrix.
    • The type of force structure Singapore has built to address the said threat matrix (details provided in prior posts).
    • Where the fight may occur and its terrain or geographic features.
    • What Singapore is trying to accomplish (mission/goal).
    • Other concerns (foreign policy, etc.)
    Which means, the SAF is not preparing to fight a hostile nuclear power or Indonesia, alone. IMO, hostilities between Indonesia and Singapore is unlikely, as the TNI and the SAF train together and have a record of working together. For example, the SAF’s UAV command deployed the Scout RPV to provide intelligence to the TNI to resolve the Mapenduma hostage crisis in 1996. Further, Singapore provides a submarine rescue service for the Indonesian Navy. It also provides the Indonesian Navy with the Surpic II information sharing portal, a sea surveillance system, set up since 2005, to provide maritime awareness of the Singapore Strait. Under a Defence Cooperation Agreement, Singapore provides training assistance to the TNI, including G-Tolerance trainer and Super Puma simulator trainer, and professional courses like the Combined Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. To date, hundreds of TNI-AU pilots have undergone simulator training in Singapore, and 10 TNI-AU instructors have graduated from the Combined Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. Marking five decades of bilateral defence relations, the RSAF and TNI-AU executed a combined 20 F-16 flypast on 7 Sep 2017, over Singapore.

    12. Besides, any surprise attack on Singapore is an attack on the US logistics presence and as ngatimozart noted this hurts the interests of our FPDA partners, like Australia, UK and NZ — which can only benefit Singapore in ensuring that we will have external support, for what we need to do to remove the threat. Our Changi naval base also currently hosts International Liaison Officers from 18 countries — an attack on Singapore is an attack on officers from 18 countries. For geo-political details, read the thread on ‘South China Sea thoughts?’, as a backgrounder.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  2. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 4 of 4: Importance of geography and context
    13. This is a real concern and there is some investment in this area.
    14. For giggles, it is also possible to argue that by 2050, Indonesia’s military capability will be close to par, when compared with that of Pakistan (who is so impoverished with a 2018 GDP of USD278 billion), given Indonesia's larger USD 1.1 trillion dollar economy in 2018.
    15. This aspect of your discussion, ignoring geography, can’t be serious. A country cannot change its locale or geography. You can’t teleport countries or use a dimensional ‘gate’ to move armies, like that of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea or Japan, to invade Singapore. In addition, why would you list such a dubious choice and be so silly as to consider Iran as militarily advanced (when compared to Indonesia)? Let me list the reasons why I would not use Iran as an example:

    • Iran does not have a modern air force (when compared to TNI AU’s 4 squadrons of modern fighters). Iran’s out dated air force is very much inferior in capability when compared with Singapore’s tertiary air force — that regularly takes part in DACT exercises like ‘Exercise Red Flag’. Other than Iran’s HESA Saeqeh (F-5 clone), Mig 29s and Su-24s, the vast majority of Iranian fighter aircraft are of late 70s vintage (i.e. obsolete).
    • After eight years of fighting in the Iran-Iraq war, neither side could really claim victory. Both Iran and Iraq suffered devastating loses of men, materiel, and financial resources in the 1980s. You can even speculate or argue that officer cadre in the TNI are much more tactically competent than Iran’s army officers due to access to international connections that is not available to Iran — with the Americans, Australians and Singaporeans helping the TNI modernise it’s equipment and TTPs, in wide ranging defence cooperation. Not sure why you would list Iran, as a militarily advanced country, given their army’s prior less than competent human wave tactics (and 3rd rate equipment) during the Iran-Iraq war (Sep 1980 to Aug 1988).
    • As an objective observer, Indonesia as a G-20 member and larger country, is much more powerful as a country, when it is compared to Iran. Indonesia co-founded and leads 9 other ASEAN countries, to create an open and inclusive security architecture — ADMM Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum are examples of its diplomatic power. Who does Iran lead, as an isolated middle power? Iran is caught between a rock and a hard place (that is not even qualified to be a G-2o member). In time I hope that you will become capable of critical thinking and stop blindly buying into Iranian propaganda.

    16. It is a pity that the basis to support your view is using anime logic (like The Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There). The very capable JSDF do not have the forward air bases, naval logistics (to move more than a brigade) or the will to invade Singapore. More importantly, read more about Article 9 of their constitution. If you like anime, here’s a video on the Singapore Army with an anime soundtrack, as I am a big fan of the export of Japanese culture.


