Adm (NS) Teo Chee Hean and Peter Ho were largest and earliest R&D institute.
R senior naval officers before assuming positions
in MINDEF. Both agreed that the partnership
between the Navy and DSO was of great mutual
benefit. DSO benefited by developing capabilities through
Navy projects. And the Navy benefited by having, in DSO,
It has a track record of successful research and
development, and has built a base of capabilities and
facilities over 30 years.
Over the many years, DSO has “learnt by doing.”
Through a hands-on approach to science, and the
a dedicated, in-house R&D laboratory. amalgamation of many fields of science, it has generated
The role of the Navy in boosting DSO’s growth was innovative solutions to many defence and security problems.
due to several factors. It stands now on a new horizon, with its 1,000 strong
Firstly, there was a natural affinity of Naval community of scientists, researchers, engineers and support
officers with technology and engineering. The Navy personnel, experienced, capable and moving ahead.
CHAPTER has very customised and specialised requirements. This history of DSO, according to the current Chairman
The technology they required was not for sale, and of DSO and Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Lui Pao
required in-house development. Chuen, is due to the early vision of Dr Goh Keng Swee.
By the late 1990s, it was clear to Peter Ho that DSO Its first Director, the late Dr Tay Eng Soon, established
had been transformed into a credible and internationally an ethos and atmosphere conducive to science, which is
benchmarked defence science R&D organisation. still a hallmark and signature of the organisation.
In 1998, with the opening of the redeveloped Marina Philip Yeo lent DSO his unique management style,
Hill complex, came a landmark announcement which funding and manpower resources, and sense of freedom.
opened a public window on DSO, revealing a first These three pioneers, and many others, have made
glimpse of its capabilities. DSO National Laboratories a truly great place for science.
And this new public profile paralleled the development, In the three decades, DSO has developed unique
in the 1990s, of a large scientific R&D community in capabilities in defence science – capabilities that will allow
Singapore. It became important for DSO to adopt a higher DSO to create the technology edge in the 21st century.
profile in order to attract the best and brightest researchers. It may be said that Dr Goh’s vision has been fulfilled.
In 1991, DSO took the first step towards autonomy,
adopting the status of an Executive Agency. This gave it some
autonomy, although the freedom to operate independently
came only in 1997, when DSO was corporatised as DSO
National Laboratories. Not until 2000, did DSO finally
adopt an independent personnel scheme.
In 2002, DSO National Laboratories is celebrating
three decades of R&D for defence science and technology.
It has been the pioneer of R&D in Singapore, as the
157: TAKING FLIGHT > 04: CHAPTER
“I think DSO today,
is really part of SAF’s
competitive and strategic
advantage. Because if you
think about it, more and
more of our weapon
systems today are not
off-the-shelf. I would say
that the majority of our
weapon systems are
Peter Ho was born in Singapore in 1954, and obtained his Honours
either customised or in Engineering from the University of Cambridge as an SAF
Overseas Scholar. He returned to Singapore and held command
developed from scratch. and staff appointments in the Republic of Singapore Navy, the
Joint Operations and Planning Directorate, and in MINDEF.
And DSO plays a very In 1989, he transferred to the Administrative Service and
was Deputy Secretary (Policy) in MINDEF. After serving in the
critical role in this, Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Secretary, he returned to
MINDEF in 1995 as Permanent Secretary (Defence Development)
although this role and Permanent Secretary (Defence) in 2000. Peter Ho served
as the first Chairman of DSO National Laboratories after its
is not very visible.” corporatisation in 1997.
Tell us about your first encounter with DSO.
It was when I was Head of Naval Plans. We were
planning for a new ship for the Navy. It was a project,
What? You were not told what it was?
Yes! It was on the ship but nobody was allowed
in. Now, it’s much better. But at that time, DSO and
“When I returned, in 1995, what was most striking to
famously called Springboard, because it was supposed what it did were hidden away from us. me was how much progress DSO had made in six years.
to be the “springboard” to transform the Navy from But now we know that the real start of EW in
a demoralised, down-and-out outfit into a modern and DSO was in the Navy. Because this was the first time It seemed that in the six years that I was away, DSO had
capable Navy. they were getting real resources and real facilities to
Springboard was a watershed for the Navy in support the R&D into EW. And I guess, this was taken off like a rocket!”
two ways. It was a watershed in terms of the way we where the Navy gave DSO a modest boost.
planned for the project. And also, Springboard ushered in It had a lot to do with a few people who
a whole new strategy for the Navy. And a lot of the were struggling at that time to shape the future of Was DSO at that time appreciated – or even known But perhaps, psychologically...
things you see in the Navy today were derived from the Navy. to the SAF? Yes, it gave an identity to the engineers.
those days in Springboard. The Navy thought very hard and deeply about It was not. I would say that one of the biggest But I don’t think it made a great deal of difference
where it was going. And essentially, the Navy developed problems with DSO in those days, was that it was to DSO. Although DSO was now part of DTG, it
This must be around the mid ’80s? very strong skills in terms of determining its requirements essentially a close sensitive unit. It was referred to was still separate because of the veil of secrecy that
Yes, around there. Now, this was the first time the and making very good long-term plans. with bated breath. If you had to deal with DSO, surrounded DSO.
Navy had really assessed what it needed for a fighting you were like an intruder!
ship. Before that, we just bought whatever people told Adversity is the mother... When did you lift this veil of secrecy?
us to buy. Essentially, we bought off-the-shelf. Adversity is the mother of invention! And so, They were an ivory tower.. By the late 1980s, we felt that DSO had
And this was the first time we really looked at the when you look at the Navy plans in those days, you Something like that. And it was very difficult to matured to the point where we could discuss some
environment. We looked at our operational requirements. didn’t just see plans to acquire these things for so deal with them. Because of DSO’s culture of secrecy, of its activities. So in 1989, when we opened up
And we determined what performance and weapon many hundred million dollars, but you also saw you only met certain people, and you couldn’t meet the first DSO building at Science Park, I remember
systems the ship should have. parallel supporting plans for manpower, training, anybody else. that Lee Hsien Loong, then Second Minister for
There are two important things about the ship doctrine development and R&D. And the question was, how did you know Defence, made some broad references to the
which are germane to DSO. So we allocated resources, meaning, funds and what DSO was doing? Who to meet? That was capabilities of DSO.
One, was the conclusion that this ship should be people, to support the R&D effort as well. the problem. This was followed by the opening of a
equipped with electronic warfare (EW) systems. So, I would say that was something good for second building at Marina Hill, I think it
Because the conclusion was that, if you didn’t put on DSO. Because certain areas like underwater warfare The Defence Technology Group (DTG) was formed was 1998.
these systems, the ship would not have the capability and electronic warfare – were to prove very critical. in 1986. Did that change things? There was already very clear evidence, by
to fight a modern naval battle. There was a sure base load for DSO, some years The formation of DTG shouldn’t be seen 1995, that DSO was a credible R&D organisation.
The second very critical decision was that this new down the line. in isolation. So this bit of publicity was not without basis.
class of ships should have an underwater warfare capability. What happened was in those days, a decision And there was also another reason. Because
This was the first time we went into underwater warfare Did they deliver? Was your faith redeemed? was taken to rationalise the various technology and we were at that point, in the mid ’90s, in steep
systems. We had absolutely no experience in this field. My own view is that EW is the kind of area logistics groups in MINDEF. So they created DTG, competition for good quality R&D manpower.
