President Tony Tan Keng Yam hosted about 550 personnel from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to a reception at the Istana this evening. Held since 1992, the annual reception serves to recognise the commitment of MINDEF and SAF personnel, and their valuable contributions towards the defence of Singapore.

During the reception, President Tan interacted with Full-time National Servicemen, Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen), Regulars and Defence Executive Officers. They shared their perspectives on National Service (NS) and the need for a strong defence, based on their various experiences and roles in MINDEF/SAF. These ranged from participation in bilateral and overseas exercises to balancing NS duties with personal commitments. SAF NSman of the Year award winner Major (NS) Tng Dong Sen Thomson, Commanding Officer of 288th Battalion Singapore Artillery, said, "Singapore's security can never be taken for granted and we need support from our families and colleagues for us to focus on our duties. With the close bond with my fellow servicemen, the hard work from my command team and the guidance from our senior commanders, we managed to rise above challenges and put in our best to serve the nation. It is thus a great honour today, to be recognised for the time and effort that we have put in to ensure our country's peace and security."

Guests present at the reception included Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Permanent Secretary (Defence) Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Perry Lim, Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) Mr Neo Kian Hong, as well as senior MINDEF and SAF officers. Members of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs (GPC-DFA) and the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) also attended the reception.