The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) welcomed Rear Admiral Aaron Beng as its new Chief of Navy at a Change of Command Parade held at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base March 23. During the parade, RAdm Beng took over the Navy’s symbol of command from the outgoing navy chief, RAdm Lew Chuen Hong. The parade was witnessed by the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Melvyn Ong, and attended by senior officials from MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), as well as servicemen and women from the RSN.
In his farewell speech, RAdm Lew thanked the men and women of the RSN for their hard work and sacrifice, for being the frontline of defence for Singapore. He said, “Your strength underpins the peace and sovereignty of our tiny city state. Your eternal vigilance guarantees our access to the sea – the sea that carries the food we need for our survival, the fuel that produces our water, and underpins the economic success of our maritime nation.”
RAdm Beng, 38, joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 2000. During the course of his military career, he has held, amongst others, the appointments of Commanding Officer of the frigate RSS Intrepid, Commanding Officer of the Frigate Squadron, Director of the Defence Policy Office, Fleet Commander, and Chief of Staff – Naval Staff.
The outgoing navy chief, RAdm Lew, 43, has held the post of Chief of Navy since June 16, 2017, and has served the SAF with distinction since 1995. He led the inter-agency Crisis Management Group that deals with maritime security risks such as terrorist threats, and oversaw maritime security operations during the North Korea-US Singapore Summit and the 2018 ASEAN Summit. RAdm Lew also drove organisational changes and capability development to strengthen RSN’s operational readiness. These include the construction of the four Invincible-class submarines and the commissioning of all eight Independence-class littoral mission vessels. He also initiated the multi-role combat vessel project to replace the Victory-class missile corvette. During RAdm Lew’s tenure, the RSN furthered Singapore’s defence space as well, through co-organising the inaugural ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise and contributing towards the inaugural ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise; and, as co-chairman of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Maritime Security, led the adoption of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) by all 18 ADMM-Plus nations.
In light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 situation, the parade proceeded with enhanced precautionary measures, which included a reduction in the number of invited guests. All guests were required to undergo temperature screening and declare their travel history, and were seated at least one metre apart.