08 Jul 2019

First Reading of Home Team Science and Technology Agency Bill

Home Team Science and Technology Agency to bring together and integrate scientific and engineering expertise across Home Team departments for enhanced capabilities

 

The Home Team Science and Technology Agency Bill was introduced for First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill sets out the scope and purposes of the Home Team Science and Technology Agency, which will drive innovation and develop technologies, to enhance the Home Team’s effectiveness in safeguarding Singapore.

 

Background

 

  1. The Home Team is in the midst of a multi-year effort to transform the way it operates, given the continuing terrorism threat situation and an ever-evolving operational landscape with criminals employing more sophisticated methods. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will increase its investment in Science and Technology (S&T) from $979M in FY2019 to $1.9B in FY2025, and a key initiative supporting this will be the setting up of a dedicated S&T agency.

     

    Areas of Expertise

     

  2. MHA has over the years partnered other Government agencies and industry partners to develop capabilities for the Home Team. As we look to keep pace with changes in the operating environment and further leverage technology, we will require a dedicated agency to more effectively develop and harness the Home Team’s in-house S&T capabilities, focusing on those which are unique and critical to the Home Team’s operations.

     

  3. The dedicated S&T agency will lead S&T research and development for the Home Team. It will focus on scientific domains critical to the Home Team’s operations, such as sense-making & surveillance (e.g. POLCAM), forensics (for investigations into crimes, drugs, document fraud and fires), digital forensics, CBRNE (Chemicals, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives) threats, biometrics, command-and-control systems, data analytics & artificial intelligence as well as robotics & unmanned systems.

     

  4. The agency will also oversee procurement for the Home Team, and consolidate and streamline the procurement processes.

     

     

    Integration of Home Team S&T Officers

     

  5. The dedicated S&T agency will centrally recruit, develop and manage S&T manpower for the Home Team. As a start, it will bring together more than 1,000 research scientists, engineers, and technical staff from the Home Team departments.The agency will also plan to grow its S&T capacity in terms of quality and quantity going forward. In integrating the range of S&T capabilities, the agency aims to develop leading-edge innovations that will have a force multiplying effect and contribute significantly to the success of the Home Team’s mission.

     

    Partnerships

     

  6. With the setting up of the dedicated S&T agency, MHA will continue to foster partnerships and collaborations with other established entities in the S&T field, including other government agencies, institutes of higher learning and industry partners.

     

    Timeline

     

  7. The Second Reading of the Home Team Science and Technology Agency Bill is slated to take place in August, and the agency to be established as a statutory board under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in December 2019.

 

 

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