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Singapore launches country-wide simulation on disruptions and cyber attacks

Singapore will be holding its first islandwide Total Defence exercise in February to enhance the preparedness of its citizens for crises and disruptions.

Are we ready for disruption?

That is the question. Even as we trundle through the 21st century with amazing technology and globalisation, we are not immune to disruptions. Take a look at this video for possible scenarios should disruptions occur.

*Trigger warning: some scenes may be uncomfortable or worrying for some viewers.

Be prepared

While nobody has the perfect solution or guarantee, being prepared is a step towards empowering citizens to be aware and know how to respond should disruptions occur.

Singapore's Exercise SG Ready will take place from February 15 to February 29, 2024, at various locations across Singapore. The purpose of this exercise is to enhance the preparedness of Singaporeans for crises and disruptions, and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Total Defence (TD40).

The exercise will simulate disruptions in power, water, food supply, digital connectivity, and civil emergencies caused by cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and drone attacks from an anonymous source.

The goal is to prompt individuals, communities, and businesses to consider their readiness for disruptions and to develop their own contingency plans. More than 500 educational, community, commercial, and government buildings will be participating in the event.

On February 15 or 16, all schools will simulate disruptions in power, water, or food supply. Emergency food supplies will be provided to some schools during this period. During the two-week exercise, community facilities, commercial buildings, and government buildings will take turns to simulate disruptions. These disruptions will include temporary stoppage of escalators and air-conditioners on different days. Additionally, 20 prominent public buildings like the Treasury, Supreme Court, National Heritage Board museums, Esplanade Theatres, and Suntec Convention Centre will switch off their facade lighting to simulate a blackout caused by a cyber attack on the power grid.

Importance of education

The decision to conduct this exercise was made based on feedback from government agencies and partners, highlighting the importance of educating Singaporeans on how to respond during a crisis. Brigadier-General Kelvin Fan, the deputy secretary (policy) at the Ministry of Defence and chairman of the TD40 organising committee, shared this information during the launch of the Total Defence 40th anniversary events on January 22.

“It is to enhance the readiness, resilience and the unity of Singaporeans whenever there is a crisis”, amid “increased volatility, increased uncertainty and increased turbulence in the world.” - Brigadier-General Kelvin Fan

What to expect during the simulation

Click here for more information on the Total Defence exercise.

Providing support

In line with Exercise SG Ready, it is crucial to remember those who may require more support during this period. Organisations such as ComChest will be launching a campaign to support Total Defence, while the Singapore Red Cross Society and Singapore Emergency Responder Academy will be offering Psychological First Aid courses during Exercise SG Ready. Citizens are encouraged to enroll in these courses to. provide support to others and strengthen Singapore's collective resilience.

While it is debatable if such an exercise can realistically be carried out in all countries, it can bring some peace of mind knowing that we have the know-how and organisational structures in place so we can respond efficiently and appropriately to situations as they come.

Read our blog on Crisis Communications and why it is important for businesses to be prepared.



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