Playing a pivotal role in protecting Singapore's security and sovereignty, DXOs are non-uniformed professionals who serve the nation from a different line of defence. Sharing the same tenacity and working in synchrony with their uniformed counterparts, DXOs harness specialised skill sets of various disciplines to help advance our nation's defence interests.
Driven by their passion to serve the nation, we speak to Amelia Chung Ai Tian, a Finance Development Analyst in the Defence Finance Organisation (DFO), and Cho Yi Ting, a Community Engagement Executive in Nexus, to find out about their exciting DXO careers.
What sparked your interest to pursue a career as a DXO?
Amelia Chung Ai Tian: My family has always been a strong advocate of the critical role that defence plays in nation-building. Hence, choosing a career as a DXO was not so much of a choice, but more of a natural progression. Furthermore, while I was assessing the numerous jobs available, my current role stood out as it was an atypical job in the Civil Service – one that would enable me to see the full spectrum of policy-making.
Cho Yi Ting: Growing up, I knew that I wanted to pursue a rewarding career which would allow me to make a difference to people's lives. I was also inspired by my family and friends, many of whom are proud of their National Service contributions to make Singapore a safer home for all of us. My aunt, who served as a Warrant Officer before joining the DXO scheme, also encouraged me to consider a career with the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
Describe your current roles and responsibilities.
Amelia: I am a Finance Development Analyst in the Finance Professional Development Branch, which is part of the Financial Governance and Development Department (FGDD) in DFO. While traditional policy departments focus solely on policy formulation, DFO finds that training and compliance are also pivotal to the successful implementation of policies.
One of my key responsibilities is to develop training and communication initiatives to build the professional competency and values of the Finance Community in MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). This includes conceptualising engagement campaigns which are launched across various platforms and establishing course curriculums to enhance knowledge absorption and retention.
Yi Ting: As a Community Engagement Executive, one of my key roles is to engage MINDEF's stakeholders – such as SAF personnel and students – to strengthen their support for and commitment to defence. This includes developing and implementing National Education (NE) and other defence-related programmes for them. I feel a great sense of fulfilment when these programmes come to fruition after all the behind-the-scenes preparation, and make an impact on the individuals who have experienced them. It is especially encouraging to receive positive feedback from participants who walked away feeling a deeper sense of personal responsibility for our defence.
Amelia Chung Ai Tian
Finance Development Analyst
Share with us about your most memorable experiences on the job.
Amelia: As a member of FGDD, I am given the opportunity to evaluate the financial feasibility of several MINDEF and SAF initiatives. This enables me to get a preview of the concepts and key considerations behind some of the large-scale public events, such as the Army Open House (AOH). It was an eye-opening experience assessing the budgetary requirements of the AOH and working alongside the SAF team to ensure financial prudence, while maintaining the pomp and decorum appropriate for this significant event.
While some may have the misconception of military officers being hierarchical and rank-conscious, all of that dissipated when I worked with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ng Siang Tian, who helmed the financial aspect of the event. LTC Ng was extremely co-operative and patient in explaining requirements which were more technical in nature. Working with LTC Ng and his team was truly an experience to behold as that, to me, encapsulated the essence of teamwork – individuals from different backgrounds working in unison to achieve a common goal.
Yi Ting: 2014 marked the 30th year of Total Defence (TD) for Singapore. One of the first Nexus-organised public events that I attended was an interactive exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore called Total Defence 30: An Experiential Showcase. While I was very impressed with the exhibition experience, what struck me most was the strong sense of cohesiveness and unity in Nexus. It was "all hands on deck" – everyone played their part to make the event a success!
In addition, one of the key projects I had undertaken was to develop and implement the Commitment to Defence (C2D) Ambassadors Programme. These C2D Ambassadors are SAF veterans or Operationally Ready National Servicemen who conduct engagement sessions with SAF personnel and students. They would draw NE lessons from historical events and past military operations, as well as share personal stories about their struggles, experiences and successes in the face of adversity.
As part of setting up this programme, I had the opportunity of meeting many SAF pioneers. As they began sharing about their experiences, I was awed and humbled by how much they had sacrificed to build up the SAF, as well as their unwavering commitment to Singapore's defence. Their eagerness to come on board our programme to impart lessons and values to the younger generation was touching. I have learnt a lot from their stories, and it reinforced my belief that many more will benefit greatly from their sharing too.
Cho Yi Ting
Executive (Community Engagement 1), Nexus
What are some unique opportunities fresh graduates can look forward to at MINDEF?
Amelia: The opportunities are boundless in MINDEF. You can choose to specialise in different domains, from Finance to Media and even International Relations. Many have likened MINDEF to a mini Civil Service as we have autonomy over our policies with a wide breadth of areas to be explored.
Yi Ting: MINDEF places great emphasis on each DXO's learning and development. The Human Resource department meticulously plans for courses which groom our competencies and functional job skills at various points in our careers. Additionally, we are each provided with a training fund. This empowers us to take charge of our personal training and attend courses relevant to our current roles, or areas of work that we are keen to explore in the future.