Australian Defence Force Academy

Australian Defence Force Academy

name = Australian Defence Force Academy

established = 1986
motto = To Lead, To Excel
type = Commonwealth Military Academy
head_label = Commandant
head = Brigadier Wayne Goodman AM
city = Canberra
state = Australian Capital Territory
country = Australia
undergrad = 800(approx.)
postgrad = 200
staff = 300 (approx.) faculty
40% military, 60% civilian
campus = Mt Pleasant, Campbell
website = [] |

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is a tri-service military Academy that provides military and tertiary academic education for junior officers of the Australian Defence Force in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Regular Army (ARA) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It also provides post-graduate study for civilians, more senior ADF personnel and public servants. It is associated with the University of New South Wales, which is the awarding body for ADFA qualifications.

The stated purpose of ADFA is "to serve Australia by providing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with tertiary graduates who have the foundational attributes, intellect and skills required of an officer."

ADFA is located in the Australian capital city of Canberra, in the suburb of Campbell near the Australian Government district of Russell. It is situated next to Mount Pleasant which gives some parts of ADFA a view over the rest of Canberra. The ADFA is also adjacent to the Australian Army military academy, the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The junior officers that attend the Australian Defence Force Academy hold the rank of Officer Cadet in the Australian Army (OCDT) and the Royal Australian Air Force (OFFCDT), and the rank Midshipman (MIDN) in the Royal Australian Navy. The Academy is currently commanded by Brigadier Wayne Goodman AM.



In the late 1950s(b) investigations were made into the feasibility of creating a tri-service cadet training institution. However, each service continued with separate cadet training institution until 1970(e), when the concept was followed up by a committee chaired by Sir Leslie Martin. In 1977(r) the then Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Neville McNamara KBE, AO, AFC, AE, formally established the Australian Defence Force Academy as a Joint Service Unit under Section 32c of the Defence Act 1903. He simultaneously announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Peter Ross Sinclair, Royal Australian Navy as the Commandant. In September 1985 the Interim Academy Council ceased its functions and the Australian Defence Force Academy Council held its inaugural meeting under the Chairmanship of Sir Edward Woodward.In 1986(n), ADFA opened and began providing military and tertiary academic education for Officer Cadets and Midshipmen. In late 2003, the Australian Department of Defence entered into another agreement with the University of New South Wales for the operation of University College at ADFA.

Criticism of ADFA

Over its history ADFA has been criticised for various reasons, such as the reason for the Grey Review - bastardisation. In 1998, the Department of Defence released the Grey review, a report about bastardisation and sexual harassment at ADFA during the 80s and early 90s. In doing so, it also examined relevant cultural, structural and management issues at ADFA. Having found evidence of bastardisation, and of a failure to recognise and prevent such bastardisation by staff, the review received considerable attention from the national media, and thereby caused considerable damage to the Academy's reputation.

In July 2006, LCDR Robyn Fahey - one of the first female Midshipmen to guaduate from ADFA - was awarded an undisclosed amount in compensation for abuses suffered during her service in the ADF, including instances of physical and verbal abuse suffered at ADFA. ADFA attracted further criticism from the Canberra gay and lesbian community after its commandant, Brigadier Brian Dawson issued an order preventing Academy personnel from frequenting the Cube nightclub - a well known homosexual hangout. The order was in response to recent violence at the club, in which a patron was stabbed. The ban has since been lifted


Following the 1998 "Grey Review" ADFA made various immediate and significant changes in reaction to evidence of widespread bastardisation. Now all recommendations of the Grey Review relating solely to ADFA have been implemented. Such actions include the abolition of the internal Cadet rank system, which ranked Officer Cadets and Midshipmen on their years. Now all Officer Cadets and Midshipmen are considered as equal in rank. Additionally, whilst cadets of differing years once lived together, they now live only with those in the same year. Staff were educated on how to identify and deal with bastardisation.

In order to fix its tarnished public image, ADFA went to the ABC to offer it the opportunity of making a documentary about Academy life. The result was a five episode-long documentary called "The Academy", which featured in 2001.




ADFA's academic education is run by the University of New South Wales, and it offers awards at the Diploma and Associate Diploma, Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, and Doctor's Degree levels.

Under its agreement with the Department of Defence, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) provides Midshipmen (RAN) and Officer Cadets (ARA and RAAF) with a tertiary education at its 'University College' campus (UNSW@ADFA) which is located on the Academy grounds.

Midshipmen and Officer Cadets undertake three and four year undergraduate degrees at ADFA. Currently, available undergraduate degrees include:
*Bachelor of Arts - BA
*Bachelor of Science - BSc
*Bachelor of Business - BBus
*Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical) – BE
*Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical and Aviation) - BTech

However, those that do well academically and militarily have the possibility of a return to ADFA for one year in order to do honours, as long as their respective services authorise further training. Currently, UNSW@ADFA offers honours in:
*Bachelor of Arts - BA(Hons)
*Bachelor of Business - BBus(Hons)
*Bachelor of Science - BSc(Hons)

Post-graduate studies are provided to civilians, senior members of the ADF and senior public servants. Increasingly, distance-education units are being offered for service members not based in Canberra.