This is the anti-submarine kind of thing. where you cannot buy the capability. It’s a black art, which reported to the Deputy Secretary (Technology). The other research organisations were growing,
I think it was almost an act of faith that DSO was very black. And just because companies sell you the So it was already a clustering of the technology and scientists and researchers were at a premium.
able to deliver the goods! Because DSO did not have system, doesn’t mean that they sell you the whole departments into one group, and a re-ordering of I was very concerned that, if DSO was so
much experience in EW. And whatever work they system, or that you’ll be able to use it effectively. the administration and policy departments secret, so “black”, you were not going to get people
were doing in EW, was highly classified. So you really have to develop your own indigenous under another. joining DSO, at least not in the numbers and
In fact, DSO had installed one system on our capability in EW. It was just a bit of housekeeping. I wouldn’t quality needed.
Missile Gun Boats (MGBs) but we were not informed I would say DSO is doing quite alright in EW say that it was a huge and strategic organisational Unless people are aware of DSO and know what
what it was! In fact we were not allowed to enter the today. Not only EW for the Navy, but EW for all change. All it did was to formalise something that it does, and feel that it is a premier organisation for
little room where this system was located! the Services. already existed. R&D, why should they apply to DSO for a job?
160: CREATING THE TECHNOLOGY EDGE > 161: TAKING FLIGHT > 10: INTERVIEW
And how can they have the confidence to forge their manpower policies so that it could recruit the people And one of the keys is this: we are too small to try
careers with DSO?
Why did you think of corporatisation?
I had concluded that we would have to separate
both DSO and DTG from MINDEF. But I didn’t want
to do everything ourselves.
So we try to do defence technology with partners,
both locally and overseas. And in fact, a lot of the
“DSO today has
I was away from MINDEF for six years. to take it in one big step. So, I decided to split it into effort I personally put in, has been to develop these reached the point in
When I returned, in 1995, what was most striking phases. The first phase was DSO, a smaller, in fact less overseas links.
to me was how much progress DSO had made in six controversial part, moving out in 1997. DTG was to Of course, I’m only the door opener. But some which they can deliver
years. It seemed that in the six years when I was move out later, as DSTA. But that was not until 2000. of our key partners are really at the top of their fields.
away, DSO had taken off like a rocket! So DSO was corporatised in April ’97. Once we create a critical mass, establish a reputation, what they promised.”
Not just in EW, but in many areas, and as an In the end, DTG went a different route. It became it becomes relatively easy to go to others. So we spent
organisation. It now had a whole range of areas. a Statutory Board on 15 March 2000. a lot of time with the United States and with France,
I was very encouraged to see that. Thus, we were not thinking about the corporatisation trying to push this relationship. certain things secret. But, I think that the shift had
And one of my conclusions was this: DSO was of DSO in isolation. There was a plan to do it in two One of the important things I suggested to taken place. Maybe part of it was deliberate, part of it
really a major component of SAF’s strategic advantage. steps. That is, DSO first, then the rest of DTG afterwards. DSO, and I remember this was very soon after DSO just happened. But today, DSO is very open, you
That DSO was supplying SAF with a technology edge. National Laboratories was set up in 1997, was that know, remarkably open.
Now, if you share my conclusion, then you have Do you have any advice for DSO for the future? they should establish a DSO Advisory Panel. An I would say without a doubt, that today, DSO is
to decide how you are going to sustain that advantage There’s one more thing I should say about international one. world class in certain niche areas.
and how you are going to grow that advantage. DSO. This relates to how you sustain and build up So we had this DSO International Advisory Panel We saw it pick up in the early ’90s. I think
We concluded that the competition for such your capability. for two years and they were quite an interesting lot. corporatisation has helped it a lot. So we really saw
manpower was getting more severe and it would do One, you must invest in people. That’s why in There was Peter Levene who was once Director a pickup in the last few years.
us no good if we continued to have DSO operating as one of my remarks, I said the key to DSO is people, of Defence Procurement in the UK. He is now Lord
part of the Ministry of Defence, as a department of people, people. Peter Levene, Lord Mayor of the City of London Can you tell us what you hope for the future?
the Ministry. But the other thing that I thought was very important from 1998-99. Well, I think the future direction is more in terms
I came to the conclusion that the critical thing was and critical, was to get DSO to do more work with And we had Roger Hagengruber from Sandia, and of moving DSO onwards, and building up capabilities
people. DSO used a completely different type of talent reputable R&D institutions overseas. Because that is Bo Rybeck who used to be with the Swedish R&D in new areas. Because there are always new areas
from MINDEF and the SAF, and so was competing for the only way you will know how good you are. establishment. We had Henry D’Assumpcao, who was which DSO can build capabilities in.
a completely different pool of manpower. I think in the last five years, in DTG as well as Chief Defence Scientist of Australia. We had Moti Today, DSO has reached the point in which they
It was restrictive to have R&D people within DSO, we have been able to give an enormous push Heiblum from the Weizmann Institute in Israel. can deliver what they promised, and I think the SAF
the same organisation and under the same managerial towards world benchmarking. These are all top names. knows it! The trouble is, this is not the kind of thing
regime as MINDEF and the SAF which are essentially And there was a seminal speech, given by DPM So we had them for two years. First, I wanted that you can publicise too much.
devoted to operations. So, the only way is to cut the Tony Tan at the opening of Temasek Laboratories in to get with the start of a new DSO National But I think DSO today, is really part of SAF’s
Gordian knot. NUS. Because that really spelt out how we see the Laboratories, a group from outside to look at DSO. competitive and strategic advantage.
Basically we wanted to give DSO autonomy in its basic, underlying approach to defence technology. And to do a critique of DSO. I think they were quite Because if you think about it, more and more
brutal in their assessments. of our weapon systems today are not off-the-shelf.
And secondly, I wanted to get DSO used to I would say that the majority of our weapon
dealing with people at this level, psychologically. systems are either customised or developed
This is very important. from scratch.
And one of my conclusions was this: So, you must get used to the idea that networking And DSO plays a very critical role in this,
DSO was really a major component of SAF’s is a worthwhile activity. Collaborations don’t fall into although this role is not very visible. A lot of
your lap, you can’t sit and wait, hoping that these the enabling technologies and initial feasibility
strategic advantage. That DSO was really collaborations will come. You must actively go out studies are done by DSO. Some of the things
supplying SAF with a technology edge.” and create the network! we do will be a revelation even to the more
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you cannot keep sophisticated countries!
162: CREATING THE TECHNOLOGY EDGE > 163: TAKING FLIGHT > 10: INTERVIEW
“It is the nature of scientific
R&D. If you try to manage
it like a typical bureaucratic
system, your people will
be stifled. They never grow LUI PAO CHUEN
above ground. If you keep
digging and digging, they Professor Lui Pao Chuen was appointed Chief Defence Scientist,
give up. The earth is too Ministry of Defence in 1986. He graduated from the University
of Singapore with a degree in Physics, and began his career as a
hard. Something is wrong Scientific Officer in the Radio & Space Research Station. In 1966,
he joined MINDEF as a Logistics officer, and in 1970, established
with this earth. So you the Science & Management Group. After a Master’s Degree in
Operations Research from the United States Naval Postgraduate
have to be patient. And School, he was appointed Special Projects Director, Director JOPD
and Senior Director of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO).
give people permission He holds an Adjunct Professorship in Industrial and Systems
Engineering in the National University of Singapore, and has
to be free.” been Chairman of DSO National Laboratories since 1998.
