Full-time National Service (NS) is an essential part of our nationhood and a rite of passage for every Singaporean and Permanent Resident (PR) male. While some may find it demanding, it is absolutely critical for maintaining our sovereignty. To understand why, it may be worth spending some time to read through the following information and acquaint yourself with the history and facts of NS.
What NS is
NS is a mandatory conscription and duty that every male citizen and PR must undertake upon attaining the age of 18. NS can be served in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) or Singapore Police Force (SPF).
NS has been the cornerstone of Singapore’s defence and security since independence. Our national servicemen form the backbone of these three uniformed Services that keep Singapore safe and secure.
To date, more than 900,000 male Singaporeans have served NS and journeyed through this rite of passage. For many, this defining experience bonds servicemen from different backgrounds and across generations.
You will be in the active service as a full-time National Serviceman (NSF) for two years.
After your full-time NS, you will become an Operationally Ready National Serviceman (NSman). Your NSman obligation will end at the age of 50 if you are an Officer or have special skills. Otherwise, you will serve until the age of 40.
Why you need to serve NS
The need for NS became clear when Singapore gained independence in 1965. It would not have been possible to raise a regular force of a sufficient size to protect this island state given our small population. For over 50 years, NS has evolved into a national institution that is well accepted and a part of our way of life.
Our servicemen’s roles have also expanded. Beyond protecting Singapore from armed conflicts, our servicemen are now involved in countering terrorism, dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters and tackling health epidemics. In 1975, the first intake of Police full-time National Servicemen was enlisted and deployed for peacetime and emergency functions. The SCDF enlisted its first intake of NSFs in 1981 to provide emergency services to the nation during peacetime and crises. Today, the changing roles of our servicemen reflect the need for NS to evolve and keep pace with the changes in our society as well as our threat environment.
NS, as the bedrock of our fighting force and national security, remains critical for Singapore’s continued survival and success. A strong defence underpins the peace and prosperity we enjoy by safeguarding Singapore’s independence and sovereignty.
Our website has detailed information on the key milestones in the entire pre-enlistment process.
NS history and stories
Find out interesting facts about the SAF since its founding post-independence and learn about the history of Singapore's military. Our roots go back to 1854 when the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps was formed under colonial rule!