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What is Total Defence


TD Logo


The way war is conducted today, our limited resources, the nature of our society and the size of our country, require that our country have a Total Defence capability which involves not only the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) but also the civilian population.


Through Total Defence, every sector of society is mobilised and has a part to play to ensure Singapore's security.


In Total Defence, our people are organised to defend the country against all forms of attack, both military and non-military. Total Defence comprises the 6 pillars viz. Military, Civil, Economic, Social, Digital and Psychological Defence.


Psychological Defence is each person's commitment to and confidence in the nation's future.


Social Defence is about people living and working together in harmony and spending time on the interests of the nation and community.


Economic Defence is the government, business and industry organising themselves to support the economy at all times. Individuals contribute by working hard and meeting the challenges of development. Those who continually improve themselves to stay relevant play an even bigger role.


Digital Defence requires every individual is the first line of defence against threats from the digital domain.


Civil Defence provides for the safety and basic needs of the whole community so that life may go on as normally as possible during emergencies.


Military Defence is having a strong Singapore Armed Forces to deter aggression and protect the country. It also involves citizens doing their part to support the military.


In short Total Defence is about everyone playing a part in the defence of Singapore.


For more details, please visit the Total Defence website.


What Is Civil Defence


Civil Defence provides for the safety and basic needs of the whole community so that life may go on as normally as possible during emergencies. It involves training the civilian population in rescue work, evacuation, first aid and damage control.


Civil Defence aims to produce a civilian population familiar with procedures for survival and protection, and with arrangements for relief services and emergency supply of critical items like blood, water and food. The knowledge and assurance that loved ones are cared for will fortify the morale of our citizen-soldiers in military training or fighting at the frontline.


Civil Defence complements and supports the other defence components of the nation's Total Defence.


SCDF's Role in Total Defence

Firing Water


SCDF is the organisation that spearheads civil defence plans and programmes in Singapore. It believes in being prepared so that minimum disruption to community life, environment and infrastructure is caused in the event of a disaster.


To that end, it garners all efforts to promote and institutionalise emergency preparedness among the civilian population. This includes the provision of resources - manpower and infrastructure - to educate the civilian population in civil defence knowledge; and to organise and provide training for them in basic civil defence skills. This way, everyone in Singapore should be able to look after himself / herself during an emergency.


Should an emergency occur and lives or property are threatened, the SCDF's regulars, (reinforced by its national servicemen and volunteers if the situation requires) can be counted on to respond round the clock to mitigate the situation.



What Is Total Defence Day

Each year Total Defence (TD) Day is commemorated on the 15th February. It marks Singapore's fall to the Japanese in 1942. The commemoration of Total Defence Day seeks to remind people of the sufferings endured by our fore fathers during the Japanese Occupation. It is also an occasion to refamiliarise our people with the modern defence strategy of "Total Defence" which Singapore has adopted to ensure our continued survival and security.


Most of our Total Defence Day activities involve participation of schools largely. Each year, the "Important Message" signal of the Public Warning System is sounded to commemorate the day. It is also a part of SCDF's continual effort to educate the public on the different meanings of the system.