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Rising through the ranks

A recipient of The SAF Scholarship offered by MINDEF/SAF, 29-year-old MAJ Wu Jianmin is currently a branch head in the Defence Policy Office and helps to formulate Singapore’s defence relations policies and strategies.

Says MAJ Wu: “I enjoy soldiering as a culture which is unique compared to other professions and I wanted a profession that would allow me to challenge and stretch myself.

“A career in MINDEF/SAF allows for a diversity of experiences, from being out in the field leading men to complete operational missions, to being in the office analysing issues and formulating policies.”

Prepping for real life

With The SAF Scholarship, MAJ Wu pursued his degree in Chemical Engineering at Cornell University.

“Cornell was one of the universities with a strong engineering background. The curriculum also offered a more broad-based education that would expose me to various domains other than engineering,” he says.

He went on to pursue a Master of Engineering in Logistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Says MAJ Wu: “The master’s programme helped me to develop both hard and soft skills, as well as learn from the varied experiences of my fellow course mates.”

He received military training both in the Singapore and United States to prepare him for the roles of Platoon Commander and subsequently Officer-in-Command (OC) in 41st Singapore Armoured Regiment, which saw him in charge of the morale and training of around 120 soldiers. The four months he spent training in Fort Knox with the US Army enabled him to understand the training methodology and planning processes.

One memorable moment he had was during the National Day Parade in 2014, when his Company was responsible for managing access points and crowd control.

“As a leader of soldiers from diverse backgrounds, it was gratifying to see them working in teams and going the extra mile to control access into the Floating Platform effectively and ensure the security of the event,” he says.

The diversity of his roles in the MINDEF/SAF also includes the opportunity to be part of the team that organized the inaugural Singapore India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue in June 2016.

“Such Ministerial-level engagements serve to improve security cooperation and deepen bilateral defence relations with other countries. It also gave me a macro perspective of our defence policies and allowed me to understand the importance of what we do.”

Says MAJ Wu: “If you want a career in the SAF, you need good analytical and reasoning skills and soft skills such as leadership and teamwork. The scholarship and the career experiences provided me the opportunities to grow and develop more holistically as a person. Without the professional development given by Our Army and the experiences that comes with the myriad of appointments, I would not be where I am now.”