You have referred to DSO as, “The silversmith,
making silver bullets”?
This term, “silver bullet” is perhaps too common.
to use technology to overcome our lack of human
numbers. And Singapore is a small area, physically.
So again, we need to use technology to overcome
“Our numbers will never be large, so we need to use
Because it doesn’t convey the importance of DSO’s our lack of land mass. technology to overcome our lack of human numbers.
work. I prefer, “black diamonds.” Because what DSO So, we saw that technology would make a great
produces is very rare, very precious. difference. It would be a force multiplier, it can create We need to use technology to overcome our lack of land
a technology edge.
Black diamonds? mass. So, we saw that technology would make a great
Yes. They create black diamonds of priceless value. How long did it take you, Dr Goh, and the others to
Priceless, because you can’t buy them. No amount of reach these conclusions? difference. It would be a force multiplier, it can create a
money can buy them. From day one.
See, that’s why we invest the top scientific brains technology edge.”
in Singapore in DSO. Because these black diamonds Day one?
are things you can’t buy. Because it was so obvious! These imperatives
Now, there are a number of reasons why money were very clear. was going on in recent battles. The conclusion we must send guys abroad on scholarships.” Then
cannot buy them. was very clear: in future wars, you don’t have to he sent me to Monterey in California, to the Naval
One reason is they are not in existence yet. These How did you get your information? Your concepts? see your enemy. It is a new type of battlefield, in Postgraduate School. There were two scholarships;
are concepts, they are just ideas and formulae. You Dr Goh was no expert! electromagnetic space. one was the SAF scholarship and the other was the
have to create them and make them real. Dr Goh was an avid reader, a historian.... He observed In 1971, he explained this to me. I think it was SAF Fellowship which is now called the Postgraduate
Another reason is that, it’s there – but the country the Vietnam War and the wars in the Middle East. very profound. He could see well into the future. Award. I was the first to go. I went in 1971.
that developed this capability is not going to release it The Vietnam War showed the potential of That’s actually what we are trying to do, to this day. Before I left, he called me in to tell me about his
to any others. These black diamonds give it a technology guided systems. With Precision Guided Munitions It shows the genius of the man! vision for science and technology – what became DSO
edge, a secret advantage, a gap. And it is not about to (PGM) for instance, instead of dropping thousands National Laboratories.
let anybody else close the gap. So it’s a very closely of bombs to hit a bridge, the Americans found that Can you tell me how you first heard about DSO,
guarded secret. two PGMs could do the job. So it was very clear that or ETC? That’s amazing – and in 1971, the SAF was
this was the way to increase efficiency by a big order When ETC was formed, I was still here. Dr Goh just beginning.
Because it’s a winner. It’s the Ace. of magnitude. told me about it. So I knew. That time, we were still That’s why I said, “the genius of the man.”
Yes! These are the biggest challenges for a And the need for electronic warfare (EW) became in Pearl’s Hill, Upper Barracks. You know the two So I was there, in his office, for one hour, just
scientist. Like the black diamond that has not been clear during the 1967 war, when the Israeli destroyer, barracks where we started MID? listening. It got me all fired up. Wow! – I was going to
invented yet. It’s just a concept. You have to invent Eilat, was hit by the Soviet missile, the Styx. And after Monterey, I was going to learn and come back to do
it. Can you develop it? If you can, you are way the war, the Israelis realised that they would lose more Ministry of Interior and Defence? all these things. I got really inspired. I was probably
ahead of the others. ships to these PGMs – and their conclusion was they Yes. Ministry of Interior and Defence (MID). Now launched that day!
must provide an electronic shield around their ships. it is split into two – Home Affairs and Defence. But at So ETC was formed, 1972. It was a small,
It means we can use technology instead of soldiers’ Because their missile, Gabriel, had a much shorter that time, it was one Ministry. “black” group sitting in SID. But it never grew. Then
lives to win our battles... range than the Styx. In 1965, Dr Goh was Minister for two years, then in 1977, Goh Keng Swee gave me a task, “Do a study
It will save lives. It will also make a difference to So in order to approach the enemy close enough, he went to the Finance Ministry, and I think it was in on how we can leverage on defence science.” So I
the outcome. they needed electronic counter-measures (ECM). 1969 that he came back to MID. studied what was happening in UK, Australia, India
This was why we started DSO. We were looking at And they spent the time – after the 1967 war to the I still remember his office at one corner of Pearl’s and other countries and wrote a paper.
the technology areas that would make a major difference early ’70s to develop the first ECMs. And the next Hill, Upper Barracks. He had some problems with his This paper was the birth certificate of DSO!
in the way we fight. So we brainstormed this question. time they fought in 1973, they could deflect the Styx eyes, so his room was dimly lit. So when I went to see
Dr Goh was closely involved. missiles through the use of ECM. him, it was so dark, I was already shivering like, “I’m What did you propose?
You know, our numbers will never be large. The Dr Goh was very clear. Number one, he knew going to see God.” We needed to get the number of people up,
SAF will always be a very small force. So we need history. Number two, he was watching what It was 1970 or 1971 that he decided, “Look, recruit more people straight away. Then we
166: CREATING THE TECHNOLOGY EDGE > 167: TAKING FLIGHT > 11: INTERVIEW
needed to leverage on the staff who were already the mistakes, you know. So we really needed He wasn’t a hierarchical type of person. Those
developed in MINDEF, on the project side. Systems
Integration and Management Team (SIMT) was an
obvious group. So ETC combined with SIMT, and
engineers and specialists.
Whereas on the DSO side, I mean – R&D, what are
days, we had bosses whom you had to bow to.
Not Tay Eng Soon. He was one of the guys who
said, “Call me Bob.” So he had more of the American
“This term, “silver bullet”
became Defence Science Organisation. you doing? style, as opposed to the more traditional, hierarchical is perhaps too common.
This was in 1977. So that was the start. So there was actually competition between type of structure.
DSO and the other organisations for top brains. So actually, Dr Tay was the spark that got all the Because it doesn’t convey
What was the problem – did you feel ETC was And all the top brains wanted to go to DSO! I mean, young guys going and excited about DSO.
not big enough? engineers preferred to do R&D rather than He encouraged them. “Hey, got any new ideas?” the importance of DSO’s
Very honestly, there was great envy of DSO then. project management. And he was very supportive. He was open to new
So you lost out to DSO in the competition for ideas. He didn’t say, “You do it my way, you chase work. I prefer, “black
Why? engineers. my idea.”
