Colonel (COL) Koh Ee Wen received the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Merit Scholarship in 1997 and joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as an Air Warfare Officer (Air Defence Weapons). Since then, she has taken on numerous roles in the SAF, and is currently Head SAF Current Operations Group in the Joint Operations Department. Some of COL Koh’s responsibilities involve developing plans and ensuring assets and personnel are operationally ready; working with other ministries who require the SAF’s support, and monitoring and running peacetime operations. These include high profile events such as the Trump-Kim Summit, where her staff worked with the Services and external agencies to plan, implement and monitor the security of the air, land and sea.
Reflecting on the rewards of her current role, she says: “My role in current operations connects strongly with the SAF’s purpose, and is something I find very fulfilling. Current Operations Group is where rigorous planning and training translates into real, daily operations that contribute to the security and sovereignty of Singapore.”
“It is a fast-paced, high-performing environment and I enjoy that aspect tremendously,” she adds.
A rewarding learning journey
With the scholarship, COL Koh pursued and graduated with a Masters of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. In this time, she discovered a passion for analytical work. Her learning journey continued while working in the SAF.
“The SAF has a structured, well-developed training and education programme and I have had many opportunities to attend professional courses along the way. The key ones were the one-year Australian Command and Staff College and the one-year Masters in Public Management in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,” she says.
Throughout her career, COL Koh helmed several key projects in different domains, ranging from manpower and capability planning to long-term strategy and operations. The work was intellectually challenging and interesting, and she got to do the analytical work she enjoyed.
“I was also fortunate to command units which received the capabilities I worked on when I was a junior officer — the ASTER1 and SPYDER2 systems,” she says. “I feel very honoured to have been given an opportunity to make several key contributions to this journey, and see plans on paper turn into real capabilities that keep our skies secure and safe, every day.”
COL Koh is thankful for the many leadership opportunities and roles throughout her career, which have stretched and made her more of an all-rounder. she encourages like-minded individuals who share the same sense of purpose and mission to join the military, as she finds “the military a great training ground for anyone who is interested in developing themselves as leaders.”