Last Updated: 25 November, 2014


1.0     Introduction

Training is the process of preparing men and women for their careers in the military. Training is progressive and continues all the way through an individual’s career; being a mixture of mandatory, optional, individual and collective training and educational programmes.

Australian Army Soldiers receive some of the best military training in the world and there are a number of stages to their training. First, they will complete Phase 1 initial (basic) military training, the purpose of which is to turn civilian recruits into partly-trained soldiers (providing foundational skills) and is part of the All Corps Training Continuum. The Australian Army’s Phase 1 initial military training produces fit, motivated individuals capable of carrying out local protection tasks in any operational environment. Those who pass are fully prepared to embark onto Phase 2 of their Army training.

When individuals complete their initial training, they will move to their Corps school for Phase 2 Initial Employment Training (IET) which qualifies individuals for their chosen profession within the Army. The length and location of this training will depend on the job the individual has chosen. From there individuals will begin their work within an Army unit, but will continue to train and learn throughout their career.

The Australian Army is structured into a number of different functional groups, called Corps. For example, the Transport Corps is responsible for the movement of personnel and equipment.

This article is divided into seven sections for easier reading with part one providing some background information, whilst section two looks at the organisation of training in the Australian Army. Sections three, four and five outline the training provided to recruit soldiers and officer cadets, including some of the personalities and training facilities involved. Section six will provide an alternative view on the role of Phase 1 initial training. Finally, section seven will provide some useful links and also references.

1.1     Structure of the Australian Army

The Australian Army is currently undergoing a period of restructure as part of Plan BEERSHEBA (Australian Army, 2014) and Army Headquarters is not immune. Figure 1 provides an overview of the structure of the Australian Army as of April 2014.

00,02a - Fig1, Structure of Army

Figure 1: Structure of the Australian Army

1.2     Army Training Continuum

The Australian Army Training Continuum (Figure 2) is the ongoing process through which the Australian Army trains, educates and develops its personnel and component capabilities. The continuum is structured to integrate the training needs of individuals and the collective requirements of small and large organisations. It also adapts to changing requirements emerging from experiences gained from own forces and those of allied nations. The Army Training Continuum consists of three training/learning tiers:

  1. Individual Training: provides the attitudes, knowledge and skills (ASK) elements required for individual task performance at job standard in the conditions demanded on operations. Individual proficiency provides the basis for collective training. Individual training comprises both All Corps (Officer and Soldier) Training Continuum and Special-to-Corps training.
  2. Collective Training: involves the training of one or more crews, detachments, sub-units, units and formations in the conduct of military operations.
  3. Organisational Learning: is the review of an activity or experience to extract the lessons that enable organisations and individuals to adapt to new or changing circumstances. It includes both operational and non-operational activities, as well as those of other allies or organisations of interest.

00,02a - Fig2, Training Continuum

Figure 2: Australian Army Training Continuum (Source: Australian Army, 2014, p.29)

To respond to Government direction and changing operational requirements, the Army must be agile. The Army Training Continuum was developed to ensure the Army is prepared to effectively respond to change. The application of the Army Training Continuum and the process of force generation operate in conjunction with one another.

1.3     Training Approach

The induction of any recruit (officer or other rank) into the Army is one of the most important phases of their military career. The experience and attitudes they gain during this time will help to form the soldier’s character and approach to the Army. It is critical for initial (Phase 1) training establishments to ensure that soldiers under training become proficient in the basic skills required by every soldier. The training emphasis should be on progressive development and achievement throughout the initial training programme.


2.0     An Overview of the Australian Army’s Phase 1 Initial Military Training Landscape

The Australian Army is currently undergoing a period of restructure as part of Plan BEERSHEBA (Australian Army, 2014). As part of this plan, training establishments are being regularly reviewed and as structural and capability changes are rolled out across the wider-Army, changes are also made with the individual training establishments as required.

With this in mind, the structure and organisation of the Australian Army’s training establishments depends principally on the training requirement for employment categories. Specific areas of individual training that will undergo change over the next few years include (Australian Army, 2014):

  • Protected Mobility Vehicle (Bushmaster) training will transfer from the Combined Arms Training Centre to the Army Logistics Training Centre;
  • M113AS3/4 training will be reintroduced into the Royal Australian Armoured Corps as part of an overarching review of Corps employment category and training continuums; and
  • Battlefield management system training will transition from introduction into service to ongoing in-service training.

Figures 3 and 4 provide an overview of the current, June 2014, Australian Army Phase 1 initial military training landscape.

00,02a - Fig3, Initial Training Landscape

Figure 3: Australian Army Phase 1 initial military training landscape

00,02a - Fig4, Phase 1 Trg by Age, Entry Type & LocationFigure 4: Australian Army Phase 1 initial military training by age, entry type and location.


  1. ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy) entry requirements:
  2. ADFA General Entry Army Officers must successfully complete three years at ADFA. Then they will undertake a year of military training at RMC-D, after which they will be commissioned as a Lieutenant. Officers will then take up their first appointment in an Army unit or return to ADFA for an honours year or the fourth year of an engineering degree.
  3. Maximum age guidelines are set to ensure the Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) is met prior to the compulsory retirement age of 60.
  4. Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

2.1     Forces Command

Forces Command (FORCOMD) was established on 01 July 2009 with the amalgamation of Land and Training Commands, and the transfer of the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades into its structure, making it the Army’s largest functional command.

