Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship
Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship, abbreviated as SAFOS, is a scholarship issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC). The SAFOS is second in prestige to the President's Scholarship. 292 of such scholarships have been awarded as of the year 2013.
SAFOS scholars are groomed for the highest levels of command and management in the SAF and beyond. They generally do another post-graduate degree in Master of Business Administration or Master in Public Policy overseas in the middle of their careers to prepare themselves for appointments beyond the Singapore Armed Forces. Upon graduation, SAFOS scholars go through different tour of duty from other cadet officers.
The scholarship is awarded to outstanding officer cadets with excellent A level/IB results, impressive co-curricular activities and outstanding performance in Officer Cadet School. Candidates must also graduate from Basic Military Training (BMT) with an acceptable leadership score and excel in their individual fitness test (IPPT).
After they are selected through rigorous rounds of interviews, scholars must complete and pass the 9-month Officer Cadet Course and receive their commission, before leaving for undergraduate studies. Medical/Dentistry candidates will disrupt from their cadet course for studies before returning for a 3-month Medical Officer Cadet Course (MOCC). Upon graduation, they return to serve in the Singapore Armed Forces.
Their overseas studies typically takes place in the United Kingdom or United States. Popular choices amongst scholars include universities such as Imperial College London, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Princeton University, University of Chicago, and University of California, Berkeley.
Graduates receive their promotion to the rank of Captain (CPT) after a year of returning to service, thereafter serve 2-year command/instructor/staff tours, typically reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) and receive their battalion command by their 12-year of service. The rapid promotion and high salaries is to maintain competitiveness for the best minds in a highly-educated society.
Most scholars will achieve post-graduate qualifications in Public Administration or Engineering from Ivy-League or top British Universities. It is also common for these scholars to be headhunted to join the private sector or inducted into political service.
Notable Past Recipients
- Lee Hsien Loong (Current Prime Minister of Singapore)
- Teo Chee Hean (Current Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore)
- Lim Hng Kiang (Former Minister for Industry)
- Lim Swee Say (Former Minister for Manpower)
- Chan Chun Sing (Current Minister for Trade and Industry)
- Tan Chuan Jin (Current Speaker of Parliament)
- George Yeo (former foreign minister of Singapore)
- Peter Ho (former head of the Civil Service)
- Lee Seow Hiang (chief executive of Changi Airport Group)
- Perry Lim (Businessman)
- Melvyn Ong (Chief of Defence Force)
- Lew Chuen Hong (Chief of Navy of SAF)
- Lim Chuan Poh (former Chairman of A*STAR)
- Ng Chee Peng (former CEO of Central Provident Fund Board)
- Ng Chee Khern (Permanent Secretary of Prime Minister’s Office)
- Neo Kian Hong (CEO, Singapore MRT Limited)
- Lim Neo Chian (Chairman of AVA)
- Lee Hsien Yang (former Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore)
- Desmond Kuek (Banker)
- Bey Soo Khiang (Businessman)
1. Speech by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the 2013 Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship Award Presentation Ceremony http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/press_room/official_releases/sp/2013/29jul13_speech.html