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Joining the Defence Forces






First things first, you walk into a recruitment office and state your intent, or you call recruiting on 131901. Second thing, you wait. You'll be taken through your JOES day, a couple tests, and interviews. Be honest and confident in your answers.

Wear some decent clothes. If you don't own appropriate clothing buy a business shirt, tie, long pants and belt. If you already own leather shoes make sure they are polished and wear dark socks with them. Remember, you're going to a job interview. If you don't show up with and intent and have obviously gone to effort in your studies and appearance on the day, you'll be told to come back when you have more "life experience" That is, when you're prepared to take it a bit more seriously.

Be prepared to wait. It is a very long day, the average assessment day will start at 0745 and didn’t finish until 1530. Take their advice and bring a book and a light snack. It's not uncommon to be nervous, but you will be surprised how quickly your nerves dissipate and turn into boredom - everyone else in the room is probably in the exact same situation. If you still don’t take a book, be prepared to sit through Good Morning Australia or the Army rag.

Take the necessary documentation! If you do not bring the appropriate documentation it makes it harder and longer to process your application and presents you in a negative light to your DFR.

Know your information. This can't be stressed enough. Understand the ins and out of the job you want to go for, what the job is about, how you become qualified, how long it will take, what they do on an average day - as much as you can. You may have to pretend like you're back in school for a while but rest assured, you will have to study for this. Below are some of the things you'll need to know.  


Where and how long is your recruit/basic training?

Basic Training take’s place at Blamey Barracks in Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, At the Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC) it’s a 45 day course plus another 35 day Advance soldier course for all Australian Regular Army (ARA) soldiers.

What will you learn at recruit/basic training?

At basic training you will learn field craft, navigation, Drill, first aid, weapons handling, dress and Communications You will also learn how to wear your uniform correctly, maintain you’re personal equipment and room to the standard required by the Army. But most importantly you will teamwork, initiative and discipline.
During basic you will participate in many PT sessions where you must reach a set standard. Your time will also be spent in barracks receiving theory and practical instruction.

Advanced Soldier Course (ARA Soldiers Only)
At Advance Soldier Course you improve on the basic skills you learnt at Recruit training Such as: Advanced weapon handling, night fighting, navigation, drill and advanced field-craft.
At the ASC you will spend more time in the field and achieve a higher degree of proficiency with their personal weapon, and significantly improve their fitness and endurance. The First aid skills will be improved upon from first responder to emergency care.

Where and how long is your job training?

What type of equipment might you use?

How long will you enlist for

The Initial Minimum Period of Service is ___ years. (usually 4)
After your have completed your (IMPS) you may request discharge at any time provided you do not have any other outstanding Service obligation.

What is the name of a military base that you may be posted to?
Soldiers can be posted to

Lavarack Barracks in Townsville QLD
Lone Pine Barracks in Singleton N.S.W
Robinson Barracksin in Dawrin
Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane
Holsworthy barracks in Sydney


What Corp, Muster, and Category will you belong to?

What are the main functions of the role you are applying for?

How is the combat role related to this?

What is the pay entitlement for recruit and job training once

Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training is ($944.06) a fortnight or ($24,613 a year)

Salary while undertaking Employment Training is ($1067.18) a fortnight or ($27,823 a year)

Salary on completion of IET is ____ a fortnight or _____ a year (excluding allowances)

Uniform Maintenance Allowance is a $419 per annum or ($16.06 a fortnight) is paid to assist members to maintain an approved scale of uniforms in good order and condition.

What is the ADF policy on non-medical use of drugs?

The defence force has a Zero tolerance policy towards the use of illicit drugs within the ADF and will result in disciplinary action, including dismissal. This includes abuse of prescriptions drugs, and alcohol.

Compulsory drug testing

At certain times you may be required to provide a urine specimen as part a Urinalysis Testing program (UTP). A positive test result or refusal to provide a proper specimen may constitute grounds for dismissal.
What is the Defence Force Discipline Act (Command and Discipline?)

The Defence Force Discipline act is basically the law for all members of the ADF you have to adhere to all civilian laws and all military laws

What leave entitlements will you have

You can be entitled for leave for Basic Recreation Leave, Extra recreation leave, Leave for members under training, Leave for Special Purposes, Field Leave and Remote locality Leave
Basic Recreation Leave

Basic Recreation leave is 20 working days or four weeks a year

What is the Pre Enlistment Fitness Assessment?

The pre Enlistment Fitness Assessment is a minimum of
15 Push-ups, 45 Sit-ups and to run at a level of 7.5 or 1120 m in 6min 30 sec once your are a member of the ADF the physical requirements are far greater

What is the ADF harassment policy?
The ADF has a zero tolerance to harassment, whether it be sexual, religious, physical blah blah blah.