The mission of FORCOMD is to generate the Australian Army’s foundation warfighting capability in order to ensure individuals and force elements are successful in Adaptive Campaigning. Headquarters FORCOMD is located in Victoria Barracks, Sydney and is commanded by a Major General.

Headquarters FORCOMD manages approximately 85% of the Army’s personnel as highlighted in Figure 5.

00,02a - Fig5, Structure of FORCOMD

Figure 5: Structure of FORCOMD

FORCOMD tenders and contracts some training and training support activities to industry. These procurement opportunities are facilitated using the AusTender (Approach to Market) model.

2.1.1  SO1 Training Concepts

The SO1 (Staff Officer Grade 1) Training Concepts is a Lieutenant Colonel whose role is to develop training and education options and responses to meet Army’s future development requirements. As such, SO1 Training Concepts will:

  1. Lead on training analysis and systems design for Adaptive Campaigning – Future Land Operating Concept. Analysing tactical through to strategic trends and expanding the scope of Army training to meet contemporary and future operating requirements. Task covers traditional military skills through to cross-cultural awareness, strategic communications and influence, leadership and management.
  2. Development Lead on the Common Training Platform; a scenario-based, flexible learning system supporting individual and collective training, education and change management.

2.2     Royal Military College of Australia

The Royal Military College of Australia (RMC-A) is responsible for delivering initial and ongoing common foundation warfighting training and education that is aligned throughout the All Corps (Officer and Soldier) Training Continuums. This organisation encompasses both Part-time and Full-time training. The Headquarters of RMC-A is located at Duntroon, Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

The RMC-A was raised on 01 July 2009 under the then new FORCOMD organisation. RMC-A commands three units:

  • The Army Recruit Training Centre in Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga (see Part 3);
  • The Royal Military College – Duntroon in Canberra (see Part 4); and
  • The Land Warfare Centre in Canungra.

The Royal Military College of Australia also works in conjunction with 2nd Division for the delivery of Army Reserve Training.

The RMC-As role is twofold:

  1. To provide initial training for soldiers and officers; and
  2. To preserve and enhance the Australian Army’s foundation warfighting training throughout a soldier’s and officer’s career in the Army.

As such, the RMC-A is responsible for all courses within the All Corps (Officer and Soldier) Training Continuums, which begins with enlistment training and continues with career courses at an intermediate, advanced and command level. This process ensures that Army members have the ASK elements required for them to support the delivery of Army capability throughout their careers in the Australian Army.

2.2.1  Commandant RMC-A

The Commandant of the RMC-A, a Brigadier, is the senior officer at Duntroon and is ultimately responsible to the Chief of Army for the commissioning of junior officers into the Australian Army. Historically, the Commandant’s focus was purely on ‘point of entry’ officer training.

However, in 2011 the Commandant was given the legal authority as a formation commander to command the Army’s key training establishments (as identified above). As such, the Commandant is responsible for all Army-common courses for all ranks from the rank of Private to Major. Since 2011 the Commandant RMC-A has been responsible to the Commander FORCOMD for the efficient and effective delivery of individual training to provide the aligned prerequisites for employment within the Army.

2.3     Australian Defence College

The Australian Defence College (ADC) is part of the Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) Group and is led by the Commander Australian Defence College (COMADC), an OF-7 level officer. ADC is Defence’s centre of expertise in vocational and professional education and training, together with related research in areas of Defence interest.

The ADC is governed by the Australian Defence College Advisory Board which provides advice to COMADC on major issues relating to the ADC. ADC consists of:

  • ADC Headquarters;
  • The Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS);
  • The Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC);
  • The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), see Part 5;
  • The Defence Learning Branch (DLB); and
  • A number of other Learning Centres.

A detailed description of ADC can be found here [still to be written!].


3.0     Introduction

The Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC), known as ‘The Home of the Soldier’, is based at Blamey Barracks, Kapooka near Wagga Wagga.

The purpose of ARTC is to train and prepare the Australian Army’s newest soldier recruits to the required standards in core military knowledge and skills, and to develop in them soldierly qualities.

The skills learnt at Kapooka form the foundation of a career as a soldier and are called upon for years to come. Recruits walk out of ARTC a stronger and more confident person, with a wealth of new experiences to draw upon. They will undergo physical training and drills and learn valuable skills such as first aid. They will also receive basic military and weapons combat training. Navigation, drill and advanced field craft are also covered.

3.1     Background

3.1.1  Kapooka and Blamey Barracks

The name Kapooka is derived from the local aboriginal dialect and means “Place of Winds”. The barracks were named after one of Australia’s most distinguished soldiers and the “only Australian ever to hold the rank of Field Marshal”; Sir Thomas Albert Blamey, GBE, KCB, CMG (Jobson, 2009, p.102). Field Marshal Blamey was born in Wagga Wagga on 24 January 1884 and commenced his military career there, when he was appointed as Second in Command of the school cadet unit at Newton Public School (now South Wagga Public School); where he was a teacher.

