Singapore Defence & Security Report Q1 2014 - New Report Available

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Wed Dec 04 2013

Despite signs of economic turbulence in late 2012 and early 2013, Singapore's economy has performed better than expected during the middle two quarters of 2013. Consequently Singapore's 2013 GDP growth rate forecast has been revised upwards from between 1-3%to 2.5-3.5%. The Monetary authority of Singapore expects this economic expansion to continue into 2014, enabling the Singaporean government to maintain its stable defence budget, traditionally equivalent to roughly 6% of GDP. While still perhaps the most serious security threat Singapore faces, a serious economic downturn is less of a concern than in the previous two quarters.

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This positive economic outlook coincides with the procurement, or planned procurement, of several new pieces of military hardware including the Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system and AN/TPQ-53 (V) Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar System. While no final decisions have been made regarding the long rumoured acquisition of the F-35 fighter jet, US officials report that an initial order of a dozen F-35s could be announced at the Singapore air show in February 2014. The purchase of F-35 fighters would constitute the largest military purchase in Singapore's history, underlining the close security relations the city-state enjoys with the United States (US).

Given regional geopolitical uncertainties proceeding from China's rapid rise, the US is likely to remain Singapore's principle security partner for the foreseeable future. Indeed, last April's decision to allow the US navy to station up to four Littoral Combat ships in Singapore at any given time will ensure a long-term US military presence in the state. Nonetheless, it would be inaccurate to view Singapore's defence and security policy as exclusively oriented around cooperation with the US.

Instead cooperation with the US is increasingly likely to be one of several components of a more multi-faceted strategy. Singapore's completion of its third command of the multinational counter-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden in June, demonstrates the government's willingness to play a more active role in combating multinational security threats. Furthermore, the Singapore government has invested much effort into fostering regional cooperation at both a multilateral level; through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and bilateral level; through separate agreements with ASEAN partners. In September, Singapore and Vietnam launched a 'strategic partnership' which, amongst other things, looks to deepen their defence and security ties as well as enhance ASEAN's role in the global community.

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