Well, you have these DSO guys at the top of Project management is more mundane. You So that was his great ability. It was a loss to DSO diamonds.” Because what
Marina Hill, thinking profound thoughts, while we are handling contractors, dealing with black boxes, when he went into politics. But it was the gain of the
were in MINDEF, on the ground, slogging, chasing system integration, system design, that sort nation. When was that? 1980? DSO produces is very rare,
after contractors. We didn’t even know what they of thing.
were doing! It was still very black! Yes, in 1980. Then after that, there was a time when very precious. Yes. They
If DSO did not have a godfather in Dr Goh Keng And DSO got the top brains? it was Philip Yeo. Can you tell me about Philip Yeo?
Swee, they would have been eaten up. They would Yes! The top brains. He seems to be quite hands-on. create black diamonds of
have been today’s meal! Today’s hunger is more Philip Yeo is a doer. I asked him, “Do you do
important than worrying about tomorrow. Is it R&D that attracts the top brains? planning?” He replied, “I plan with my guts.” priceless value. Priceless,
But Dr Goh nurtured and protected them. For people who are academically good, yes! So he saw DSO, he could see its mission and he
So we learned an important lesson there. For this sort Doing research is a natural progression, after said “Do!” because you can’t
of long-term organisation, we need strong leadership their studies. R&D appears more challenging, more
on top to nurture them, to protect them from being exciting to them. I mean, you are on the leading Was this a successful management style? buy them.”
attacked from outside. edge. So for the bright guys, they want to be there! Philip Yeo was a great supporter of DSO. I
For R&D, you need someone with a long-term So it’s a challenge. suppose I would say, number one, he gave DSO the You know, the tightest and scarcest resource was
view, a godfather. freedom to do what they wanted. bright people.
Because in MINDEF, at Science and Management What did you think about DSO’s management? Number two, he created opportunities for them. So he created an environment in which these
Group (SMG) and at Special Projects Office (SPO), Dr Tay had a very strong academic reputation in Because he could see that, by working with other bright people could flourish. He provided DSO
I was looking for engineers. We were all doing major the university. He had a great leadership style. He led parties and other countries, DSO could move faster. So with the environment, which allowed them to
projects! Massive projects. And the consequences by example. He was daring. He came up with new he opened doors. create science...
of bad decisions were very obvious. You could see ideas and he was very open. And he provided resources. There was no
question of money! If you needed a budget, you With his backing, DSO was the right environment
asked him! He would ask you, “Why do you need for science....
“ In 1977, Goh Keng Swee gave me a task,
“Do a study on how can we leverage on defence
this?” You gave a good answer, you got it. He never
counted pennies. You need men, you go to see him.
He’d get them for you. So he provided resources.
Yes. He created in DSO, the correct environment
If I look back and ask, “Who were the greatest
And he protected DSO from being attacked. contributors to DSO?” They would be Dr Goh Keng
science.” So I studied what was happening in UK, Otherwise, the other branches or departments Swee for being able to identify the vision. Then
would say, “DSO has got the men, let’s try and Dr Tay Eng Soon for establishing the correct ethos,
Australia, India and other countries and wrote a grab them.” So there was this constant struggle in daring to think and to do. And Philip Yeo for
paper. This paper was the birth certificate of DSO!” for resources. building a nurturing environment.
168: CREATING THE TECHNOLOGY EDGE > 169: TAKING FLIGHT > 11: INTERVIEW
and still – nothing. Then suddenly, “Boom!” Flowers!
“If I look back and ask, “Who were the greatest Harvest! Plant more!
So at a particular stage, you look at it, it’s nothing.
You see a lot of labour, but no result. Finally you see
contributors to DSO?” They would be Dr Goh Keng some little things growing up, you add in more
resources. Then harvest. After the first harvest,
Swee for being able to identify the vision. Then Dr Tay plant more!
Eng Soon for establishing the correct ethos, in daring Is this unique to managing science? You have to be
to think and to do. And Philip Yeo for building a nurturing It is the nature of scientific R&D.
If you try to manage it like a typical bureaucratic
environment. These are the three men whom I would system, your people will be stifled.
They never grow above ground. If you keep
say really built the organisation.” digging and digging, they give up. The earth is too
hard. Something is wrong with this earth.
So you have to be patient. And give people
These are the three men whom I would say really control your major resource which is your people. permission to be free.
built the organisation. The other thing is money. DSO must be able
to move very quickly. To buy the technology that
Will DSO grow more? they need. And not be constrained by normal
The numbers we have now in DSO is about the government procedures which take time,
maximum that our country can support. paperwork and so on.
Because we need the balance between economic So the EA was an organisational structure for
growth and military capability development. DSO to operate in the most efficient and effective
We could hire more engineers and scientists by manner, with flexibility of manpower and funds.
paying more salary. But it will be at the expense of But it seemed that EA was still not giving
our country’s economic development. And therefore, DSO the flexibility it required. So after careful
the growth must henceforth be through leveraging study, in 1997, we decided that DSO should
of the brains in the universities and through be corporatised.
overseas collaboration. So we are evolving, because the whole time
we are learning. If things don’t work, we change.
Why did DSO become an Executive Agency (EA)
and why was it corporatised later on? What are your thoughts about the management
The idea is very clear. That DSO, when it was of R&D?
part of MINDEF, and part of the Government, was If you look at everything that is neat and tidy,
encumbered by many rules and regulations. This it’s not science. If you look at boxes, as soon as you
slowed them down. start drawing boxes, you have hierarchy, you are
So they needed to have flexibility. And in “fossilising” the organisation!
the main, flexibility is two things. One is manpower – You have to “Let one thousand flowers bloom!”
how to recruit manpower according to your needs. At a certain stage you are still planting, you are
And you must be able to fire them if they don’t do ploughing, you are putting seeds in, and seeing nothing!
a good job. So you must be able to manage and You pour water, put more seeds in, add fertiliser,
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OUR CYBERSPACE be able not just to match, but to defeat the
efforts of the most sophisticated hackers.
Long before it became fashionable,
DSO started its foray into cyberspace
of whom were from the banking sector,
requested assistance in assessing the security
of their critical systems and networks.
DSO’s widening exposure to different
security in 1994 with just 2 engineers. These user needs and systems over the years
pioneering engineers studied the security has helped build up extensive and in-depth
of Unix systems and the susceptibility of knowledge and understanding in a wide range
Origins and History data legitimately, in order to capture this computers to computer viruses which were of systems and user needs. Combined
From its origins in the Second World data or to alter it to their advantage. We then beginning to pose a serious problem with its significant hands-on experience
War when it was invented to help in have seen that some qualifications have to all computer users. The importance of with actual mission-critical systems, and
calculating missile trajectories and to been offered for sale, not just with fake cybersecurity was soon recognised and the well-endowed internal resources in terms
decipher enemy codes and ciphers, the certificates, but with the subsequent fledgling group expanded gradually. The of people, systems, and equipment, DSO
electronic digital computer has become alteration of the database of the organisation group expanded its expertise into many is well-placed and hence frequently called
an indispensable and ubiquitous adjunct offering the qualifications, which could have different operating systems, hardware upon to tackle interesting and challenging
to modern life, entering into almost every meant that their sites had been broken into. platforms, applications, and network jobs from diverse users.
