WASHINGTON: United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met at the Ministry of Defence during Secretary Austin’s introductory visit to Singapore, on Tuesday.
Secretary Austin and Dr Ng reaffirmed both countries’ long-standing and multi-faceted bilateral defense relationship, which was most recently underscored by the signing of the 2019 Protocol of Amendment renewing the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore and the signing of the MOU concerning the establishment of a Republic of Singapore Air Force Fighter Training Detachment in Guam. Secretary Austin thanked Singapore for the logistical support that it provides to U.S. military aircraft and vessels, as well as for facilitating the regular rotational deployment of U.S. Littoral Combat Ships and P-8 Poseidon aircraft. This support is anchored on the shared belief that the United States’ presence in the region is vital for its peace, prosperity, and stability. Secretary Austin and Dr Ng committed to continue discussions on U.S. force posture initiatives.
Secretary Austin and Dr Ng emphasized the strong U.S.-Singapore bilateral training relationship. This was demonstrated by both countries’ Armed Forces training together at recent bilateral exercises such as the 3rdExercise Pacific Griffin and the 40th Exercise Tiger Balm, multilateral exercises such as Exercise Rim of the Pacific and Exercise Red Flag – Nellis, and multiple professional and policy exchanges and interactions. They look forward to the continued resumption of physical interactions between the two defense establishments.
Secretary Austin emphasized that the Department of Defense values Singapore’s training presence inside the United States. Dr Ng and Secretary Austin noted that they look forward to new high-end bilateral training opportunities, including future cooperation as the United States hosts Singapore’s future F-35B fighter aircraft detachment. Dr Ng thanked Secretary Austin for the United States’ strong support in facilitating Singapore’s overseas training and exercises, which helps overcome its space constraints.
Secretary Austin and Dr Ng commended new and growing areas of cooperation in the bilateral partnership. These include Singapore’s establishment of the multilateral Counter-Terrorism Information Facility, for which the United States is a partner nation. Singapore was also pleased to join the multi-national Artificial Intelligence Partnership for Defense in May 2021, which aims to enable multilateral cooperation and exchange of best practices on responsible AI in the defense sector. Secretary Austin and Dr Ng expressed hope for further cooperation, including in areas such as cyber defense, strategic communications and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
Secretary Austin and Dr Ng discussed the regional security environment and agreed on the importance of sustaining a rules-based order. They also agreed to continue finding ways to expand the role of the U.S.-Singapore partnership in maintaining regional stability, such as through increased exchanges and training opportunities for the region’s young defense leaders.