    17. While the military forces of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan are substantial, they lack the forward air bases, don’t have the naval logistics and lack the will to project power from their home bases to Singapore in the face of determined resistance by a 5 fighter squadron tertiary air force and an advanced navy. While South Korea may have the naval logistics capability to move 2 or more divisions, they lack air bases in South East Asia (to forward deploy 10 to 14 fighter squadrons as a tertiary air force) and have much bigger worries at home (aka North Korea and their immediate NE Asian neighbours).



    18. Agreed. Artillery threats, be they shells, mortars and rockets against Singapore main island has been around before Singapore gained her independence and during WWII, the crown colony was shelled by the Japanese Imperial Army. It is not something new and the SAF’s force structure is designed for forward defence to manage this threat. It is very much a key part of SAF`s contingency plans — see my prior ‘Post 1 of 2: Why Ahmad’s 2 prior posts are not logical’. SSJArcher Krich does not realise that 122mm to 239mm rocket attacks do not work to induce surrender; due to the substantial precision attack (up to 72 km) and counter battery capabilities of the Singapore Army, explained in prior posts. IMO, he is unable to tell the difference in the effect and range of rockets (below 239mm) versus 400mm to 600mm ballistic missiles (i.e. capable of long range attack that Singapore’s Aster and other missiles has some ability to counter). Missile shields can leak, which is why the concept of deterrence is so important.

     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
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  3. Preceptor

    Preceptor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A reminder to all (for some this is gentle, for others no so much) keep post content On Topic for the thread a member is posting in. SSJArcher Kirch has been banned for a minimum of six months, for making a series of 11 posts today in this thread that had large segments of content which had no relevance to Singapore. Instead the Off Topic content was most often about claimed defence capabilities of another nation which is not even in the same part of the world as Singapore. Given the large volume of Off Topic material which would have to be edited out, the entire string of posts has instead removed for now while options are being discussed.
    -Preceptor

    EDIT: Following a review of the removed posts and discussion between Moderators, the posts have been purged and SSJArcher Kirch has now been Permanently Banned.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  4. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 1 of 2: Ignorance corrected
    A few factual errors or lack of logic in your 11 deleted posts, one of which is quoted above. IMO you should not just disagree, for no relevant reason. It’s not worth the time to reply to all your misguided points but I can quickly reply to a select few below:

    1. Dr Ng was commissioned as an army medical officer in his younger days and it is traditional that the Minster of Defence, he serves in that role as a civilian. I don’t see your point. Why would you to bring up Chan Chun Sing (the former Chief of Army, who retired as a Major General)?

    • There are numerous generals and rear admirals who have served in the cabinet, including Prime Minister Lee (who retired as a Brigadier General from the Army). PM Lee is the first senior wrangler from Singapore (Senior wranglers, like PM Lee have gone on to play leading figures in the world of mathematics, physics and other fields).
    • Singapore’s elected political leaders are typically rotated to other positions/ministries to develop a broad view, after retiring from the SAF to enter politics (as a civilian). Chan Chun Sing, who has a first class degree in economics from Cambridge, is also trilingual making him effective in engaging with leaders in Indonesia, China, UK and the US. I note that Chan Chun Sing excelled as a student at the US Army Command and General Staff College in 1998, and was the first foreign student to be conferred the "Distinguished Master Strategist Award" and he was also inducted into the hall of fame of the US Army Command and General Staff College in Nov 2013.
    • IMO, he is being groomed to be the next Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security. If Chan Chun Sing performs in his current role, he will eventually replace Teo Chee Hean (who retired as Rear Admiral from the Navy), as part of leadership renewal.
    Again, I don’t see your point.

    2. The general trend is about 45 deaths in Singapore from military training each 10 year period (or about 4.5 a year). There are some years where the rate is zero. The risk is managed (i.e. lower than the risk of being struck by lightning on a golf course in Singapore), given that Singapore trains in 10 countries.

    • Minimising this rate through better safety measures, as the Defence Minister explained in parliament is ‘care for men’?
    • Are you trying to say that the more people die (in human wave attacks, like Iran), the better an army is? In contrast to Iran, since independence, Singapore has strived to invest in her most valuable resource—the people—and this strategy will remain apposite for the nation. After all, the technological capabilities that the SAF will induct and processes used can only be as good as the soldiers who will be operating them.
    Therefore, I see no correlation between training deaths (or deliberately sending men to their deaths by Iran) and a country’s ability to retain a military capability.
    3. Some minor corrections on capability in relation to your TNI and SAF comparisons:

     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  5. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 2 of 2: Shooting down retired aces and determining the correct level of self sufficiency
    4. How are old Iranian aces from history going to help an obsolete Iranian Air Force, today? Iranian loss ratios may be horrendous against any capable tertiary air force — this underscores the value of electronic warfare, the benefits of using early warning aircraft (like the G550 AEW) and careful air warfare planning to Suppress Enemy Air Defences by destruction of SAM sites (SEAD mission). SEAD is complex discipline that capable air forces need to master, if they want to be relevant to land or naval battles. And how is the competence or incompetence of the Iranian Air Force or Iranian Army relevant to the defence of Singapore? Off topic much.