3.1.2  During World War II

The site that was to become ARTC was established on a property on the southern slopes of the Pomingalarna Reserve in 1942 as a direct result of defence needs during World War II. As a part of the Royal Australian Engineers Centre thousands of engineers were trained in basic soldiering skills as well as engineering duties. In addition 47,000 regular soldiers also trained at the barracks from 1942 to 1945. The location was also the camp for members of the Australian Women’s Army Service who acted as orderlies, drivers and hospital staff during that period of time.

3.1.3  After World War II

Following the Second World War the barracks became the 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1RTB) until November 1951, with Lieutenant Colonel V.E. Dowdy appointed as the first Commanding Officer. During 1952 and 1953, 1RTB was joined by 2nd Recruit Training Battalion in temporary buildings on the ridge south of the main camp.

Most of the current facilities were constructed during 1965 and 1966 and officially opened on 6 December 1966 by the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler, VC, KCMG, CBE. 1RTB conducted training for both national service and regular Army recruits, and during the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1972, in excess of 10,000 National Service men trained at Kapooka.

3.1.4  Recent History

In 1985 the ARTC (then called 1RTB) became responsible for the training of female recruits, who were previously trained at the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) School at Georges Heights in Sydney.

ARTC took on the additional responsibility of training some reserve recruits from 1993.

The Army Adventurous Training Wing moved from Bonegilla, Victoria to Blamey Barracks in 1998. ARTC had two training wings, Recruit Training Wing (now 1RTB) that trained all the regular and reserve recruits for the Army, and the Army Adventurous Training Wing that trained unit adventurous training leaders.

3.2     Headquarters ARTC

Within the Kapooka Military Area there are several sub-units which are coordinated by Headquarters (HQ) ARTC. HQ ARTC is headed by the Commandant ARTC, a Colonel, who is aided by a Deputy Commandant, a Lieutenant Colonel. Sub-units coordinated by HQ ARTC include:

  • 1st Recruit Training Battalion;
  • Adventurous Training Wing;
  • Training Development Wing;
  • Australian Army Band Kapooka;
  • Kapooka Health Centre; and
  • Psychology Support Section.

3.3     1st Recruit Training Battalion

The 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1 RTB) is the organisation primarily responsible for the training of the Army’s newest soldiers. The mission of 1RTB is to ensure that recruits are taught the basic skills and qualities expected of an Australian soldier. In October 2006, Recruit Training Wing formally changed its name back to the 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1RTB). The Commanding Officer of 1RTB is a Lieutenant Colonel.

All soldiers who join the Australian Army, regardless of their future role, will conduct their initial military training at Kapooka and this is where they transform from civilian to soldier. Recruits learn to develop such qualities as teamwork, self discipline, physical and moral courage and the will to win.

There are two types of recruit courses conducted at 1RTB, namely:

  1. The 80-day Army Recruit Course for members of the Australian Regular Army; and
  2. The 28-day Reserve Recruit Training Course for members of the Army Reserve.

These courses both cover a wide range of skill sets, including living in the field environment, weapon handling, battle craft, bayonet fighting and navigation. Recruits are also taught parade drill and the customs, traditions and values of the Australian Army. Once these basic skills are taught and the recruits have graduated, they are then posted to an Initial Employment Training (IET) School where they will be further trained in the respective Corps trades or skills required for their role.

3.3.1  Structure of 1RTB

1RTB is structured in much the same way as a traditional infantry battalion, with a battalion headquarters, subordinate training companies and a support company. Each Recruit Training Company at 1RTB is commanded by a commissioned officer at the rank of Major, known as the Officer Commanding (OC). The OC of the Company is responsible for the overall management of up to six Recruit Training Platoons.

A Recruit Training Platoon is commanded by a Lieutenant and administered by a Sergeant. As a team they make up the Platoon Headquarters who are responsible for the platoon’s management, instruction, discipline, administration and welfare throughout the conduct of training.

Under command of the Platoon Headquarters are four sections, commanded by Junior Non Commissioned Officers (JNCO) identified in rank as Corporal (all Corps) or Bombardier (from the Royal Australian Artillery); they are the hub of training at 1st Recruit Training Battalion.

NCOs are specially trained to become Recruit Instructor’s (RIs) and in their role they are expected to achieve high standards at all times. RIs are charged with providing training in:

  • Drill (Foot and Rifle);
  • Weapons handling and live fire coaching;
  • Field craft;
  • Personal administration;
  • Discipline and other military subjects.

RIs are also trained specifically in personal counselling and are able to provide support and guidance to recruits in the management of personal issues.

3.3.2  Recruit Instructors

Prior to instructing at Kapooka, soldiers are mandated to attend and successfully complete three courses, designed to be undertaken consecutively, which will qualify them as Recruit Instructor’s. These courses are the:

  1. Marksmanship Instructor Course (MIC): A 5-day course which aims to qualify selected members of the ADF as Marksmanship Instructors, Module One, for employment as Recruit Instructors (RIs) at 1 RTB. The MIC is the first course conducted as part of the Recruit Instructor suite of courses.
  2. Recruit Instructors Course (RIC): A 21-day course. RIs have a significant influence over the Army’s newest soldiers. RIs must at all times conduct themselves within the finest traditions of the Army. The way a RI conveys their intent, attitudes, beliefs, dress and bearing and the way they promote the Army ethos has a direct influence over the Army newest soldiers. The quality of the RI is of vital importance to the future of our Army. The RIC will enhance instructional and leadership skills in order to be the role model for our newest soldiers. The nature of the RIC is to develop selected officers, Senior NCOs (SNCO) and JNCOs in the competencies of instruction, counselling, leadership and administration required to successfully train Army recruits at 1 RTB.
  3. Qualified Assessors (QA) Course: A 4-day course whose aims are achieved through residential training without the need for post course gathering of evidence (i.e. a portfolio). The course content incorporates the latest doctrine and policies and is conveyed by means of central presentations, syndicate discussions and practical activities. An adult learning environment is fostered whereby both trainees and instructional staff provide effort towards the achievement of the aim. By the end of the course, trainees should have achieved the course competencies required to perform tasks as workplace assessors within 1 RTB.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the Australian Army have developed a pathway for Army personnel to study CSU’s Associate Degree of Adult and Vocational Education to formally recognise their skills and gain civilian tertiary qualifications. Further information can be found at the Charles Sturt University website and the Army’s website.

3.4     Adventurous Training Wing

The Adventurous Training (AT) Wing is responsible for delivering realistic and challenging adventure training to the Australian Army. AT aims to target certain individual and group qualities that both leaders and soldiers require on the battlefield. Members of Army need to not only be physically fit and have the skills to fight, they need to have the mental resilience, courage, determination and desire to work as a team to win the battle. AT can emulate the characteristics of the battlefield and place both junior leaders and soldiers in difficult, uncertain situations, often out of their respective comfort zones where they must react.

3.5     Other ARTC Sub-Units

There are a number of smaller sections within the Kapooka Military area including Mental Health and Psychology section and a Military Police section. Kapooka Health Centre (KHC) is a level two medical facility with a 50 bed ward with six isolation beds, limited resuscitation and paramedic capability, whose staff provides medical care for all ARTC staff and recruits. KHC also includes medical services such as physiotherapy and dental. These sections play a vital role in ensuring that recruit training is conducted effectively and efficiently. ARTC is also home to the Australian Army Band Kapooka which provides music for military ceremonies.

3.6     Outline of Training

In short, recruit soldiers are trained to be able to shoot, communicate, survive and adapt; the skills required of the modern soldier. Recruit soldiers must be able to effectively:

  • Employ basic infantry weapons;
  • Navigate;
  • Operate communications equipment;
  • Survive in multiple threat environments in urban, close and open terrain, by day and by night and against both conventional and unconventional threats.

Recruit soldiers must be comfortable in uncertain, volatile, complex and ambiguous situations as this leads to success on the battlefield. Most importantly, they must live and embody the Army values and demonstrate core soldier behaviours, including courage, initiative and teamwork. They must be an expert in close combat, physically tough, mentally prepared, committed to continuous improvement and demonstrate compassion.

3.7     Kapooka March Out Guide

The ARTC has developed a very good guide to the March Out, which is also filled with other relevant information related to ARTC and Kapooka.

3.8     Phase 2: Initial Employment Training

Phase 2 Initial Employment Training (IET) follows Basic Training and prepares soldiers for the specific job they will ultimately be doing. The length, location and recognised qualifications of this training are dependent on the job. After this soldiers will be sent to an Army unit and their career as a soldier will have begun.


4.0     Introduction

The Royal Military College – Duntroon (RMC-D) is located in Canberra and is led by the Commanding Officer RMC-D, a Lieutenant Colonel. RMC-D provides in depth military training to Officer Cadets, known as Staff Cadets, on a variety of course to both Regular and Reserve personnel.

4.1     Background

The Royal Military College – Duntroon was planned in 1902 when the first Commander of the Australian Military Forces, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, recommended that a military college be established for the training of officers for the permanent military forces.

Its first Commandant, Brigadier General William Throsby Bridges chose the former sheep station at Duntroon as the site for the new Military College, and in June 1911, the Governor-General, Lord Dudley, opened the college and announced that it would be called the Royal Military College – Duntroon.

Today the charter of the Royal Military College is to prepare Cadets and other selected candidates for careers in the Army. Staff Cadets, on graduating from the Royal Military College are commissioned as officers in the Australian Army with the rank of Lieutenant.

4.2     Corps of Staff Cadets

The Corps of Staff Cadets is a hierarchical organisation which is structurally based on an infantry battalion, including company, platoon and section appointments, and is supervised by the staff of RMC-D. Staff Cadets are allocated to one of the five companies of the Corps while progressing from III Class to I Class over the course of the eighteen months.

The purpose of the Corps of Staff Cadets is to prepare Cadets and other selected candidates for a career in the Australian Army by:

  • Promoting leadership and integrity;
  • Inspiring high ideals in the pursuit of excellence; and
  • Inculcating a sense of duty, loyalty and service to the nation.

The curriculum at RMC-D currently extends over eighteen months and is derived of three classes, which is shorter than the original four-year degree course offered to Cadets at the college’s inception. Degrees are no longer offered at RMC-D which trains only Army and Ground Defence Guards (of the RAAF) in military tactics and leadership. RMC-D’s tri-service neighbour, the ADFA (see Part 5), offers degree courses to Cadets of the Army, RAN and RAAF.

The five companies of the Corps of Staff Cadets, each commanded by a Captain, are:

  1. Alamein Company: is named after the World War II battle in North Africa and consists of Cobb, Magno and Sanderson Platoons.
  2. Gallipoli Company: is named after the World War I battle in Turkey. It consists of Chunuk Bair, Lone Pine and Krithia Platoons, each one a significant milestone in the ANZAC history.
  3. Kapyong Company: is named after the 1952 battle during the Korean War and consists of Madden, Montgomerie and Saunders Platoons.
  4. Kokoda Company: is named after the World War II battle in New Guinea and consists of Kingsbury, McCallum and Potts Platoons.
  5. Long Tan Company: is named after the 1966 battle during the Vietnam War and consists of Kendall, Sabben and Sharp Platoons.

The motto of the Corps of Staff Cadets is ‘Doctrina Vim Promovet’, which is Latin for ‘Learning Promotes Strength’.

4.3     Key Personalities

4.3.1  Director of Military Art

The Director of Military Art (DMA), a Colonel, is an experienced senior officer at Duntroon who, on behalf of the Commandant RMC-A, provides technical oversight of the development of the course curriculum. The DMA also ensures high standards in the delivery of training at Duntroon are maintained.

The DMA mentors, assists and supports the Commanding Officer of RMC-D and other staff through guidance, advice and direction. The Corps of Staff Cadets also gains important insights through regular formal and informal interaction with the DMA.

4.3.2  Commanding Officer

Like other unit commanders in the Australian Army, the Commanding Officer (CO) of the RMC-D has been given the legal authority by the Chief of Army to command the Corps of Staff Cadets and the RMC-D.

The CO, a Lieutenant Colonel, is also the Chief Instructor at Duntroon and thus is responsible for the delivery of all training and course curricula. Finally, the CO is also responsible for upholding the Army’s values by personal example, maintaining discipline and ensuring that standards of personal integrity are beyond reproach, while engaging, challenging and empowering members of the unit.

4.3.3  Second in Command

The Second in Command (2IC) of RMC-D is a Major. The responsibilities of the 2IC include:

  • Second in Command of the Corps of Staff Cadets;
  • Deputy President of the RMC Officers Mess; and
  • Member of the RMC Heritage Committee.

4.3.4  Adjutant

The Adjutant is an appointment usually given to the most senior Captain at the RMC-D and is the COs principal staff officer. Like the RSM, the Adjutant is a role model for cadets and staff alike and is also responsible for the discipline, dress and bearing within Duntroon. The Adjutant has a fundamental role in the daily command and control of the Corps of Staff Cadets.

The position of Adjutant at the Royal Military College is widely considered to be one of the most influential appointments in the Army for a Captain.

4.3.5  Regimental Sergeant Major

The Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the RMC-D is the senior soldier in the unit and, as a fundamental member of the command team, works to and directly advises the CO. The RSM is responsible for discipline, dress and bearing and is the custodian of the customs, traditions and ceremonial aspects of life at Duntroon.

The position of RSM at RMC-D is generally considered one of the most prestigious appointments in the Australian Army for a pinnacle rank soldier.

4.3.6  Other Noteworthy Positions

  • Chief of Staff, RMC-D, Major
  • Drill Wing Sergeant Major, RMC-D, Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2)

4.4     Training Facilities

Training facilities at RMC-D include:

  • Weapon Training Simulation System (WTSS): is a virtual weapons range designed to allow Cadets to practice weapon handling drills, marksmanship principles and fire control orders. The facility also allows cadets to fire a wide variety of weapons including the F88 Austyer rifle, F89 Minimi Light Support Weapon and the 84mm Carl Gustav anti-armour weapon.
  • Military Instruction (MI) Block: Most of the theory lessons taught at RMC-D focus on the development of tactical planning skills and are conducted in the MI Block. During 2004, the MI Block received a multi-million dollar upgrade and now features a state of the art Flexible Learning Centre, model rooms, lecture theatres and syndicate rooms. These facilities allow for classroom instruction using PowerPoint presentations, videos, and audio and live material as well as simulations using miniature representations of battles and tactical scenarios. Syndicate rooms allow small groups of up to twelve Cadets to debate important issues such as tactical problems, leadership issues and ethical dilemmas, while SmartBoards enable important points to be recorded for later study.
  • Flexible Learning Centre (FLC): provides Cadets with access to Defence ICT. Some subjects taught at RMC-D require Cadets to complete self-paced learning packages. Electronic assessments are also conducted in the facility.
  • Majura Training Area (MTA): is north of Canberra Airport and is used for field, navigation and firearms training, based from Camp Blake. Upon arriving at RMC-D, new Cadets undergo Initial Cadet Training, a twelve week package designed to introduce candidates to military life. MTA is used for leadership activities, tactical exercises and physical training using the bayonet assault, leadership reaction and obstacle courses.

4.5     Outline of Training

Army officers are trained to lead and are relied upon for their guidance and decision making in some of the most complex and exciting working environments. The training provided at RMC-D will aid Cadets to learn the skills to inspire, and motivate and command troops both at home and abroad. Training includes everything from infantry tactics and strategy, to military technology and communication.

RMC-D delivers Regular Army and Army Reserve officer training to both general and specialist candidates. As such, Cadets will undertake training on one of three First Appointment Courses:

  • The ‘Full-time’ General Service Officer (GSO) Course (for Regular Army);
  • The ‘Part-time’ General Service Officer (GSO) Course (for Army Reserve); and
  • The ‘Full-time’ Specialist Service Officer (SSO) Course.

