New Digital and Intelligence Service, higher base pay for ICT: Five changes coming to National Service

The Ministry of Defence announced the launch of the Digital and Intelligence Service and several enhancements to the National Service system.

Caleb Lau

Grew up a musician, found a calling in photography and writing. Still in love with all of them.

Published: 3 March 2022, 4:25 PM

At the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 2), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen outlined several plans, including a new digital arm under Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and enhancements to the National Service System.

Here are the five things that the Ministry of Defence will be focusing on this year.

1. Launch of new Digital and Intelligence Service

By the end of 2022, the SAF will establish a new Digital and Intelligence Service to address emerging threats in the digital domain.

“The digital terrain has become as real as the land, air and sea domains for which we have raised the Army, the Air Force and the Navy,” Dr Ng said.

Over the past decade, in preparation for hybrid warfare, the ministry and the SAF have been building up its capacities in C4I (command, control, communications and computers and intelligence) and the digital realm.

Dr Ng also said the new service will need people specialised in fields like data science and geography, to better understand and deal with the enlarged spectrum of threats to come in the future.

2. Functional assessments for pre-enlistees

The ministry will also start using functional assessments as part of its medical screenings for pre-enlistees.

“Functional assessments replicate the physical demands required for daily operations, enabling the SAF to better match servicemen’s functional abilities to the role’s actual demands,” it said.

These assessments were first introduced last year in a selection trial last year for transport operators by replicating the physical demands of daily operations.

On top of that, the ministry has redesigned 1,000 existing roles, with another 800 by 2023, so that more full-time national servicemen can contribute in areas they were previously ineligible for.

3. NSmen receive higher monthly base pay for ICT

Dr Ng also announced that operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) will receive a $1,600 monthly base pay for in-camp training, regardless of employment status.


The initiatives were developed by the NS Review Committee, established in 2020 to improve the NS experience. PHOTO CREDIT: SAF


“This will be especially useful for those in informal employment and training,” he said.

Before the change, the monthly base pay was pegged to the NSmen’s rank, with the service pay equivalent to a full-time national servicemen’s allowance.

The new base pay will be pro-rated based on the length of the ICT and if the NSmen hold a civilian job with salaries higher than $1,600. 

4. Make-up pay claims to be automated

Fewer NSmen will need to submit claims for lost income during reservist activities, due to the automation of the make-up pay claim system.

The total make-up pay will be automatically computed using income and employment data from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and CPF Board.

“NSmen and employers will be provided the opportunity to review the computed amounts. If no objections are raised, the amount will be paid out to them automatically,” Dr Ng said.

With this change to the administration, all NSmen or their employers will then be paid within 10 working days after the start of ICT.


5. Enhanced NS HOME Awards scheme

From Apr 1, full-time national servicemen will receive $1,000 of cash credits after their operationally ready date.

After the initial milestone, they will get $500 after completing three high-key ICTs, and another $500 after completing the operationally ready national service training cycle.


The National Service HOusing, Medical and Education (NS HOME) Awards was introduced to recognise the efforts of NSmen through incentive awards for their housing, healthcare and education needs. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/@MINDEFSG


In a factsheet on Mar 3, the ministry said the payment is intended to better recognise the national servicemen’s contributions to national defence.

The amounts will be disbursed in credits accessible via the LifeSG mobile application, and valid for use at any physical store or e-commerce platform.

Further details on these initiatives will be made during Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How’s speech in Parliament on Mar 3.

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