Ministry of Defence Singapore
Feature | Organisation

A Different Line
of Defence

Ministry of Defence Singapore
Defence Executive Officers (DXOs) may not adorn uniforms, but they embody MINDEF’s commitment to safeguard our nation’s peace and security. Two Singapore Polytechnic graduates give us a rundown of their unique and dynamic roles as DXOs.

Working together with their military counterparts, DXOs draw upon diverse specialisations and disciplines to help shape the future of Singapore’s defence. Meet Lee Weng Chuen Calvin, Webmaster in the Defence Media Centre and Edmund Saw Jia Hao, Senior Executive Assistant (Talent Management) of the MINDEF Human Resource (HR) Department.

What are your key roles and responsibilities?

Lee Weng Chuen Calvin: Some of my duties include ensuring that the content written by our journalists and Media Relation Officers are published on MINDEF’s web and social media platforms in a timely manner. In addition, I liaise with our corporate IT management executives to facilitate the management of IT assets and business continuity within the department.

Edmund Saw Jia Hao: I assist in coordinating and implementing the full suite of initiatives for MINDEF’s talent development programme. This includes facilitating the career management and deployment of high-performing DXOs within the Ministry, organising engagement sessions for them to interact and network with peers and the senior management, and proposing ideas to improve talent development and engagement.

Edmund Saw Jia Hao

Edmund Saw Jia Hao
Senior Executive Assistant (Talent Management), Performance, Talent & Systems Branch, MINDEF Human Resource Department

“MINDEF is an excellent stepping stone for polytechnic students who intend to gain positive work experience and pursue further education on a part-time basis.”

Name some memorable experiences in your career so far.

Calvin: I was just several months into the job when the hacker entity known as Anonymous threatened to target our Government websites. I was really impressed with how efficiently all of our MINDEF stakeholders were assembled and the capabilities put in place to ensure business continuity. Being able to witness this action behind the scenes definitely boosted my confidence and respect for the professionals involved.

Edmund: I consider my recent promotion as a memorable episode! Given that I have only been with the organisation for a short period of time, the promotion came as a pleasant surprise. Through this, it is evident that MINDEF fosters a performance-driven culture. If you work hard and perform well, you can expect to be rewarded.

Additionally, in the process of implementing the talent programme, I have had opportunities to visit various facilities of the Singapore Armed Forces, participate in a live firing at the state-of-the-art Multi-Mission Range Complex, and view fighter jets, Chinooks and frigates. More importantly, I learnt to appreciate the work that various departments in MINDEF do, and how they support one another to contribute to the mission of MINDEF as well as the Public Service.

Tell us more about the culture nurtured at MINDEF.

Calvin: The organisation provides ample opportunities for the continuous upgrading of its staff. Each DXO is granted a training fund, which they can use to pay for courses and learning materials. This fund has allowed me to pursue a part-time Bachelor’s degree in Information and Communication Technology with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM University).

Apart from being supportive of employees’ personal development, MINDEF also has a very family-oriented culture. Additionally, it offers flexible work arrangements to allow work-life integration for DXOs.

Edmund: There is great emphasis on career empowerment and development. As such, MINDEF is an excellent stepping stone for polytechnic students who intend to gain positive work experience and pursue further education on a part-time basis. As a part-time student myself, I can assure you that by gaining work experience in MINDEF, you will be able to better relate to the course of your study and have the opportunity to apply your education to your work. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor in Human Resource Management at SIM University, and like Calvin, I am using the training fund to defray the cost of my studies.

In addition, the MINDEF HR department also plans for DXOs to attend milestone, developmental and functional courses. For instance, when I was nominated as the Assistant Management Representative for ISO matters in my department, I was sent for an Internal Auditor course to prepare for the role.

Lee Weng Chuen Calvin

Lee Weng Chuen Calvin
Webmaster, Defence Media Centre, Public Communications Directorate

“Each DXO is granted a training fund, which they can use to pay for courses and learning materials.”

What advice would you have for polytechnic graduates who wish to become DXOs?

Calvin: I think given the young age of fresh polytechnic graduates, it is still a journey of self-discovery and personal development for them. You may be glad to know that as DXOs, we are able to plan our own career path in MINDEF through self-initiated job rotations. MINDEF offers opportunities in many different job families, and this may be an opportunity to find out which niche area you wish to specialise in.

Additionally, for most males, you should be enlisting to serve your National Service very soon. If you are interested, you should spend the time to speak to the regulars as well – be it DXOs or military personnel (if you may be interested in the uniformed schemes). They would be able to give you first-hand information on what it is like to work in MINDEF.

Edmund: You will have the chance to work alongside some of the most inspiring people in the organisation and be constantly challenged to innovate your work processes. My advice is to join MINDEF with an open mind and always be interested to learn new things.

There are also diverse career paths to choose from in MINDEF. As a DXO, you can choose to rotate your portfolio every few years and venture into a new area of interest. Through different job experiences, you will be able to ascertain your interest, and work towards realising your goals.