aspect of our daily routines. From email In addition, the increasing prevalence protocols, and gained in-depth understanding In 1997, DSO’s cyberspace security
to telephone bills to income tax returns, of financial crimes involving the illegal of how networked and mission-critical systems team won a Defence Technology Prize
information and data touching every detail altering of computer records has made can fail. (Team), a national level award and
of our private and public lives are processed, computer security an over-riding issue in numerous DSO Excellence Awards.
stored and transmitted by computers and every system in which the integrity of the Broadening Perspectives DSO’s staff members serve on national
the networks which connect them. system and its data is of paramount When DSO was corporatised as DSO IT security fora to provide technical inputs
The importance and ubiquity of importance. The advent of the Internet National Laboratories in 1997, the Computer for policy formulation and have presented
computer data has also increased our and cyberspace, within which hackers Security Laboratory (CSL), as it is now their research results in overseas
concerns over the security and privacy of can launch attacks against any computer known, started to take on additional workshops. There are also several
this data. The general public is increasingly connected to the Internet, has further assignments outside MINDEF/SAF. The research collaborations with foreign R&D
worried about what happens to their heightened world-wide fears about computer move exposed them to many other kinds organisations on information assurance.
personal details in computers, especially vulnerability and security. The fact that the of requirements in government systems
when unscrupulous website operators best computer hackers are at the leading and commercial systems, significantly Test Bed for Cybersecurity Studies
may not hesitate to sell such personal edge of computer security technology, broadening their perspectives and their Over the years, DSO has built up a
data. Worse still, there may be hackers makes the task of defending systems against understanding of cybersecurity. In addition substantial test bed for studying cyberspace
lurking everywhere, waiting to enter attacks by such hackers a very difficult one, to various ministries and statutory boards security. Like most test beds, DSO’s test
our own personal computers or the demanding that those responsible for with regulatory interests in cybersecurity, bed consists of PCs and server-class
institutional computers which hold our computer security (or cyber-security) must a number of large corporate clients, some machines running diverse operating systems
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. Cybersecurity test bed.
assistants (PDA) such as iPAQs and which DSO staff enjoy a great deal, as every
Palms (running Palm OS, Embedded task is new and challenging in its own way,
Linux, Windows CE), interesting hand phones and gives them an opportunity to apply their
(WAP, GPRS, Bluetooth), Bluetooth experience and knowledge in cyberspace
development kits, 802.11 wireless LAN security R&D, often in surprising and fun ways.
cards and access points, and tiny Apache/ DSO has also developed an experimental
Linux servers the size of a Rubik’s cube. cyberspace intrusion detection system for
its users, the development of which helped
Penetration Testing and Intrusion Detection DSO to appreciate the users’ environment
Many of DSO’s clients are concerned and to understand the relative importance
with the vulnerability of their computer of diverse user requirements. The project
systems to penetration and intrusion by was very challenging and strengthened the
hackers and other unwelcome visitors. One capability of DSO staff, making them a
of the most interesting and exciting services more matured and focused group. Much
offered by DSO to key users is penetration inspiration and many insights for DSO’s
testing of their computer systems. By current and future work also came from
demonstrating in a hands-on fashion how their exposure to users’ systems.
security weaknesses can lead to loss of
revenue/reputation or mission failure, the Forensic Analysis of Cyber-attacks
client can be shown the possible impact The technical knowledge gained by DSO
which such weaknesses can have on in cybersecurity has turned out to be useful
his business. on many fronts. With the increasing frequency
The key steps in penetration testing of intrusions into computer systems by
and applications. However, unlike most test examine not just the local security issues are information gathering on the client’s hackers, DSO’s cyberspace security team
beds, this one includes a mini-Internet in LAN environment, but also the global system and the planning of the penetration began to wonder if they could re-construct
to mimic the actual network interaction security issues such as routing protocols test itself. After the planning, a hands-on the actions of a cyber attacker in an intrusion
between home users and the Internet, and and the security impact of broadband demonstration is conducted on the client’s incident. It turns out that most such incidents
between ISPs (Internet Service Providers). technology that can go all the way to the system. If this is successful, the next step do leave trails which provide clues to what
These facilities include high-end routers end user at home. is the validation of the results and the final was done. To extract such evidence from the
and switches, a cable modem head end, Besides the more heavy-duty equipment recommendations to be presented to the hard disks of compromised computer systems
an ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber not found in a typical office, DSO has an client, which give details of the measures the efficiently requires in-depth knowledge of
Line) head end, as well as wired and wireless increasingly large collection of technological client should take to strengthen his system. the systems, up-to-date technical knowledge,
LAN environments. This enables DSO to “toys” for evaluation: personal digital Penetration testing is one of the tasks a fertile (and patient) investigative mindset
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and the relevant cyber tools. his tracks by deleting the trails and The Future
In the recent past, DSO has assisted other incriminating data left behind by DSO’s focus for the next few years is in addition to its traditional focus on defence,
various parties with forensic analysis and the intrusion. on the protection of critical infrastructure. as almost every sector of our social and
investigations of cyber intrusions. In some In the process, DSO learned more This work addresses the security issues commercial life, including the financial,
cases evidence was initially overlooked but about how to configure and design computer which will affect the day-to-day life of every health and utility sectors, depends on the
was uncovered by DSO staff when they took systems and architectures which will make Singaporean. The 11 September incidents security of its computer systems which
a second look at the data. With skill and the forensic investigation of a cyberspace in the US, and the high profile cyberspace ensures their continued viability. We must
patience, they were able to reconstruct the attack more effective and efficient. This hacker attacks, show that things cannot be do all we can to ensure that Singapore can
trails of some attacks even when the might help to discourage hackers from taken for granted. DSO expects its future survive should her critical infrastructures
perpetrator had made attempts to cover selecting such systems for an attack. work to take it to new and exciting domains, ever come under cyber-attack.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CYBER WARRIOR
DSO’s Cyber Lifestyle
CSL enjoys and thrives in the
diverse views and strengths of its
members who are drawn from different
disciplines such as computer science,
computer engineering, electronics
engineering, mechanical engineering,
among others. A good number of its
members are trained in leading foreign
universities. The script on the back of the
CSL T-shirt sums up their work attitude
informally: “I don’t work here. I am just
doing my hobby.” The accompanying
sequence of pictures gives some flavour
of the life-style of CSL staff as they
sweat through a challenging project,
and the joy and camaraderie among
them as they overcome these challenges A day of a cyber warrior in CSL However, success does not come Once a full understanding of a With the completion of each
successfully. always begins and ends in front of a easily most of the time. In fact, to study subject is obtained or a rare discovery is assignment, the discovery of a cutting-edge
monitor. Armed with a passion for computer a single vulnerability, rounds of testing made, this knowledge will be transferred solution, or the achievement of understanding
security, the warrior never works according have to be conducted, topped off with to their security assessment tool bag, a particular problem, celebration often
to the hours of the day. Very often, work whiteboard analyses, discussions, which becomes the “secret edge” that follows by means of a feast with the team.
carries on late into the night and even into exchanges of ideas, in-depth research distinguishes them from the rest of True team spirit indeed.
the wee hours of the morning. As long as and most importantly, teamwork. the market.
a problem exists, they rack their brains to
understand, examine, verify and eventually,
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The Role of C3I Systems to their troops in the front lines, often two
The history of warfare can be seen as a at a time so that if one was killed the
history of increasing complexity, from the other would get through (perhaps an early
relatively simple situation of cavemen form of redundancy in communications!).
