Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean delivered the opening address at Island Forum 2006 this evening. The theme of the forum this year is "Transforming the Defence Ecosystem". Over the next two days, senior officials from MINDEF and the SAF will interact and exchange ideas with 15 leading thinkers, top business practitioners and defence experts from Australia, France, India, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. The event is organised by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), and is held from 2 - 4 May 2006 at the Executive Conference Centre, Raffles City Convention Centre.
Patterned after the Highlands Forum organised for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Island Forum is a high-level forum at which senior officials from MINDEF and the SAF engage a diverse group of international experts and thinkers on topics relevant to Singapore's defence. The wide spread of international perspectives at the Island Forum offers useful insights and ideas to draw on for the development of Singapore's defence and military capability.
MINDEF had organised two previous Island Forums, in 2002 and 2004. These addressed the topics of Transformation and Information Operations respectively, which are subjects of particular interest at this stage of the SAF's development in an increasingly complex operating environment.
The Singapore defence establishment has been using the term "Defence Ecosystem" for the past few years to refer to the various entities which work together synergistically to contribute to the defence of Singapore. Besides MINDEF and the SAF, the other entities in the ecosystem include the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), research agencies such as the Defence Science Organisation National Laboratories (DSO), Temasek Labs of the National University of Singapore and Temasek Labs of the Nanyang Technological University, the defence industry such as Singapore Technologies Engineering (STE), and other security-related agencies.
Island Forum 2006, with its theme "Transforming the Defence Ecosystem", will provide more ideas for how MINDEF and the SAF can continue to leverage on the strengths of the ecosystem, address emerging issues, and adapt in the increasingly uncertain operating environment to sustain the transformation of the 3G SAF. Key issues that will be discussed at the forum include the role of commercial and defence R&D, the impact of global developments on the defence industry, and the importance of human and social capital in sustaining an innovative, creative and advanced defence ecosystem.
The prominent figures at Island Forum 2006 include S Gopalakrishnan (Chief Operating Officer of Infosys), Ray Ozzie (Chief Technical Officer, Microsoft), and James Rasulo (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts).