Defence Force Focus — Canberra

sir yes sirSo, you want to be an Officer…?

If you can imagine the Australian Defence Force as a giant ‘football club’ then it is easier to understand the structure.

  • The fabric of the team are the players (soldiers),
  • then you have the coaches and administrators (officers)
  • followed by the bench warmers (reservists).

All need specific skills and the appropriate training methods to give them these skills.

Canberra (our Nation’s Capital) is home to the

  • ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy).
  • RMC (Royal Military College—Duntroon) and

These are training facilities for officers.

So… You might ask…

  • What training do you undertake to become an officer in the Defence Force?  AND….
  • What is the difference between the College (RMC) and the Academy (ADFA)?

I will attempt to clarify:


Australian Defence Force Academy

ADFA is a ‘tri-force’ University, where cadets from the Army, Air Force and Navy, study together.  Here you study a University Undergraduate Degree* as well as participate in military training.

*Undergraduate degrees in Arts, Business, Engineering, Science and Information Technology are on offer—taking up to 3 to 4 years to complete. 

ADFA “Cadets” are PAID to study, which is cool, however, for every year of study, you pay back with two years military service (plus one year at the end).  So a 3 year degree is 6 + 1 = 7.  A 4 year degree is 8 + 1 = 9.

UNSWIf you want to join ADFA, you need to submit TWO applications to:

  1. join the Australian Defence Force as an Officer in the Navy, Army or Air Force, and
  2. attend the University of New South Wales.

RMC DuntroonRMC

Royal Military Academy

This officer training service is for ARMY personnel only—however ADFA cadets also use the facilities.

At the Duntroon College (RMC) you concentrate on military communication, physical fitness and leadership development.

Training takes 18 months and assessment includes exams (you cannot avoid study!)

To be selected for RMC, you need to:

  • submit an application to join the Australian Defence Force (the same processes as regular soldiers).
  • Results from your aptitude test and psychological interview (both part of the application process) will determine your suitability to be an OFFICER.
  • Of particular interest to the recruitment team is your ability to communicate—as you can imagine, lives would be at risk if officers were unable to relay accurate information.

Hawt Officer Tips…

I recommend that you take every opportunity to develop your communication skills at school (from Oral English assignments to speeches at assemblies).

If you can showcase a history of leadership roles within your school and community, this will also make them sit up and pay attention.

You can find out all you need to know at the RMC & ADFA websites, so I do not need to retell facts you can find there.  However, here are some tips you may not find on their website:

Hawt+ Officer Tips…

adfa filling-out-formMANY potential recruits/cadets ‘fail’ to hand in their medical forms during recruitment, so their applications become null and void. Dah!

  • If you plan on joining the Defence Force (in whatever capacity), then you MUST be prepared to fill out MANY forms. You cannot take your MOTHER with you, so get used to doing it yourself! 

Remember, only 10% of applicants receive a ‘yes’ for officer training, which means you must be prepared to rethink your career pathway!

The Australian Defence Force recruiting services are always happy to answer questions—before you call, make sure you have done your on-line research!

CALL 13 19 01

Why 13 19 01? This coincides with the formation of the Australian Army on the 01/03/1901—three months after federation. Howz-at for a great factoid!



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