engaging in battle with sticks and stones, The telephone, with its ability to pass
to today’s advanced battlefields with their messages through wires, was quickly
computerised and networked command and adopted for battlefield communications, Simulation-based test bed facility for experimentation.
control systems. History has clearly shown and World War I signallers would have to lay
that the ability of an army’s commanders telephone cables right up to the trenches
to keep track of what is happening on the in the front line, and re-lay them when and continue to do so, most recently in US to formulate sound decisions based on
battlefield, and to transmit their commands they were cut by shell fire. Radio further operations in Afghanistan. such information, as well as to transmit
to their forces quickly and accurately, is often transformed the command and control Artificial satellites in earth orbit have their commands and instructions efficiently
more important than superiority in numbers situation in the battlefield dramatically, vastly expanded the scope of such operations, to their forces. The ability to collect, collate,
or firepower. giving commanders the ability to instantly with observational satellites such as SPOT 5 process and disseminate information
In the days when battlefield information gather information and intelligence, and and IKONOS now able to offer images of any efficiently and accurately in a military
had to be transmitted without the aid of radio to transmit instructions to their forces at part of the earth’s surface to an astonishing situation is now generally referred to as
waves or electronics, commanders had to a distance instantly. resolution of 1 metre. C3I (Command, Control, Communications
rely on their own eyes and ears, calling on The use of aircraft not only for combat The march of technology has certainly and Intelligence). C3I brings together
the aid of messengers relying on their own but also for intelligence gathering presented played a key role in the escalation of the real-time and non real-time capabilities
feet or on horses, and signallers using flags commanders with opportunities to gather pace and complexity of warfare, to the point in the convergent technologies of
and flares to send a message to their information about enemy strength, when the winning of a war is now critically computers, networking, multi-media and
forces who were beyond earshot. Eventually, disposition, and movements which would dependent on the ability to gather tactical telecommunications, in order to achieve
flags became too dangerous and exposed for have been almost impossible to obtain by and strategic information accurately and decision superiority for the side that can
signallers to use them for communications. other means. Spy planes, both manned quickly. Throughout the history of warfare, exploit these technologies more effectively.
In World War I, commanders would use their and unmanned, have made significant as we have seen, commanders have had The difference such a capability can
signallers as “runners” to bring messages contributions to intelligence gathering, to increasingly rely on technology in order make to modern warfare is vividly illustrated
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by an incident which took place during the develop our C3I capabilities becomes starting with interfaces among C2 systems, on the more complex and challenging
US counter-terrorism war in Afghanistan more and more critical. leading eventually to the development of development of a Command Post C2 system.
recently. An US Marine spotter on horseback a complete platform-based C2 system. This system extracts essential information
on top of a ridge was being hotly pursued Building up of C3I Systems Capability A generic illustration is provided in the from other platform-based C2 systems,
by Taliban forces. He estimated that it The building up of a C3I capability in accompanying diagram. The C2 system takes providing a more complete picture of the
would take his pursuers ten minutes to DSO may be traced back to the setting up in onboard sensor data such as platform larger battlefield under the command of
reach his position. He therefore called of the Defence Software Department (DSD) position and speed, and information through higher level force commanders. DSO also
for an air strike on his position before in DSO in 1984, which was a MINDEF effort other interfaces. Through the man-machine started using ruggedised commercial
he rode away. Ten minutes later, the to centralise all software expertise in DSO. interface, the commander can select off-the-shelf (COTS) items and has retained
strike arrived and swiftly took out the DSD was able to capitalise on the accumulated different modes and priorities as the this approach as far as is practicable. The
enemy pursuing him. Such precise experience of previous software systems battle develops, to perform data fusion, adoption of open architecture, Ethernet
engagement was possible only because acquired by MINDEF. They were generally identification, and tracking of various protocol and object-oriented methodology
of enhanced battlefield awareness hard to maintain and poorly documented. To platforms involved in the battle. The system greatly facilitated integration with COTS.
and decision making brought about build up a pool of young software engineers, also presents the commander with the Over the years, DSO has scored several
by superior C3I. DSD used the numerous software acquisition overall battlefield situation through the successes in building up its capability in
The fundamental C3I functions are: projects to create software engineering man-machine interface. the fusion of data and information from
. The collection, collation, processing On-the-Job-Training (OJT) opportunities
and display of information on the with MINDEF’s C3I contractors.
status of the theatre of operations and This enabled DSO to build up domain
of the friendly and hostile forces. knowledge in command and control (C2)
. The support of operational planning systems and to learn best practice skills in
and decision-making. software engineering from the contractors.
. The communication of information DSO engineers learnt that software
between commanders and their forces. engineering is not just programming but
C3I systems may include sensors, should also cover systems analysis, design,
computers and networks, graphical coding and testing. These pioneering software
displays and data communications links. engineers played an important role in
They are in effect specialised defence supporting subsequent software engineering
software systems. efforts in DSO, and in establishing various
As the trend towards technologically- important standards for software acquisition,
based warfare dependent on information development and support. Platform Based C2 System Architecture different sources, with potentially important
and communications systems becomes Capabilities in platform based C2 The successful completion of these applications for a new generation of
increasingly evident, the need to further systems development were built up, earlier projects encouraged DSO to take C3I systems.
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NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING
nother capability that has been built up is Natural Language Processing
A (NLP). NLP is an important branch of artificial intelligence (AI) which seeks
to build software systems capable of understanding natural human language.
This may appear to be a trivial task, as it seems that humans do not have
much difficulty understanding the speech or text of other humans
expressed in a language which they know, such as English or Chinese. In actual fact,
the task of making a computer understand text as naturally expressed in a human
language is extremely difficult, as natural human languages are full of logical
inconsistencies which we as humans are able to decipher because we have had years
TARGET IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM of experience in dealing with these inconsistencies and other subtleties of natural
speech and text.
If NLP can be made to function as intended, many advantages would accrue,
uring a military operation, information and data in the diagram), each acting as an “identification expert” such such as our being able to communicate with computers using natural human language
D may be coming in from a wide variety of sources.
If all this information and data are input into a C3I
system, there is the problem of combining and
fusing the data together so that all the different
information sources can be made to reinforce each other
meaningfully in order to build up a picture which is useful. Data
fusion is the technology of combining such disparate data into
that each module provides an independent assessment of
(or belief in) the possible identity (hostile, friend or civilian) of
the detected target. These independent assessments (which
are the outputs labelled “bel” for “belief”) are then combined
through a “belief combination module” (the module labelled
“evidence combination”). This combination module incorporates
algorithms first developed for MYCIN, the first Medical Expert
and not some strictly structured computer language difficult for the layman to master.