    5. Choosing our level of self sufficiency is great — as MINDEF can focus on developing only key capabilities in a strategic manner. For infantry fighting vehicles (eg. Terrex, Hunter, Bionix, Trailblazer, and Bronco) and 155mm artillery, Singapore is entirely self sufficient and Singapore even owns some foreign companies that make some of these parts.

    • IMO not having to make/invent our fighter aircraft (F-16Vs, F-15SGs and F-35s on order), helicopters (Chinooks, Apaches, Seahawk’s and H225Ms on order), or submarines (Type 218SGs on order), saves money.
    • The SAF has taken a long- term view about its operational capabilities. In fact, it has gained the reputation as a ‘reference buyer’ for many other foreign militaries in this regard. For instance, the acquisition of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) F-15SG took seven years of careful evaluation, going through many rounds of deliberation. Prudence is essential to ensure that the SAF optimises its limited resources to enhance deterrence through its meticulous approach. This approach has allowed steady innovation, with a keen eye on the strategic environment and operational requirements. Buying from established suppliers and integrating them as solutions ensures that Singapore does not have to reinvent the wheel and is able to source equipment globally, that best suits the SAF’s concept of operations.
    Again, I see no simple correlation on total self-sufficiency and effective combat capability.

    6. Is this your poor attempt at making your point? Singapore before separation from Malaya (with the 1st and 2nd Singapore Infantry Regiments who were fighting outside of Singapore) during the Konfrontasi, suffered from 37 bombs that went off in Singapore. A significant number of people being subject to these Indonesian bomb attacks were either new immigrants or foreigners at that time — there was fear and anger but no mass exodus from Singapore. IMO, there will be concern over attacks (and some foreigners will go home, as expected) but there are also bomb shelters in numerous locations, and a proper civil defence warning system that is tested and can be heard in every housing estate. A further example is Saudi Arabia, who is under missile and drone attacks (over 250 attacks) recently, and there is no exodus of their foreign contractors. It is not so easy to attack Singapore, as the country is protected by a anti-missile shield that includes Aster missiles. As usual making your claims without context, supporting logic or reasoning.


    7. But you are the one continuing to make silly ahistorical arguments. Again you give an example that disprove your point. For example, due to terrain and it’s tactics, Vietnam successfully fought France and the US to unify the North and South. Between 13 March and 7 May 1954, General Võ Nguyên Giáp inflicted a serious defeat for the French at Dien Bien Phu and this was a decisive battle of the 1st Indochina war. While the Americans (and their numerous allies who fought there) may have won many battles during the 2nd Indochina war in South Vietnam, they also lost the war. Don’t underestimate Vietnamese military capability — as they share a land border with China.

    8. What is the basis for your opinion on armies in ASEAN? For that matter, have you trained with troops in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand? There are regular bilateral and multilateral military training exercises in each ASEAN country and under ADMM Plus, which gives external observers and analysts some confidence in military cooperation and capability, for a range of contingencies, to address security concerns in the region. Below is a video of Indonesian (521 motorised infantry battalion) and Singaporean (5 SIR) motorised infantry battalions training together. In every post, you are confident but confidently wrong, especially about ASEAN military capabilities — as seen from the video — motorisation with armour protection, supported by Leopard 2s and self propelled artillery is a huge doctrinal advance in the combined arms capabilities for both the TNI and SAF.



    9. Most Europeans are not planning to fight Iran. Even if the Australians and others join the American led coalition (aka a coalition of the unwilling comprising of the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Kingdom and Australia), it is an effort to protect vessels in the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the narrow Strait of Hormuz. These six countries are joining to send naval task groups to police waters near the Persian Gulf to address Iran’s export of terror and limit its range of actions. There is no plan to invade Iran because:

    (i) it is not an existential threat or a strategic competitor to the US; and

    (ii) the lessons learnt from the 2003 invasion of Iraq makes America more circumscribe in its use of power. While US retain capability to invade Iran, they lack the desire to spend significant sums of money or waste lives on another messy occupation, with no end in sight.

    I suspect you cannot even say that Iran’s existing capabilities serve as deterrence (to the entire list of countries, as a coalition, as mentioned by you). In particular, Arab countries will not want to be a coalition with Israel (but are willing to look the other way on their air strikes in Syria). It looks like you do not even understand Iran’s actual circumstance or regional security dynamics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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