GSO training is designed to teach individuals how to command and lead troops and they do not need a university degree, qualification, or any prior military experience. Alternatively, if an individual is already a qualified professional, with skills that can be used in an Army role, they may be eligible to become a SSO. As individuals are training to become a specialist, the course is condensed to 32 days. Army Reserve officers study the same subjects as their regular counterparts but with more flexible study options.

4.5.1  Full-time General Service Officer Course

The Full-Time General Service Officer First Appointment Course (to give it its full title) (FT GSO FAC) commissions General Service Officers for the Australian Regular Army. It is eighteen months long and is split into three classes of six months duration each, progressing chronologically from III Class to I Class.

The course prepares Cadets with the experience and confidence to command a team of soldiers. No matter what stage in life a Cadet is currently at, after the 18-month intensive course (12 months for ADFA graduates) they will be a Lieutenant in the Army, in charge of their own platoon of soldiers.

Example Joining Instructions for both GSO and SST training:

Table 1 provides an outline of the 18-month version of the FT GSO FAC course: Outline of FT GSO FAC.

The academic and military training at the ADFA takes three years to complete. After graduation, ADFA Cadets will attend RMC-D, for 12 months to further enhance their military training. The training at RMC-D for ADFA Cadets consists of two terms each of approximately six months duration. The first term for ADFA Cadets at RMC-D is referred to as ‘Second Class’ and their final term is known as ‘First Class’. ADFA Cadets are not required to complete a preceding six months of RMC-D training referred to as ‘Third Class’ because of the academic and military training completed at ADFA.

4.5.2  Part-time General Service Officer Course

The Part Time General Service Officer First Appointment Course (PT GSO FAC) commissions general service officers for the Army Reserve. As such, its purpose is to provide junior officer candidates with the leadership, management, operational skills and knowledge required of a junior officer to command a platoon.

PT GSO FAC is conducted through a combination of non-continuous training (parade nights and weekends) with local Army Reserve University Regiments and residential continuous training (Training Blocks 1 to 5) at centres of expertise throughout Australia, culminating with completion of the last training block at RMC-D. The PT GSO FAC has been modularised to allow candidates the flexibility to complete the training around civilian employment commitments.

The five individual training blocks (totalling 104-days of residential training with 3 years to complete the course), consists of:

  • Training Block 1: Military Foundation Skills is also known as the Reserve Recruit Training Course and is conducted continuously throughout the year at ARTC, Kapooka. Qualified soldiers who are selected to become officers may be granted recognition for this training and would normally commence the PT GSO FAC at Training Block 2. This training block is 28-days long.
  • Training Block 2: the Small Military Team Leader Theory block is conducted in the January to February and June to July periods by Sydney University Regiment at Singleton, NSW. This training block builds on the skills introduced at Recruit Training and introduces new operational, weapons and navigation skills. This training block is 16-days long.
  • Training Block 3: the Small Military Team Leader block is conducted in the January to February and June to July periods by Sydney University Regiment at Singleton, NSW. This training block introduces command, leadership and management skills in addition to military administration. This training block is also your first step along the way to learning the leadership and management skills that you will need to successfully command soldiers in the Australian Army. This training block is 16-days long.
  • Training Block 4: the Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) block is conducted in the January to February and June to July periods by Sydney University Regiment at Singleton, NSW. This training block revises and tests much of what you have already learnt about small team level operations as well as building further on your administrative capabilities as a small team leader. This training block also gives qualifications in the conduct of military live fire weapons range practices. This training block is 16-days long.
  • Training Block 5: This block, known as the All Corps Army Reserve Platoon Commander course, is 28-days long and is conducted in January and July by the External Training Wing at RMC-D. This training block confirms candidates have all the attributes, skills and values to become an officer in the Army Reserve. It also confirms that they have the leadership, management, operational skills and knowledge required for a junior officer to command a platoon on peace and stability operations. Successful completion of Training Block 5 will see individuals commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Australian Army Reserve.

Training Blocks 2 to 5 are conducted twice annually in a sequence. Ideally, most candidates will complete the course within 18-24 months and are expected to complete the PT GSO FAC within a maximum of 36 months (3 years). However, it is possible for a candidate to complete the PT GSO FAC within a minimum of 9-14 months; although, these are usually in-Service candidates who been given recognition of prior learning.

In between attending the residential training blocks individuals will be expected to attend parade nights and weekends organised by their parent Army Reserve University Regiment. The unit will look after all of an individual’s administration for attending the PT GSO FAC training blocks. Training staff will also help individuals prepare for the residential training blocks, revise the skills they learn as well as provide instruction and assessment on military skills like field craft, drill, training, military justice and writing and oral communication. There are also some additional requirements for training which can be obtained through external organisations. These requirements should be explained by unit training staff.

Further information can be found here.

4.5.3  Specialist Service Officer Course

Qualified professionals, such as Engineers, Doctors, or Nurses, are eligible to become officers (both Regular and Reserve) in 32-days via the Specialist Service Officer First Appointment Course (SSO FAC).

Officers serving in a specialist capacity are required to learn military command and leadership skills during two modules of study, Foundation Skills and Officer Skills. Each module takes 16 days to complete.