In reviewing the various existing approaches to NLP, it was determined that the
so-called corpus-based approach to NLP has the most potential to scale up to handle
real-world human text, even though such an approach is still relatively new. Traditional
NLP techniques involving the manual crafting of rules and knowledge bases designed
to understand simple text, are difficult to scale up to handle real-world human text
a coherent and meaningful whole. System, which made medical decisions based on various Using the corpus-based approach, the NLP tasks of parsing and word sense
Data fusion as a technology area covers many different data inputs. The application of various artificial intelligence (AI) disambiguation were tackled. In parsing, the objective is to break up or classify the
levels. At the lowest level, it encompasses the synchronisation algorithms into a fusion engine for object identification words of a sentence into its constituent parts like noun phrase and verb phrase. Word
in time and space of the incoming data and the extraction has been a very good learning experience for the AI sense disambiguation, on the other hand, deals with identifying the “meaning” of a
of structured information from unstructured data like text engineers involved. word in a given sentence, especially when that word may have two or more completely
and imagery. Other levels of data fusion deal with issues like different meanings. For instance, the word “interest” in “The bank pays a high interest
tracking, classification and identification of data from for your savings.” has a different meaning from the word “interest” in “John has an interest
multiple sensors. The highest level deals with intent assessment in many subjects”.
from data processed and analysed at the lower levels. In parsing, we utilise a statistical method known as the Hidden Markov Method (HMM)
Data fusion thus helps the commander to deal with the vast to learn the “rules” of grammatical structure, given a corpus or body of existing real-world
amount of data flowing into a C3I system and to make sense of texts. The words in the real-world texts are tagged to reflect their grammatical function.
this information. The HMM method is then used to learn the “grammatical rules” from the statistics of
One application of data fusion technology was in the tagged words in the real-world corpus. For example, from the corpus, the learning
target identification, as illustrated in the accompanying diagram. method can gather the statistics of how articles such as “a”, “an”, “the” precede nouns
This involves the collection and processing of the information like “cat” and “dog”, and hence better understand the function of these articles. This
from several different sources. The key idea was to have method is also language independent and has been successfully tested on English
a number of software modules (evidence sources 1, 2, 3 and 4 and another language. A US Patent for the HMM approach to Parsing has been granted.
Word sense disambiguation (WSD) is a difficult problem given the many words
with multiple meanings or senses and the vast corpus of real-world text from which
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Future C3I Applications
these senses may need to be drawn. The first step was to learn from a sense-tagged It is virtually certain that warfare in The key technology components for
corpus of sufficient but manageable size. Such a sense-tagged corpus is not easily the future will be information-centric and the realisation of such an autonomous
available, but one was built up using NUS student manpower. With this sense-tagged networked-based. One key enabler which co-operative system include decentralised
corpus, the approach to WSD was formulated as a classification problem, i.e. given a can bring this about is autonomous data fusion across a network of sensors,
particular word ,the possible senses that word could take were retrieved from the corpus. co-operative system technology. An agent negotiation, and co-operative
The results achieved by this approach were impressive compared to other non-corpus autonomous co-operative system utilises autonomous robots for mobile platforms.
based approaches and resulted in a DSO staff member being invited as a keynote advanced algorithms to coordinate the These concepts will be validated utilising
speaker in a prestigious international workshop: SIGLEX 97 (Special Interest Group problem-solving behaviour of many different modelling and simulation technology. A
under the Association of Computational Linguistics). A key paper on the software agents representing various entities major simulation test bed will be set up
corpus-based approach to semantic interpretation published in the Artificial connected to the network. in 2002, based on high level architecture
Intelligence Magazine was also co-authored. Given the many requests for access to For example, in a search and rescue (HLA), a high level protocol for linking
An integrated suite of NLP software DSO’s sense-tagged corpus from other researchers, it has decided to contribute the operation, the utilisation and coordination different simulators.
developed by DSO. corpus to the US-based Linguistic Data Consortium. of multiple robots through a communications The coming decades of this new century
This successful research result was used in other applications, such as an application network will result in searches which are will definitely bring many more new challenges
to automatically categorise an incoming document based on its content in which the shorter yet more extensive. In another for DSO. Overcoming these challenges and
corpus-based approach was utilised, to learn the rules for categorising incoming scenario, a number of autonomous sensors creating the C3I systems of the next generation,
documents. This categorisation engine is called “CLASSI” and a paper describing it with different capabilities, which are such as the network-enabled knowledge-
received a prize for the “best non-student paper” in the SIGIR (Special Interest Group coordinated by being networked together, based infrastructure, will be an exciting
on Information Retrieval) 97 Conference. CLASSI was also benchmarked on the will be able to perform better and and daunting task which will demand all
Information Routing Sub-task at TREC-8 in 1999 sponsored partly by DARPA, obtaining more efficiently. of DSO’s creativity, innovation and daring.
the top two scores in this sub-task. The CLASSI engine was also licensed to a local
company for commercial exploitation.
Another interesting application was the use of NLP for question answering (QA).
In a traditional search engine (similar to engines such as Google on the Internet), the
user types in a keyword and the engine retrieves a set of documents which contains
the keyword. For QA, NLP techniques were employed to handle questions like “Who is
the President of Singapore?”. The NLP module analyses the words in the question to
provide another level of information besides these words. For example, DSO’s QA
module would know that the question, “Who is the President of Singapore“, is asking
for a person (from the word “who”), and would also know that “President” is a title and
“Singapore” is a country. The QA engine will attempt to return the sentence within the
target document that contains the answer to the question. This is more precise than
what current search engines provide i.e. just the document itself.
. Experimenting with autonomous
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WARFARE ways. Universal computer connectivity and
widespread Internet access have indeed
made the network central to computing,
such that it may be said that the network
the Ethernet, one of the key enabling
technologies of local area networking,
has pointed out that the usefulness of
a network is proportional to the square
(not the computer), is the system itself. of the number of nodes in the network,
With wireless devices adding which also explains why the Internet’s
mobility to connectivity, we are now an power has increased so dramatically
The modern electronic digital computer, in splendid isolation from each other, integral part of the network at all times, as the number of nodes world-
so much a part of contemporary life, was no matter how powerful they may be, and “network centric computing” has now wide escalated.
born in the midst of the greatest armed cannot derive the kind of synergistic irrevocably replaced the “platform-centric By allowing military information
conflict mankind has ever seen (and capabilities they gain when they can computing” of an earlier age. systems and their combat unit
hopefully will never see). communicate with each other, or as This networking revolution is also counterparts to link up with each other
While the exact origins of the electronic we prefer to say nowadays, when they causing a paradigm shift in the way military and share data to form an intelligent
digital computer are unclear, it is clear are networked. planners think about the conduct of future network, with operational and logistic
that the first such machines or their inventors The mother of all computer operations. The essence of this on-going data being exchanged in real time, it is
were very closely associated with military networks today, the ubiquitous Internet, Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is about entirely possible that a similar network
applications. This is perhaps inevitable as was born in the late 1960s as a result of the intelligent exploitation of the relevant multiplier effect can be effectively
all these machines were born just before collaboration between civilian computer technologies towards, not just making unleashed and harnessed.
