Operation OUTREACH: North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE)
On 1 July 1981 the first Regional Force Surveillance Unit (RFSU), the North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE), was officially raised. Using the nucleus of the Darwin-based 7th Independent Rifle Company, the General Reserve strength was expanded and additional Australian Regular Army component staff was included.
NORFORCE was specifically raised to meet the requirements for surveillance and reconnaissance in the north and north-west of Australia . The Regiment continues to play a key role in the development of the RFSU concept.
In 1985, two other RFSUs were raised: the Pilbara Regiment in Western Australia , and the 51st Battalion Far North Queensland Regiment in Cape York .
NORFORCE traces its history back to the formation of the 2/1 North Australia Observer Unit (2/1 NAOU) on 11 May 1942 .
NORFORCE is a unique organisation for many reasons. It has the largest area of operations of any military unit in the world today and is permanently assigned to a Joint Commander for ongoing surveillance operations in northern Australia . The unit relies heavily on the commitment and local knowledge of the population of northern Australia to fulfil its role. It has a high proportion of Aboriginal soldiers whose talents are fully utilised. NORFORCE remains well-equipped to undertake its tasks, which differ little whether the nation is at peace or at war. The Regiment continues to develop in terms of the acquisition of new equipment and facilities and, consequently, is continually enhancing its capabilities. NORFORCE continues to enjoy great support from the local population from which it draws its soldiers, and which is its very reason for existing.