Lieutenant-General (LG) Perry Lim Cheng Yeow (left), Major-General (MG) Melvyn Ong Su Kiat (middle), Brigadier-General (BG) Goh Si Hou (right).

Change in Chief of Defence Force and Chief of Army

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has announced on Monday (12 March) that Major-General (MG) Melvyn Ong Su Kiat, Chief of Army (COA), will take over from Lieutenant-General (LG) Perry Lim Cheng Yeow as Chief of Defence Force (CDF) on 23 March 2018.

Brigadier-General (BG) Goh Si Hou, Commander 6th Singapore Division, will assume the appointment of COA on 21 March 2018. These changes are part of the continuing process of leadership renewal in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

MINDEF stated that outgoing CDF LG Perry Lim, 46, served the SAF with distinction since his enlistment in 1990. In his career, he held amongst others, the appointments of Commander 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade, Head Joint Plans and Transformation Department, Commander 3rd Singapore Division, and Chief of Staff-General Staff.

LG Lim assumed his appointment of CDF on 18 Aug 2015.

During his term, the SAF deployed forces to Kuwait and Iraq to contribute to multinational efforts against the threat of terrorism. LG Lim also led efforts to strengthen the SAF’s counter-terrorism capabilities and inter-agency cooperation for homeland security operations.

LG Lim is also said to have contributed to strengthening defence relations and defence cooperation. Through his personal relationships with foreign principals, he enhanced professional exchanges and positioned the SAF as a valuable defence partner.

MINDEF also expresses its deep appreciation to LG Perry Lim for his sterling leadership and outstanding contributions to the development of the SAF.

The incoming CDF, MG Melvyn Ong Su Kiat, 43, joined the SAF in 1994 and was awarded the SAF Overseas Scholarship. As COA, MG Ong strengthened the Army’s operational readiness to address the threat of transnational terrorism.

The Army Deployment Force was stood up to sharpen the SAF’s ability to respond to terrorist threats in an urban environment, alongside the establishment of the Island Defence Training Institute (IDTI) to prepare our soldiers for homeland security operations.

The Army’s partnership with Home Team agencies was also reinforced through several joint counter-terrorism exercises to test and validate the operational response to terror attacks.

The ministry stated that MG Ong seeded initiatives to improve soldier performance and the NS experience. Key initiatives included the Soldier Strong campaign and establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP) to provide a scientific and data-driven approach to optimise the performance of each soldier.

MG Ong also oversaw plans to revamp the SAFTI training area into “SAFTI City”, which will provide a realistic dense urban environment to train the next-generation Army. Meaningful deployment of our national servicemen was also enhanced through the review of vocation deployment criteria and allowing pre-enlistees to indicate their vocation interests.

In addition, MG Ong bolstered the Army’s regional and international standing as a valuable defence partner through various bilateral exercises with foreign armies. Under his leadership, the Singapore Army successfully hosted the 18th ASEAN Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting (ACAMM) and the 27th ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) which reaffirmed the solidarity among ASEAN armies.

The ministry stated that multilateral meeting also saw the signing of a Joint Declaration to introduce an annual information-sharing workshop among ASEAN armies to enhance mutual learning and cooperation.

MG Ong previously served as Chief Guards Officer, where he led the establishment of the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre (Changi RHCC). He also served as Chairman of the Golden Jubilee National Day Parade 15 Executive Committee.

As Commander 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade, MG Ong commanded an SAF contingent that oversaw earthquake-relief operations alongside the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch in 2011.

The incoming Chief of Army, BG Goh Si Hou, 40, joined the SAF in 1997 and was awarded the President’s Scholarship as well as the SAF Overseas Scholarship.

As Commander 6th Singapore Division, he oversaw the development of the new Combined Arms Training Centre to strengthen the Army’s training system, and led the Division through key Army exercises and bilateral training with foreign partners.

As Assistant Chief of General Staff (Plans), he charted the long-term transformation plans for the Army, to meet emerging security threats and NS resource challenges through force restructuring and new operational concepts.

MINDEF noted that in his earlier appointments in MINDEF, BG Goh led the implementation of new military career schemes to enhance recruitment and retention for the SAF. He also headed a project office supporting the Committee to Strengthen National Service, which led to initiatives such as the formation of the SAF Volunteer Corps.

BG Goh served previously as Commanding Officer, 20th Battalion Singapore Artillery and Commander 3rd Division Artillery. In these appointments, he also led the public outreach and engagement efforts for National Day Parade 2009 and 2013.