or during the Second World War. scientists and the then ARPA or Advanced weapon systems smarter, smaller and faster, The implementation of a network
Konrad Zuse’s Z3 was funded by the Research Projects Agency, formed by but leveraging on the power of networking centric architecture will enable integrated
Third Reich and was used for airframe the US Department of Defense (DOD) in to multiply their effectiveness many-fold. warfare by incorporating three essential
stress analysis. John Atanasoff and his response to the then USSR’s launching The Internet derives its power from and critical elements of war fighting:
graduate student Clive Berry had barely of its Sputnik earth satellite. This fledging being a “network of networks”; likewise, a . An Information Grid or network
completed the ABC (the Atanasoff–Berry network, or ARPANET, which was “system of systems” based on a hierarchy providing a command, control,
Computer) when Atanasoff abandoned originally intended to link up scientists of networks could enable a military force communication and decision
his machine to work on physics research working in academia and research to achieve dominance in “battlespace support backbone.
for the US Navy. John Mauchly and Presper institutes with DOD researchers, has awareness”, giving it supremacy in the . Sensor Grids which interconnect
Eckert built their legendary ENIAC to now vastly expanded into today’s control of the theatre of operations. far-flung sensors designed to
calculate ballistic missile trajectories, Internet with its millions of websites. “The Network is the Computer”, pin-point the enemy.
while Alan Turing designed Colossus Networking and the Internet in so runs the slogan of Sun Microsystems. . Engagement Grids which direct
to crack a German cipher tougher than particular, have made connectivity an The Internet appears to reinforce a variety of weapons systems or
the famous Enigma code. integral and essential part of computing, this concept. shooters towards their targets.
However, computers working and influenced our lives in countless Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of A networked force will thus have
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the capability to dynamically interconnect microwaves, sound waves both in the heterogeneous physical networks. altered by their software, which leverage
sensors, shooters and decision-makers audible and inaudible regions, magnetic DSO has been conducting research on recent advances in field programmable
and enable them to collaborate and share fields, and chemical and biological agents. into wireless communications systems for electronics and digital signal processors.
information, knowledge and resources. By networking many sensors together, the battlefield environment since the This ability to change function
A conventional force which becomes the following advantages can be gained: early 1990s. through software or programmability,
networked-enabled and knowledge-based . The real time combination of exchange Starting at the physical layer, work will facilitate faster and lower cost
can greatly increase its combat power data from different sensors which can has been progressing on wireless network adaptations of programmable
through increased system awareness, improve the overall reliability and system architecture, communications communications systems. This will
interoperability and synchronisation accuracy of the signals. protocols, and waveform and algorithm enable them to serve the wide variety of
among its elements, giving improved . The ability to activate and control designs which can provide: system platforms one can expect to be
lethality and survivability as well as remote sensors. . High data throughput rates with good utilised in an IKC2 infrastructure.
increased operational speed. . Enhancing the resistance of the spectral and power efficiency. DSO has also configured and tested
DSO has been working on the sensors to interference from deliberately . Efficient multiple-access schemes datalink systems (systems which transmit
enabling technologies which are critical transmitted signals (i.e. jamming). which can support a multi-user and data to and fro) in field experiments. More
to integrated warfare since its early days. . Decreasing the probability of multi-data-rate environment. advanced versions of these systems with
Various system concepts are also being interception of sensor information by . Robust protection against the higher processing power and the flexibility
actively studied in the areas of distributed an enemy. degradation of signal channels to enable higher data rates, as well as
sensors, automation of information for highly dynamic platforms superior performance against channel
processing, correlation and fusion with Communications Networks like aircraft. degradation due to interference, are
distributed signal sources and dynamic A common network architecture . Good electronic-counter-counter- being developed.
management and dissemination of which meshes dispersed sensors, measure (ECCM) performance which DSO is also working on the
information. The next step is to combine decision support nodes and weapons includes a robust defence against challenging area of ad hoc networks.
and integrate all of these technologies – systems, is the key to achieving an intentional and unintentional interference Such networks have self-organising
sensors, shooters and computer systems effective IKC2 framework. DSO has the (anti-jamming) and low probability of architectures (i.e. systems which can
– to enable the SAF to work in an integrated vision of developing a secure, highly signal intercept (LPI). evolve their configurations by themselves
knowledge-based command and control reliable and tightly integrated common DSO’s hardware research effort as and when necessary) which are rapidly
(IKC2) framework. data communications system with the has been focused on the design of deployable and adaptable to the traffic
capability to seamlessly combine voice, technological building blocks which can and mobility patterns encountered by
Sensors data and video information. This be used in a variety of applications and the network nodes.
DSO has also been working on connectivity should be able to link communications systems. Towards this end, Ad hoc networks do not need a
advanced sensors which are sensitive to various communications systems DSO has been working on programmable fixed infrastructure or centralised control.
light in the visible as well as infrared and operating at different frequencies and modems (MOdulator-DEModulator) and Nodes in ad-hoc networks are highly
ultraviolet regions, radio waves, across different transmission media in radios whose characteristics can be mobile and the topology (i.e. the way the
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nodes interconnect with each other) Through various field experiments
changes rapidly. Other important and close partnership with their users, DYNAMIC RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
characteristics of such networks include DSO has gained a great deal of experience
peer to peer mode of operation (each in designing wireless ad hoc networks which
node communicating with the other can achieve high efficiency in channel n a battlefield situation, we may have many resources, capabilities, for example on the basis of target position relative
nodes on an equal basis, without any
node dominating), multi-hop routing,
and adapting to changes in the
utilisation, adaptability to fast changing
conditions, reliability and timeliness in
data delivery, and high survivability. I including sensors and weapons, providing real-time services
to the commanders. Sensors provide real-time services to
sense and detect the environment, while weapons provide
to weapon, target range etc.
The optimisation and allocation of the resources to the targets
are determined in accordance with an algorithm which will
propagation environment. Such a capability in the design of real-time services to engage incoming targets. The concept of search among all the possible combinations of resource to target
DSO has performed many studies communications networks is vital to dynamic resource management is the provision of a means of allocations, for the optimum allocation in accordance with the
including the modelling and simulation providing support to DSO’s users as mediating between all these resources so as to match them more given conditions. In a real situation, this should result in each
of suitable communications protocols (the they undergo the transition to a efficiently to one another. weapon being allocated to the target which is most suited to its
manner in which communications systems network-enabled infrastructure. Borrowing an idea from the Internet dot.com boom era, range and firepower.
acknowledge each other) which can be some dot.com companies were set up to provide a kind of
readily configured for different “matchmaking” service among service providers and service
operational scenarios. demanders. Typically, the model used was a kind of bidding
concept, with the service providers bidding to provide a service to
the service demanders in the most cost-effective manner.
Using the dynamic resource management concept, the
targets detected by sensors and confirmed by data fusion
methods may be seen as service demanders, while the
resources such as the weapons are service providers. The
targets and the resources are modelled in the system as
software agents, i.e. as entities which can act independently. The
software agent for a target monitors its own need to use the
resources and submits a “request for bid” for a resource if
it decides that it needs to do so. The software agent for
a resource, such as a weapon, contains knowledge of its
capabilities and is able to assess bids based on these
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INTEGRATED WARFARE CONCEPT
Integrated warfare derives its power
from the networking of dispersed forces
through an enabling information backbone
which gives full access to smart sensors,
and enhances the precision and speed of
response of shooters. DSO is continuing its
drive towards the mastery of the critical
enabling technologies necessary for the
realisation of a nimble, knowledge-based,
network-enabled and integrated fighting
force operating in air, land and sea, which
is capable of dynamic engagement in all
directions and at all times.
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