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Australian Defence College

ADF Transition and Civil Recognition Project

Information about Veterans

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A veteran is a respectful team player with highly transferrable military skills well suited to civilian industry.

From the first day a person enlists into the Australian Defence Force, whether as an officer or a general enlistee, they are trained to master a range of technical, trade, specialist, generalist and non-technical skills.  Defence trains to a very high standard and, as a result, members are highly skilled, highly competent, agile and responsive.  They improvise, adapt to and overcome difficult circumstances, and often endure long hours of selfless service. 

The ADF TCR Project has produced A Guide for Employers of Veterans – an overview of core tasks at rank and the defining characteristics of officers and enlisted personnel

Members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) serve as either an Officer or an Enlisted Member

The Australian Defence Force is comprised of ‘Permanent’ and ‘Reserve’ members. The Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 Part One Section 3 defines a Defence Member as:

  1. a member of the Permanent Navy, the Regular Army or the Permanent Air Force’ or
  2. a member of the Reserves who:
    1. is rendering continuous full-time service; or
    2. is on duty or in uniform

The following profiles provide a concise overview:

An Officer is a leader who:

  • ensures that the moral, intellectual and physical components required by their Service are developed and maintained
  • fosters service values and notions of service, selflessness, and moral and ethical behaviour in the workforce
  • is a manager, responsible for the health, welfare, morale and discipline of all assigned personnel
  • is responsible for ensuring those under their command are trained and prepared for their specific role
  • develops independent, creative thinkers and ensures initiative is routinely practiced
  • builds a climate of mutual trust, collaboration and open communication within the team
  • understands the nature and concepts of their duty and can conceptualise and integrate military capabilities
  • plans, generates, organises, prepares, directs, coordinates and controls military forces in the conduct of tactical actions
  • possesses a range of skills and competencies, and specialises in the establishment of cultural behaviour, leadership, management, and command and control

Enlisted Members:

  • are required to possess a range of non-technical skills, and specialise in the establishment and maintenance of cultural behaviour, command and control
  • understand and comply with orders, and act lawfully, ethically and morally
  • understand the value of a collaborative, supportive and inclusive team in the face of demanding and dangerous circumstances
  • provide selfless service and fulfil their obligations to the team; they place the interests of the team and the task above themselves
  • support their team mates, act respectfully, and interact with respect and empathy. They support all members of the team to foster cohesion and build trust, and are positive and supportive regardless of the circumstances
  • apply their knowledge to achieve their task and responsibly prepare for tasks
  • understand and comply with policies, directives, governance requirements and standard operating procedures
  • understand the management of risk and WHS, and their responsibilities to themselves and to the team
  • use their judgement to make appropriate decisions that accord with their commander’s intent
  • learn and adapt, are open to new information and methods, and are a lifelong learners who seek opportunities to assimilate new skills
  • the senior non-commissioned officer ranks – ie Petty Officer and above in Navy, or Sergeant and above in Army or Air Force – are experienced enlisted Defence members who advise and mentor junior officers