Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen launched NS50 today, a year-long celebration to commemorate 50 years of National Service (NS), in recognition of the contributions of the more than one million past and present national servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Addressing new enlistees and their families before the oath-taking ceremony at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC), Dr Ng highlighted that NS continues to meet a critical need for national defence. He said, "National Service for all Singaporean males was started so that we could build a strong SAF that can defend Singapore. Since 1967 when the first batch enlisted for NS, more than a million national servicemen have done their duty". He also highlighted that NS is a shared commitment across generations that requires the support of all Singaporeans. "In this NS50 year, let us all commit ourselves anew to protect our independence, our families and our way of life in our beloved Singapore. If we can maintain the same commitment to build a strong defence for another generation, then Singapore's future remains bright," Dr Ng added.

As part of today's launch, Dr Ng also opened and toured the new NS Gallery, a permanent exhibition at BMTC which showcases the evolution of NS and various aspects of the NS experience. The NS Gallery is open to enlistees and visitors to BMTC, including families on enlistment day. Also present at the event were Second Minister for Defence Mr Ong Ye Kung, Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, senior officials from the Ministry of Defence/SAF and the Ministry of Home Affairs/Home Team, members of the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD), as well as NS pioneers from the first batch of full-time national servicemen who enlisted in 1967.

The theme of NS50, "From My Generation to Yours", reflects the strength of the NS institution as a shared legacy across generations, and a shared commitment to be passed down from one generation to the next. The launch of NS50 marks the start of a series of commemorative and celebratory activities to pay tribute to our national servicemen who have contributed to the defence and security of Singapore, and to inspire Singaporeans to build an even stronger SAF and Home Team for the future.

Key NS50 engagement events include an NS50 Showcase, held in conjunction with the Army Open House, which will be travelling to various public locations from May to June 2017; an NS50 Week for ground-up commemorative initiatives in August 2017; and an NS50 Dinner Reception later in the year. An NS50 Recognition Package will also be distributed to every past and present national serviceman. This includes those who enlist in the 2017 enlistment cohort. In addition, the theme of NS50 will be woven into various events throughout the year, including the Chingay Parade, SAF Day and National Day celebrations. Online commemorative activities will also be open to the public through the NS50 portal (NS50.sg). For more information on NS50, visit NS50.sg.

Source: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (MINDEF)