Former Australian Secretary of Defence Mr Dennis James Richardson was conferred Singapore's highest military award, the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) [Distinguished Service Order (Military)], by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana this afternoon.

Mr Richardson was conferred the award for his significant contributions towards strengthening the close and long-standing defence relations between Australia and Singapore. Mr Richardson strongly supported the Singapore Armed Forces' training in Australia, and played a key role in deepening the defence pillar of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Both armed forces can now look forward to more training opportunities in Australia. Under his leadership, both armed forces also stepped up cooperation through joint peace-support missions in the Middle East as part of the Defeat-ISIS coalition. Mr Richardson also supported both countries' extensive cooperation in multilateral platforms such as the Five Power Defence Arrangements, the Shangri-La Dialogue, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus). Notably, Mr Richardson's support for our co-chairmanship of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on Counter-Terrorism culminated in the successful organisation of the 2016 ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise with Brunei and New Zealand, which remains the largest ADMM-Plus exercise conducted to this day.

Guests at the investiture included Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Permanent Secretary for Defence Mr Chan Yeng Kit, as well as senior government officials and military officers from Singapore and Australia.

Mr Richardson, who is in Singapore from 7 to 9 June 2017, also called on Dr Ng and Mr Chan at the Ministry of Defence this morning before the investiture.