Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to guard against false flag operations during POT

In the thriller, Sum of All Fears, a period of tension (POT) between military units from NATO and Russia is exploited by non-state actors who stage false flag operations in a bid to start World War III.

Life imitated art in the Ukraine early in 2015. In disputed regions of the vast steppe, unidentified third parties are said to have attempted to fracture the fragile truce by exploiting the lack of trust between two armed forces during a POT. In some cases, they succeeded and Russian and Ukrainian forces ended up trading fire.

If and when the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is spring-loaded for action during a POT, we must be aware of the peril from third parties who may aim to move us from a readiness state of 5 to 1.

The precursors for action are not hard to fathom.

With the right uniforms and war machines but wrong allegiances, it is entirely conceivable that false flag operations could implicate military units on either side of the border for initiating a casus belli.

This is why allegations of civil servants and even armed forces personnel from nearby countries being part of a non-state actor have raised eyebrows here. Defence observers who think through the downstream implications of official authority abused would realise the potentially catastrophic results to both sides.

So we know the peril. What then are possible solutions?

As in the Sum of All Fears, it is the ability to sense-make dangerous situations that wins the day.

Massive firepower, however inspiring the light and sound show appears to the camera, counts for nought until and unless the destructive potential of war machines can be applied in the right place, right time and on worthy targets.

It is therefore vital for the SAF to build its battlespace awareness to a level of prescience above and beyond what the threat(s) may use against us.

In theory at least, forewarned is forearmed.

From Changi Point to Tuas, the 42km distance across this island can be easily traversed by an extended range full-bore base bleed round fired by a heavy artillery piece. Rocket artillery some 100km away and shipborne cruise missiles from even further can reach out and touch us within minutes. This is how small and vulnerable we are.

Should the worst happen and we find our tiny island in the beaten zone of incoming ordnance, then one must have the confidence that active defences will provide the proverbial iron dome above our heads.

Passive defences count too. Such specialised infrastructure - hardened above ground or dug deep underground - will provide some measure of resilience as we soak up the initial onslaught.

And then strike back? Perhaps. But maybe not if our appreciation of the situation points to a nefarious and deliberate bid to force the SAF into action.

Being prepared to act involves more than being mission-ready.

In some scenarios, it will demand that we know when to stand down and when to keep our powder dry.

No comments: