Sunday, December 18, 2011

Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) should pay closer attention to info ops

Singaporean warplanes made a positive and decisive impact during the Forging Sabre live-fire exercise - striking assigned targets within minutes - but the same cannot be said of its info ops apparatus that manages its webpage.

Two months after the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) renamed some of its units, the RSAF webpage has yet to be updated to reflect the new nomenclature.

Accurate, relevant and timely information-sharing with netizens is evidently not a priority for the RSAF.

If the scenarios played out during Exercise Forging Sabre were to take place for real, the Third Generation RSAF will find itself scrambling to catch up with an enemy better prepared, better staffed and fully committed to winning the battle for hearts and minds.

As the Israelis learned during various operations across their borders, those at the receiving end of air strikes will let fly with a barrage of accusations that non combatants were killed, religious places desecrated and disproportionate military force was used.

The international media loves this sort of stuff because it makes wonderful newspaper copy and is a Made for TV moment.

It would be totally idiotic for us in Singapore to learn this the hard way when there are ample examples that make a clarion call for info ops to complement military ops.

It is therefore baffling and disappointing to see a half-hearted attempt at cobbling together facts and figures to inform and educate netizens about what is arguably the most powerful air force in South East Asia.

Many defence buffs who have visited the RSAF website end up disappointed. And so they take their eyeballs elsewhere.

The failure to build up and grow its market share is regrettable.

Young Singaporeans keen on building a career with the RSAF would probably make the website their first stop before making a decision of a lifetime. Having dated information on the website sours the organisation's corporate identity. It sends a negative first impression to these youngsters when the Air Force could have made a lasting impression from the first click.

Being first with the news is vitally important too during situations like this.

Above all, defence analysts from friendly and potentially hostile locations must be persuaded that the website is well worth visiting.

To those who know, there are individuals in AOD who have gone the extra mile to make sure commentators understand what the RSAF is all about. In many respects, I believe their effort has not been in vain. This is why I find the disjoint between the work of these info ops professionals and the half-baked website somewhat intriguing.

Maybe the website is outsourced to the lowest bidder? Or the job of updating the site assigned to people at the bottom of the pecking order (i.e. overworked NSFs)? Could budgets be so strapped that the trickle of funds from the billions spent on defence can't even raise and sustain a website with eye-popping pictures and engaging stories?

One would hope they get their house in order and do so quickly. If the RSAF is not careful, it could end up in a situation like this.

At the current state of play, one can trawl up much richer and more useful information on the RSAF from fan sites and, indeed, Wikipedia, than the paltry data presented almost as a token on the RSAF's home page.

Why must this be so?


AhLimSK said...

Not sure if the website is managed by the IO pple....recruitment side? or like what u mentioned maybe by 1 or 2 NSFs?

Anonymous said...

They should pay you a small fraction of the defence budget for you to do up their website :)

Anonymous said...

They shd just put a dedicated person or team to manage the website....NOT NSFs.