Mindef launches NSF scheme, specialist award for cyber defence

Posted by SGCS Admin, 13-02-2018

SINGAPORE – Singaporeans and permanent residents who are enlisting for National Service (NS) in the second half of this year can now apply for the new Cyber NSF Scheme, which allows full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) to be deployed in cyber roles in critical areas for the Republic’s defence.

The scheme, which will be launched via a pilot trial, will train NSFs as cyber operators, where they are tasked to conduct threat monitoring and assessment.

Selected cyber NSFs with higher aptitude and skills will also be offered the Cyber Specialist Award, a short-term contract of three or four years, which will run concurrently with their full-time NS, to take professional courses while they are employed in their operational roles.

Announcing the scheme and award on the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Defence’s (Mindef) Defence Cyber Organisation (DCO) and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) on Monday (Feb 12), Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung said the new scheme will tap on cyber talents from the pool of NSFs.

“This is really in recognition that we need all these talent to build up our cyber defence force and vocation,” he said, adding that Mindef can tap on the increase of young people who are experienced with cyber defence. The new cyber vocation was first announced during Mindef’s Committee of Supply debate in March last year. Mr Ong added: “Why we did that was in recognition that today, (we have) hybrid warfare, unconventional threats has become the norm. Every country is preoccupied with this. As a result, we need to build up the capability through the cyber vocation.”

Cyber NSFs will be deployed in a range of operational roles across four areas: cyber monitoring, threat assessment and response, vulnerability audit (which identifies security flaws in a system) and penetration testing (to evaluate the security of a system), and lastly, malware analysis and cyber forensics.

A pilot trial of the scheme will be launched for those enlisting in the second half of the year. Those who are keen can apply to the scheme online via Mindef’s website www.mindef.gov.sg/CyberNSF, and will be put through a two-stage selection test that will test their skills and aptitude in areas such as cryptography, security architecture, among other things.

The Cyber Specialist Award will see selected Cyber NSFs sent for academic upgrading and further training at SIT – while employed in their operational role – under the first work-learn programme between Mindef and an education institution that Mr Ong had officiated earlier in the day.

They will be able to receive SIT academic credits in areas such as network security and digital forensics. Their credits can be transferred should they enter the cybersecurity undergraduate programme at SIT after their contract. This means that they would still graduate together with peers who completed their two-year NS stint and went on to take the same four-year degree at SIT.

The cyber specialists can opt for the three- or four-year contract. They would receive a regular’s pay and as they progress in their training and operational roles, they could be promoted up to First Sergeant.

Mindef will take in about 60 cyber operators, and another 50 to 60 cyber specialists for the pilot batch. The number of cyber specialists will increase to about 80 to 90 cyber specialists for subsequent batches.

NSFs who are currently already in cyber vocations will have to pass the selection tests and assessed on a case-by-case basis to be offered the Cyber Specialist Award.

Source: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/mindef-launches-nsf-scheme-specialist-award-cyber-defence