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Special Operations Task Force
Active June 30, 2009[1] - Present
Country  Singapore
Branch Singapore Armed Forces
Type Special forces
Role Domestic and International Counter-Terrorism
Size Unknown
Nickname(s) SOTF (English)
OKPK (Malay)
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Simon Lim(Commander)[2]
Colonel Tan Tai Tiong (Deputy Commander)[3]
Notable
commanders
Colonel Lam Shiu Tong (Commander)[2]

The Special Operations Task Force (Abbreviation: SOTF; Chinese: 特别行动队; Malay: Operasi Khas Pasukan Khas) is a Special operations Force created by the Singapore Army to better combat terrorists threats that would harm Singaporean interests at home and overseas.[4][5] Plans to create the unit has been officially announced to the press on June 30, 2009.

According to Colonel Benedict Lim, then Assistant Chief of General Staff (Operations), the SOTF is responsible at the national level for conducting counter-terrorist operations.[6]

History[edit | edit source]

It was announced to the media that the Singaporean government has planned to create the Special Operations Task Force to counter all terrorist threats from land, sea and air.[4] According to Deputy Prime Minister and Singaporean Minister of Defence Teo Chee Hean, he states that the unit's establishment was needed because Singapore is not "dealing only with people with guns. They may be dealing with people who have very powerful explosives and various kinds of other substances, chemical, radiological and so on, so you need to develop capabilities to deal with these things. You have to deal with them at sea, at shore, buildings, aeroplanes, ships, coastlines and so on, so you do need to bring together these capabilities, develop them in a much more complete, coherent and integrated way."[5] In addition, Colonel Lam commented on the 2008 Mumbai attacks "where terrorists are getting smarter as well. They are getting more organised - they learnt from what the special and security forces are doing."[2]

The SOTF is a command rather than an actual unit, combining the Commando's Special Operations Force and the Navy's Naval Diving Unit - both already well-established special force units, as an integrated force and operational command. Furthermore, the task force would be able to tackle and adapt to various threats according to the various specialties of Singapore's special forces units.[5][7] The SOTF had recently participated in the Exercise Northstar VII drills, neutralizing several "terrorists" after they have infiltrated Sentosa.[6][8][9]

On March 11, 2011, Colonel Chiang Hock Woon was appointed to serve as Commander of SOTF, replacing then-Colonel, Brigadier-General Lam Shiu Tong, who will be appointed Commander of 2PDF.

Formation[edit | edit source]

The following units are to be placed under SOTF command:

Headquarters[edit | edit source]

The SOTF formation includes personnel from the Air Force and Navy, who are in charge of mobilizing resources for SOTF missions based on their Service-specific knowledge.[3]

Colonel Tan Tai Tiong said in a statement that SOTF operators "are not losing our individual identities as Divers and Commandos, but gaining a valuable partner in each other's skill sets."[3]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Official announcement to create the unit was first reported on this date.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 CPL Samuel Cheam (2011-03-11). "SCommando Formation and SOTF Welcome New Commander". Singapore Army. http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/army_news/News_Archive/2011/Mar2011/Cdo_COC.html. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "SAF special forces to operate under one command". Singaporean Ministry of Defence. 2009-07-13. http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/publications/cyberpioneer/news/2009/July/13jul09_news.html. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 S. Ramesh (2009-06-30). "SAF to develop integrated task force against terrorist threats". Channel NewsAsia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/439458/1/.html. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Special Operations Task Force Web TV Interview". $3. 2009-06-30. http://www.razor.tv/site/servlet/segment/main/news/32538.html;jsessionid=C86FE8C39B45BE59A1ED4F63F8B5D3BF.00. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 S Ramesh (2009-07-15). "Exercise Northstar tests Singapore's response to terrorist attack". Channel NewsAsia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/cna/cgi-bin/search/search_7days.pl?status=&search=exercise%2520northstar&id=442497. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Jermyn Chow (2009-07-01). "Special forces to work under one command". The Straits Times. http://www.asiaone.com/News/the%2BStraits%2BTimes/Story/A1Story20090701-151921.html. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  8. "When Terror Strikes pamphlet". http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIMEDIA/pdf/20090715/artnorthstar2.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  9. "SAF special operations group participates in Exercise Northstar VII". Singaporean Ministry of Defence. 2009-07-15. http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/publications/cyberpioneer/news/2009/July/15jul09_news.html. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Xinhua News Agency (2009-07-01). "Singapore to develop integrated task force against terrorist threats". Global Times. http://www.globaltimes.cn/www/english/military/2009-07/441618.html. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 

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