  • Module 1 (Foundation Skills): is conducted over 16-days, including weekends, and introduces Cadets to All Corps subjects including Service Discipline Law, firearms training, service communications equipment, individual field skills and minor infantry tactics.
  • Module 2 (Officer Skills): is conducted over 16-days, including weekends, and introduces Cadets to Army leadership, combat first aid, explosive hazards awareness protection training, navigation, decision and planning processes, unit and personnel administration, and the Laws of Armed Conflict.

All individuals selected for SSO FAC are required to pass a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) prior to commencing each module.

4.6     Phase 2: Initial Employment Training

After completing one of the most intense leadership courses in the world, officers will continue to learn and train. They will be assigned to one of the Army’s specialised branches, known as Corps. Here they will put into professional practice all that they have learned. Initially officers will be required to complete training specific to their Corps. Then they may find themselves taking troops through field exercises, tactical assaults or managing any number of vital Army functions. The Corps an officer is assigned comes down to their preference, competitiveness and the availability of positions.


5.0     Introduction

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is a unique partnership between the ADF and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) which provides training and education for the future leaders of the Navy, Army and Air Force. ADFA is a college of UNSW.

Approximately 800 Navy Midshipmen and Army and Air Force Officer Cadets, ‘Cadets’,  will be enrolled in the three year training programme at ADFA. Another 300 will complete a fourth year of academic studies through UNSW. These cadets come from around Australia and, through military exchange programmes, from 16 other Defence Forces around the world.

Midshipmen and Officer Cadets at ADFA begin a career in the ADF, receiving a full-time salary while they undertake a programme of military and leadership training. At the same time they study an undergraduate programme through UNSW, fully paid for by the ADF. As well as being guaranteed a full-time job, they will graduate with a degree that is recognised throughout Australia and overseas.

The university education and military training they undertake will ensure they possess the knowledge, skills, professional abilities and qualities of character appropriate to Officers in the ADF. As such, ADFA trains future leaders and opens up a wide range of career opportunities to graduates.

5.1     Background

In January 1986 the ADFA began providing undergraduate education and military training to midshipmen and officer cadets of the ADF. However, as far back as 1959 the idea of integrating all, or part of, the cadet training of the service branches of the ADF had been considered.

Although the Martin Proposals (a committee chaired by Sir Leslie Martin) had developed this idea in 1970, it was not until July 1977 that the Australia Government agreed to the establishment of the ADFA on a site in the Canberra suburb of Campbell, adjacent to the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

In 2003 an agreement, first signed in 1981, was updated between the Commonwealth of Australia and the University of New South Wales (which guarantees the academic integrity of the ADFA). This agreement established a college within the ADFA with its own Rector.

5.2     Key Personalities

Key personalities at the ADFA include:

  • Commandant ADFA, an OF-6 level officer
  • Director ADFA Undergraduates, an OF-5 level officer: is responsible for the military education and training of the Midshipmen and Officer Cadets.
  • Director ADFA Postgraduates and Federation Guard, an OF-5 level officer: is responsible for Capability Management and Technology College, Defence Force Chaplains College and Australia’s Federation Guard.
    • Also President of the Mess Committee of the ADFA; and
    • Canberra Area Officers’ Mess incorporating the UNSW senior common room.
  • Chief Instructor of Academy Undergraduates, an OF-4 level officer: is responsible for the design, development, delivery and internal evaluation of the Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) Programme and coordination of the Single Service Training programme. The AMET Programme is designed to teach the midshipmen and officer cadets at the Academy the military requirements of their service (i.e. military training that gives Cadets the knowledge and skills, and promotes the values and attitudes required by the three Services).
  • Executive Officer Cadets, an OF-4 level officer: is responsible for the day to day administration, discipline and command of the midshipmen and officer cadets and other military personnel undertaking full-time tertiary study at the Academy.
  • Operations Officer, ?OF-3 level officer
  • Academy Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class One: is responsible for the maintenance of military standards of discipline, dress and bearing by all uniformed personnel, and the provision of advice on the Defence Force Discipline Act and ceremonial matters.

5.3     ADFA Training Programme

The three year ADFA training programme has been designed to provide Cadets with the fundamental knowledge, skills and attributes required of junior Officers in the ADF. Cadets at ADFA study both:

  • An undergraduate degree programme through the UNSW; and
  • A military education and training programme through the ADF.

These programmes include theory as well as practical subjects. The military education and training combined with a balanced and liberal university education equips Cadets to meet the many interesting and varied challenges of their future careers. To graduate from ADFA, Cadets must complete all four components of the training programme, which include:

  • Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) programme, common military training which includes 6-weeks initial military training;
  • Single service training (workplace training);
  • Undergraduate degree programme; and
  • Leadership training programme.

Example joining instructions: ADFA Joining Instructions (2014-01).

An outline of the first academic year at ADFA: Outline of ADFA Academic Year One.

The academic and military training at the ADFA takes three years to complete. After graduation, ADFA Cadets will attend RMC-D, for 12 months to further enhance their military training. The training at RMC-D for ADFA Cadets consists of two terms each of approximately six months duration. The first term for ADFA Cadets at RMC-D is referred to as ‘Second Class’ and their final term is known as ‘First Class’. ADFA Cadets are not required to complete a preceding six months of RMC-D training referred to as ‘Third Class’ because of the academic and military training completed at ADFA.

