Singapore helps fight the common threat posed by transnational security challenges and participates in overseas operations which provide assistance to other nations and enhances Singapore’s own security. Singapore has participated in United Nations’ (UN) peacekeeping, peace support, and other humanitarian missions and provided humanitarian assistance to countries in need.5
As a maritime nation, Singapore has an interest in preserving freedom of navigation and the safety of international shipping and in combating threats at sea such as piracy and maritime terrorism. Singapore is well positioned to respond and act to promote, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, in addition to collaborating with countries such as the U.S. to strengthen their ability to manage and respond to crises. Singapore is a key player in disaster management and humanitarian assistance (DMHA) efforts in the region.6
For Singapore, the lead ministry to manage requests for support in humanitarian assistance from affected states is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Requests can be made to the international community, or bilaterally through Singapore’s embassies or missions in the Affected States. At the operational level, such requests can also be made directly to the National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) or the established National Focal Point (NFP) of Singapore, which is the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). The Singapore Civil Defence Force has provided assistance to some of its ASEAN neighbors in rescue and firefighting.7 Singapore also has Search and Rescue (SAR) capability, which has provided assistance during international and domestic missions.
Singapore has sought to build a strong network of bilateral and multilateral relationships within their region and around the world. Exercise-Coordinated Response (Ex COORES) (January 2017) is a good example of growing cooperation between the U.S. and its allies and partners in Southeast Asia on humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR). Ex COORES was done with the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF’s) Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (RHCC) along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the U.S. Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM).8 The SAF also engages and works with other militaries. Singapore and the U.S. have a strong military-to-military cooperation, including joint exercises, personnel exchanges, and cross-attendance of courses. These exercises build up interoperability between the militaries and facilitate joint operations.9
The SAF has participated in a number HADR missions at both regional and international levels. These include deploying personnel and/or assets to assist with the Indonesia forest fires in October 2015, Nepal’s earthquake in April 2015, Thailand’s forest fires in March 2015, and Malaysia’s floods in December 2014.10 Singapore has participated in regional exercises including Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), Exercise Cobra Gold, Exercise Deep Sabre, and ADMM-Plus field training exercises (FTXs). These activities strengthen international partnerships when responding to natural and man-made disasters.