What is the Military Superannuation Scheme?

All full-time members of the Defence Forces automatically become members of the military superannuation and benefits scheme (MSBS) on entry. Contributions are normally set at 5% of salary.

Other handy info

Minister of defence

Senator Robert Hill

The Chief of the defence forces is
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston who was the former Chief of the Air Forces

The Vice Chief of the defence forces is
Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie.

The Chief of the army is
Lieutenant General Peter Leahy

Chief of the Navy is

Vice Admiral Russ Shalders

The chief of the Air force is
Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd



If your not joining the Army read this anyway to understand how easy you'll have it at the basic training of the other services.

Kapooka is a hell of an experience. You will probably show up at ARTC on a Tuesday night at around 5:30. They quickly shuffle you into a large room where you'll receive introduction speeches from various people. You'll then form up and march off to whatever lines you happen to have the luxury of calling home for the next several weeks. The next morning you get up bright and early to the woeful screams of professional assholes...*ahem* I mean Recruit Training Instructors. Don't worry, you learn to love them as they only have your best interests at heart and are cheerful people to the last soul.

You'll wake up at 0600 everyday and be in bed by 2200. On Saturday of course you stay awake until 2300, so on your first week of training when they put to bed at 2200 be prepared to wake up in 10 minutes for a quick "on parade" and stroll around the grounds. Your mornings are consumed with morning duties, breakfast, and then lessons of some sort.

Your first few weeks will be full of classroom lessons, and you'll attend lessons out bush more and more the farther you get in the course, and as you're introduced to weapons systems. Take copious notes and learn the 4 marksmanship principles as quickly as you can memorise them

Life is very regimented at Kapooka. You don't talk unless asked to, you cannot have any personal kit of note with you in the lines (unless you're willing to smuggle them in and hide them in your tables personnel, the SALs or the ceiling). You have little time to eat, and even less to socialise.  You may also find yourself going to Church where you never did before. 

At ARTC you'll participate in a whole range of activities. If you're very fit before going in you'll probably lose fitness, but this is far better than the alternative of being a sloth - for should you fail any of the physical assessments you're moved off to Digger James (DJ) Platoon to receive remedial training and given a chance to catch up. Leaving your platoon is a bad thing, so avoid it at all costs.

Whilst at Kapooka you'll learn the F-88 and F-89 weapon systems, and will perform a variety or range shoots in doing so. Most people enjoy this part (which takes up several full days) and become competitive with others to try and have the lowest spread. Once again, you have to perform or you'll end up at DJ's.

At the bottom of the page are some links to assist you in deciding on what job might suit you in the ADF. Bear in mind a few things however. If you don't like marching long distances, infantry isn't for you. If you hate computers, stay away from Signals. If you don't like baking in tight tin cans with your head close to another man's balls you might consider avoiding Armour corp. If you can't stand doing dishes or cook avoid catering. If you hated making your room as a kid avoid supplies and logistics. If you get road rage stay away from Transport. And if you're a pyromaniac keep clear of Engineering.

PT while at Kapooka

Including the Post Challenge Recovery, there are a total of 27 PT sessions in the first 45 day module of Kapooka (ARA members have another 24 to complete in the final 35 day module)

You will have many introduction lessons, including Introduction to PT, the initial recruit fitness assessment ( carried out on your first full day at Kapooka) Introduction to water confidence, Introduction to nutrition, introduction to In-Lines Training, introduction to lift and carry and injury prevention, introduction to marching (very fun), introduction to circuit training, introduction to running, introduction to the obstacle course, introduction to rope climbing, introduction to stretcher carry, and at PT session 12 you'll have the last of the introductory session when you have introduction to heaving and abdominals.

By the time you get to your introductory circuit training class you'll be dying for some serious PT after not having done anything really physical and challenging for a while. The beauty of circuit training is that you can go as hard as you want instead of having to wait for others.

In the remainder of the PT sessions you'll perform the activities you were introduced to, as well as the run-dodge-jump course. You will have only two more fitness assessments during the 45 day period, at the midway point and near graduation. Fail either of them and you go do Digger James platoon to learn to not be so soft.

After graduation ARA members will continue on to do more of the same. You'll be introduced to battle PT, and rehabilitation principles in addition to the other lessons you'll undertake in navigation and weapons.

Kapooka ARTC Joining Instruction
An additional article about the new format

Aptitude and Ability Testing
Fitness Brochure
Candidate Resource Centre


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