Entrance Requirements

The UNSW and ADF have invested considerable effort in maintaining a high standard of academic performance. "83 per cent of the more than 600 students enrolled in the three-year course had tertiary entrance scores higher than 80 per cent, placing them among the nation's best academic performers" (Donnelly, 2005).

tudent Performance

"ADFA's GTS - Good Teaching Scale - is 54, and nearly triple the Go8 median of 20.53. It's SPR - Student Progress Rate, which calculates the ratio of the load passed to total course load - is 93.7, compared with the Go8 median of 88. Its OSI - Overall Satisfaction Index - is 72, [compared to] the Go8 median of 39.1." (Firth, 2005, p.42)


Year One Familiarisation Training (YOFT)

After coming to ADFA, newly appointed Officer Cadets and Midshipmen begin a six week-long phase of training known as Year One Familiarisation Training (YOFT). This training is designed to familiarise first years with the military. It includes training in discipline, military customs and traditions, adventure training (for instance, abseiling and high-speed water insertions), generally how to ‘live’ at ADFA, and particularly, drill and ceremonial activities, as after YOFT first years will be formally welcomed into the Academy during the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) Parade, for which the reviewing officer is the CDF. This is the first year cadets' first opportunity to be seen publicly on parade. The current CDF is Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.

Academy Military Education Training (AMET)

During academic sessions, ADFA provides basic military training to Midshipmen and Officer Cadets through the Academy Military Education Training (AMET) program. The AMET program encompasses physical training (PT), leadership and management studies, equity and diversity (E&D), military history, defence studies, drill and ceremonial, the military communication program (MCP), first aid, military law, field craft and weapons training.

ingle Service Training (SST)

After the end of academic sessions however, Midshipmen and Officer Cadets move to their respective single service colleges for Single Service Training (known as SST). Such training prepares them to be officers in the ADF. However, given the complex nature of leading in the ARA, Army Officer Cadets continue this training for another 12 months after leaving ADFA at the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC-D) to later be commissioned as Lieutenants. Most Officer Cadets and Midshipmen undertake six SST periods over a three year period. Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) Pilots have an accelerated academic and military training program to fit with their movement from ADFA to Basic Flight Training School (BFTS) after approximately two years at ADFA.

Academy Life

The ADFA year is split by the two academic sessions, during which academic education is carried out. However, a variety of other activities take place in and around these sessions. Before Session 1, 'first years' undertake YOFT whilst second and third years are trained on their respective SST blocks. After Session 1, a two week holiday period begins, though first years go on their first SST block. Academics recommence after this period with the start of Session 2. At the end of Session 2, all years commence their final SST block for the year, and shortly after this, third years graduate, and this is formally recognised during the 'Grad' parade.


ADFA runs on standard military time and generally follows the following timetable.
*0600h – Reveille
*0605 to 0700 – Breakfast and Morning Routine
*0700 to 0750 – OC Hours and Drill
*0800 to 1930 – Academic and Military classes (9 x 50 minute periods)
*1200 to 1240 – Lunch
*1730 to 1930 – Sport Training (optional)
*2200 to 0600 – Quiet Time


ADFA is well known within both the ADF and the Canberra local region for its sports programme. While not compulsory, it is strongly encouraged that each and every OCDT/OFFCDT and MIDN takes up at least one sport each year to develop their team, leadership and social skills. The sports available at ADFA include both ‘inter-range’ sports that are played against other civilian and ADF teams, and Academy sports that are just competed within the academy itself. Cadets are permitted to play 1 grade 1 sport and up to 2 grade 2 sports from the following non-exclusive list:

Grade 1

*Rugby Union
*Australian Rules Football

Grade 2

*Touch Football
*Lawn Bowls
*Inline Hockey
*Cross country running
*Martial Arts


ADFA maintains premier military and academic facilities. These include, but are not limited to:
*Accommodation blocks, commonly known as 'divs', or 'lines'.
*An Indoor Sports Centre (ISC), complete with pool (and overhead obstacle course), weights gym, cardio room, boxercise room, squash courts and a basketball court.
*Military and Academic theatres, complete with state of the art audio-visual technology.
*A Junior NCOs mess, Senior NCOs mess, Officers mess and the Academy Cadets Mess (ACM), which is the largest mess in the southern hemisphere.
*Sporting facilities, including a football oval, rugby field, tennis courts, volleyball courts, netball courts, soccer fields, cross-country course and a boat shed.
*ADFA also has access to a Weapons Training Simulation System (WTSS), though it is technically run by RMC.
*ADFA also has the lowest student to staff ratio of any institution of higher learning in Australia at 7.9:1 (Firth, 2005, p.42).



