Making the SCDF Rescue Battalion more efficient and streamlined

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Improved efficiency at SCDF Rescue Battalion – The SCDF Rescue Battalion has undergone a review to enhance its efficiency.

The SCDF Rescue Battalion (RBn) is the main Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) rescue unit in SCDF. Its key role is to conduct rescue operations during major emergencies. In 2018, the Review Committee comprising commanders and officers from the existing RBn completed a comprehensive review of the RBn’s structure to streamline the unit and dovetail with other operational developments in SCDF.


Following the review, the structure of the RBn has been transformed into two independent units – the Rescue Unit (RU) and the Medical Unit (MU). The implementation of the RU and MU enhances SCDF’s main ORNS rescue unit with the capability and flexibility to be deployed together or separately, allowing for more efficient resource deployment during emergencies. The RU and MU equipping will also be enhanced and improved with the aim of upgrading the units’ operational capabilities.

The RU structure remains largely similar to the RBn structure except for the downsizing of the Rescue Platoons (from 4 sections to 3) and Rescue Sections (from 6 rescuers to 5) within each Rescue Company to reflect a leaner and more mobile rescue outfit. In this way, each Rescue Company would also be more closely aligned with SCDF’s Operations Lion-Heart Contingent (OLHC). These manpower reductions enable the scarce ORNS resources to be better optimised while still meeting SCDF’s operational requirements during national emergencies.

As for the MU, it is made up of 2 Medical Platoons, previously part of the RBn. The MU will comprise components that allow it to function as an independent unit, such as a HQ element for command and control, as well as operational support elements. Based on the estimated number of casualties at the incident site, the MUs can be deployed as a full-fledged unit or as standalone Medical Platoons. This dynamic deployment will offer more flexibility and allow for cross-boundary deployment of resources.


The introduction of the Home Team Retail Mega-Mart (HTRM) and SCDF Corporate Services Hubs has also pathed the way to reduce the organic support functions within the RU and MU. The HTRM and Corporate Services Hubs will centralise these logistics support functions and enable the optimisation of personnel currently deployed for these purposes.


To provide more opportunities for progression and training of ORNSmen, a comprehensive progression framework has been developed to map out the development of ORNSmen across their 7-year ICT. ORNSmen who display exceptional leadership potential may progress to take on additional leadership roles. The implementation of the new RU and MU lays the foundation for leaner and more efficient units that can effectively meet the demands of major and prolonged emergencies. Through the various enhancements to the structure, ORNSmen will be able to take on greater responsibilities during operations and further bolster the support provided to SCDF’s frontline units.

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