A new army division literally made up of keyboard warriors will be created by the Singapore Armed Force (SAF) to shore up propaganda effort for the government. According to the Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, the 2,600 personnel will be online everyday monitoring the internet and “fight disinformation and fake news”:
“The next-generation SAF needs to prepare for this environment where state-orchestrated cyber and information campaigns against another state are not only considered legitimate, but can be ongoing all the time. The impact of that threat can have real and damaging physical consequences.”
Citing cases of cyber attacks and fake news in Ukraine, Estonia, United States presidential elections and Indonesia, Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the aggressors are now on the internet:
“The SAF must keep up with the tactics and operations of aggressors in the cyber realm … because this is a never-ending game, as we do in conventional warfare.”
The new keyboard warrior organisation will be called “Defence Cyber Organisation” (DSO) and will make up of 4 formations. From August this year, National Service conscripts will also have the option to join the keyboard warrior vocation, and soldiers will bear a ludicrous title called “cyberdefenders”.
There is no disclosure on the government budget on the keyboard warrior division, but a 2,600 headcount will cost S$50 million a year in salaries alone and an estimated setup budget for equipment and infrastructure cost of S$20 million. The spending coincides with a S$900 million training city which the government boasts has the size of Bishan town. The tax dollars spent on the Defence Ministry saw a severe shortage in budget for water resources, resulting a 30% increase in water price.