Making military camps more prepared for pandemics on the agenda: CEO of DSTA, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Military camp buildings are made safer to defend against future pandemics, including better ventilation and non-contact security measures, said Mervyn Tan, director general of the Defense Science and Technology Agency (DSTA).

Another area under study is the increased use of simulators and augmented reality tools to support the training of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), which could potentially be expanded for use in large-scale exercises in Singapore. , a rare region, he added.

These are among the main lessons the agency is drawing from the Covid-19 pandemic, he told reporters in an interview on Saturday (October 16), a day after the end of Singapore’s third defense technology summit. by DSTA.

He was responding to a question about the challenges DSTA has faced during the pandemic and what is being done as Singapore prepares to treat the virus as endemic.

Mr Tan, a former Air Force chief and deputy secretary for technology at the Defense Ministry, said the DSTA does more than just supply weapons and combat systems. Part of his work also focuses on buildings and other infrastructure in the SAF camps.

DSTA is urging architects to think about designing these buildings for better ventilation, and that includes naturally ventilated toilets.

“We’re also thinking about designing things without contact, so you don’t have to turn on the lights with your fingers … Today we use fingerprint sensors to access (but) touch the surface n ‘ is not very hygienic, so facial recognition is also the way to go for us, ”he said.

SAF is already committed to making its facilities more resistant to pandemics.

In November last year, a “pandemic-ready” medical center was opened at Tengah Air Base, testing technologies such as telemedicine and self-service lockers for dispensing drugs.

As for using more virtual tools for training, Tan believes it is a worthwhile investment. The physical training could potentially be stepped up, he said.

One possibility is that some troops can train physically in the training area, while others connect through the simulators, to have “live virtual interaction” during an exercise.

In terms of labor standards, like all Singaporeans, DSTA employees have also had to switch to remote work during the pandemic.

But this development must be done in concert with increased security against cyber threats, he said.

One idea being explored is to work close to home. Some classified information is not accessible from the home, but staff can travel to the nearest camps to connect to the systems there.

Another learning point of Covid-19 is building the resilience of supply chains, Tan said.

“We are of course looking to diversify the sources. We offer a kind of dashboard, in order to have a complete knowledge of the supply chain, not only of the suppliers but also of their subcontractors.”

DSTA also wants to increase the local presence of some of the original equipment manufacturers on which the agency relies.

“(This is) to make them more responsive to meet some of our needs here, especially in terms of how easy it is to maintain our systems and equipment.”

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