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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainability as a Defence Capability: Assessing Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategies for Singapore.

Sustainability is understandably perceived to be a secondary objective within the defence and national security domain. The role and purpose of defence and national security within society are typically considered too essential or uneconomical to be diverted by environmentally focused sustainable development initiatives. However, the contribution of defence towards anthropogenic climate change is far from trivial and presents significant environmental risks for society as well as strategic and operational challenges for armed forces. Meanwhile, other military organisations such as the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in Singapore are facing new challenges in an increasingly uncertain operating environment that will demand innovative solutions. For example, the increasing energy footprint of frontline forces resulting from rapid motorisation and the shift towards Network-­‐Centric Warfare (NCW) through greater integration of Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C4I) systems has escalated the logistical demands that act to constrain the capability of armed forces.  If sustainable technologies and principles could provide opportunities for military organisations to mitigate strategic vulnerabilities or create operational capabilities, it would potentially nudge the course of the military institution, allowing defence organisations to achieve future mission success with greater sustainability as a by-­‐product. This paper aims to explore and review the performance of sustainability initiatives adopted by the MoD and the DoD from a defence perspective, assessing their applicability to MINDEF in Singapore. It will highlight future trends and challenges faced by the military domain and conceptualise how sustainability can provide promising solutions.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.