5.3.1  Academy Military Education and Training Programme

The Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) programme is common military training which is programmed at the beginning and end of each year and for six hours each week during academic sessions. There is significant emphasis on creating experience-based leadership opportunities in the training activities. In their first year at ADFA cadets also participate in six weeks initial military training, which helps them make the transition from civilian to military life. CMT incorporates the following:

  • Leadership Studies: Formal and informal leadership studies form a large part of the CMT curriculum. Leadership Studies aims to develop leadership skills and to prepare cadets to take their places as junior officers in the ADF.
  • Drill and Ceremonial: Promotes reaction to command, self-discipline and teamwork through knowledge and practice of the customs and traditions of military ceremonies.
  • Military Communication: Designed to develop cadet confidence and effectiveness in oral and written communication skills, which is necessary for their military careers. It also introduces cadets to the style and forms of written communication used in the Australian Defence Organisation.
  • Equity and Diversity: Provides cadets with the skills to live, study and develop in a healthy academic and social environment by teaching them how to treat people fairly and with respect in accordance with ADF policies.
  • First Aid and Health: Examines the impact on society of drug and alcohol abuse and teaches first aid and preventative health techniques.
  • Military Law: Introduces Cadets to the Defence Force Discipline Act and the Geneva conventions. This subject is designed to enable Cadets to function in the Academy environment. More detailed training is provided nearer the time of their commissioning.
  • Physical and Recreational Training: Teaches fitness, strength and agility. As a high standard of physical fitness is an important part of Service life, Cadets are encouraged to obtain a coaching or refereeing qualification for at least one sport. Competitions in a wide range of sports are conducted at the Academy and teams are entered in many civilian competitions in Canberra.
  • Weapon Training: Gives Cadets training in the operation and maintenance of small arms Service weapons.

5.3.2  Single Service Training

While Cadets complete the majority of their studies, training and recreation with peers from all three Services, they wear the uniform of their chosen Service, and complete some of their training in a single Service environment. For example, Midshipmen will spend time at sea on Navy ships, while Army Officer Cadets will learn weapons and field craft tactics and Air Force Officer Cadets will perform workplace training on Air Force bases.

Single Service Training is generally conducted at the beginning and end of each year and gives Cadets the opportunity to experience and learn about their parent Service. The Services are responsible for designing and implementing the programme for single Service training. Army Officer Cadets undertake Single Service Training at RMC-D (see Part Four above) in Canberra, and other Army establishments in New South Wales and Victoria.

Army Single Service Training (SST) is designed to prepare Cadets for the challenges they will experience during their 12 months of Army specific training at RMC-D prior to being commissioned.

In their first year of Army SST Cadets will gain an introduction to Army life. They will learn a range of foundation military skills such as weapon handling, field craft, navigation, first aid and tactics at platoon level. They will also learn to communicate using military radios and live out in the bush in a tactical environment.

Second year of Army SST will provide Cadets with an introduction to the leadership challenges of learning how to command a group of soldiers in a tactical environment. Cadets will also get the chance to travel and undertake work experience within one of the Army’s Brigades, learning more about life as a junior Army officer.

During the third year at ADFA, the Army SST is focused on further leadership training and preparing Cadets for RMC-D. Cadets will become confident at leading others, learn more about different weapon systems and develop their combat fitness.

The Army SST conducted over the three years at ADFA is equivalent to the first six months of training conducted by Army Officer Cadets on the General Service Officers course who enlist directly into RMC-D.

5.3.3  Undergraduate Degree Programme

The UNSW@ADFA partnership offers undergraduate programmes in Arts, Business, Engineering, Science and Technology. During the academic sessions, Cadets attend lectures and tutorials, study and submit assessment items to meet the requirements of an undergraduate degree at UNSW@ADFA.

UNSW@ADFA is comprised of four academic schools, offering undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in a wide range of disciplines. Cadets at ADFA are also undergraduate students of UNSW. When they graduate from UNSW@ADFA at the completion of their three or four year undergraduate programme, they do so with a fully recognised degree from UNSW.

5.3.4  Leadership Training Programme

During their time at ADFA, Cadets undertake a leadership training programme which allows them to develop the skills they will need as Officers in the ADF. In addition, the development of Officer Qualities imbues every aspect of ADFA training. The Academy Values provide a framework to guide each Cadet as they move towards graduation and service as a commissioned Officer. These values include:

  • Do your best;
  • Be honest;
  • Respect others; and
  • Give everyone a fair go.

5.4     Phase 2: Initial Employment Training

Upon graduation from ADFA individuals will go on to complete their Initial Employment Training (IET) for their chosen career. IET prepares officers for the specific job they will ultimately be doing. The length, location and recognised qualifications of this training are dependent on the job. After this officers will be sent to an Army unit and their career as an officer will have begun.


6.0.    Another Perspective: Training, Inspections and Parades

If you would like to read some interesting, if not thought-provoking, articles on military inspections, parades and basic training then view:


7.0     Useful Links

Listed are some links which the reader may find useful:

7.1     References

Australian Army (2014) Australian Army: Our Future, Army Modernisation Update Version 2, April 2014. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Jobson, C. (2009) Looking Forward, Looking Back: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army. Wavell Heights, Queensland: Big Sky Publishing.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.