Singapore has announced the launch of a cyber security military branch by the last quarter of this year.
The move is fueled by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has reportedly included cyberattacks.
In late February, an international hacking collective declared a “cyberwar” on Russia for its attack on Ukraine. Websites for the Kremlin and State Duma lower house of parliament were targeted.
Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen told parliament on Wednesday of the need to build the country’s own defenses against external threats.
“As good and as ambitious as the next generation SAF (Singapore Armed Force) is, there are some gaps and capabilities, which recent events and developments warned us against,” he explained, as quoted by Bloomberg. “And I’m talking primarily about threats in the digital domain.”
The Digital and Intelligence Service
The new cyber military force that Singapore is establishing will help the southeast Asian nation “deal effectively” with cyber threats from external aggressors that it expects will grow in number.
Ng said that the new service could require a few brigades or a division-sized force to fulfill its mission.
The Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) is also expected to provide accurate, relevant, and timely early warning and operational intelligence for the Singapore military to operate as a networked force.
“It will also be responsible for digital defence of the SAF through cyber defence and electronic protection of our networks and systems, and psychological defence to strengthen our servicemen’s commitment and resilience in operations,” the Ministry of Defence said.
Singapore has been subject to increasing cyberattacks in recent years. In 2021, the country saw a spike in ransomware and botnet attacks, from 4,977 in 2018 to 9,080.