UNSW@ADFA is managed for UNSW by a Rector. Under the Rector of UNSW@ADFA are the heads of schools, who manage their respective schools.UNSW@ADFA schools were restructured from twelve discipline-based schools to five multi-disciplinary Schools as of July 1, 2003. These are:
* [ School of Aerospace, Civil and Mechanical Engineering] (formerly Schools of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering)
* [ School of Business] (formerly School of Economics and Management)
* [ School of Humanities and Social Sciences] (formerly Schools of History, Language, Literature and Communication, and Politics)
* [ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering] (formerly Schools of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering)
* [ School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences] (formerly Schools of Chemistry, Geography and Oceanography, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics)


As of January 2001, ADFA has been part of the Australian Defence College (ADC) command structure, which is also responsible for the Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC) and the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS).

The Commandant of ADFA is appointed by the Australian Defence Force for a period of three years. Command of ADFA is based upon a three year rotation between the three services and is held by a Commodore, Brigadier, or Air Commodore. Since January 2008, the Commandant of ADFA has been Brigadier Wayne Goodman, AM. Brigadier Goodman replaced Brigadier Brian Dawson, who has since been appointed Director-General Public Affairs, ADF.

The appointment of Brigadier Goodman is unusual since the previous Commandant was also an one-star officer in the Australian Army. Brigadier Goodman was appointed to this position however, because Brigadier Dawson did not complete the full three year command posting, which under the current rotation system still belongs to the Army. It is expected that Brigadier Goodman will fill this position for a full three year rotation, meaning that an Army one-star officer has been in command of ADFA for approximately 5 years. After Brigadier Goodman finishes his three year assignment, the tri-service command rotation will require the RAAF to fill the position.

Temporary Restructure

From March to August 2007, Brigadier Brian Dawson was temporarily promoted to Commander, Australian Defence College due to an absence of a two-star flag officer to fill the position. During this temporary command reallocation, Captain Peter Murray, RAN, was appointed as Acting Commandant. The Command of the Australian Defence College has since been given to Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas AM, CSC, RAN. With Admiral Thomas' appointment to the command of the Australian Defence College, Brigadier Wayne Goodman AM has been appointed Commandant, ADFA.


ADFA is based on an amalgamation of all three services, and the organisation of the cadet side of the academy reflects this. Divisions are accommodated in accommodation blocks (commonly known as 'lines' or 'divs') consisting of five sections (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo) with a sixth section (Foxtrot) normally reserved for divisional staff and storage. Each section has 2 corridors (Half-sections) with four rooms and shared toilet, bathroom and laundry facilities.

There are seven squadrons each consisting of a few divisions: 1A Squadron is first years, Divisions 1-4; 1B Squadron is a second first year squadron, Divisions 5-8; 2A Squadron is for second years, Divisions 9-12; 2B Squadron, Divisions 13-15; the third year squadrons are, 3A Squadron, Divisions 17-20, and 3B Squadron, Divisions 21-23. There is also an Advanced students Navy Division, Air Force Division and Army Division which is part of the Officers' Mess annex. Prior to 2006 first year squadrons were tri service with cadets spending their final 2 years in single service squadrons. This fostered a greater service pride than the current arrangement and allowed cadets time to adapt to their forces particular way of life before graduation. During this time Army Squadron (previously Army Alpha Squadron pre 2007) rose to fame, election their own internal rank structure and becoming the first unit of the Australian Army to have a parton from outside of the commonwealth. [Army Sqn...Never Stay Behind]

The Squadron chain of command is as follows. Each division has a Divisional SNCO (Army SGT or equivalent) and Divisional Officer (Army Captain or equivalent). Each Squadron has a Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM) (Army WO2 or equivalent) and an Officer Commanding (OC) (Army Major or equivalent).

Within each division a Midshipman/Officer Cadet is appointed as the Divisional Duty Officer (DDO) on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The DDO is responsible for the general administration of the division, its cleanliness, and conducting the division's movements to and from military commitments. In addition, each section has a section leader appointed who is responsible for the section duties and assists the DDO. Permanent positions are also available for mainly third year Midshipman and Officer Cadets. The most sort after position is Academy Admin Coordinator, also known as number 1 by the cadet body, this position is currently held by OCDT Lou Taylor. The lesser sort after position is the President of the Mess Committee, commonly referred to as number 2, which is currently held by OCDT Dale Bogle “flamer”.


*ADFA [ Official site]
*Donnelly, K. 2005, 'Dumb English lessons can be disastrous', "The Australian", 15 September 2005
*The regulars update, Issue 184, February 2004. []
* AFP report on LCDR Fahy case []
*Canberra Times story on order concerning the Cube nightclub. []

ee also

*Royal Military College, Duntroon

External links

* [ ADFA]
* [ ADFA Graduates Association]

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