Ground Defence Officer

Leadership, responsibility, planning and coordination - as a Ground Defence Officer you will be responsible for the defence and security of the airbase during times of increased threat.

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Job Overview

About the Job

An Air Force Ground Defence Officer's primary duty is to defend Air Force airfields, assets and personnel from ground attack. Training will reflect both your peace and wartime role in security operations. Your major operational role within an Security Forces Squadron will be on deployed operations. The major focus for GRDEF members posted outside of the operational environment is the effective training of Air Force personnel in core military skills.

Due to the physically demanding nature of the duties carried out by Ground Defence Officers (GRDEFs) there is a requirement for the maintenance of a very high physical fitness standard. You will frequently be absent from your home base and family for at least several months of the year and will have to endure austere conditions while living in the field. On the other hand, you may see parts of Australia very quickly.

On graduation from training, an Air Force Ground Defence Officer will normally command a Rifle Flight in a Security Forces Sqaudron. You will be responsible for commanding and leading the 30 personnel in the Rifle Flight who are specialists in the ground defence of airfields and other security tasks.

After the first posting, a Ground Defence Officer's duties will change from leading a Rifle Flight in the field to training and organising. Postings may include:

A Base Ground Defence Officer who may be responsible for:

  • Planning the conduct of operations and training exercises in conjunction with unit executives
  • Advising base commanders on ground defence policy
  • Training base personnel to defend Air Force assets in accordance with ground defence policy and the Base Defence Plan
  • Ground defence continuation training, i.e. ensuring that all Base personnel qualify in the use of small arms annually, construction of field defences, static guard duties and field training exercises
  • Combat survival continuation training
  • Nuclear, biological and chemical defence training
  • The administration and control of base fire services
  • Land search and rescue teams
  • The conduct of weapons competitions
  • The control of the base Armoury and small arms range
  • Base security (on some bases)

An Instructor with:

  • The RAAF Security and Fire School at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD which is responsible for the initial and post-graduate training of Airfield Defence Guards, initial GRDEF training for Security Police/Military Working Dogs Handlers and post-graduate specialist training for selected airmen and officers as Unit Defence Officers
  • The Combat Survival Training School at RAAF Base Townsville, North QLD who is responsible for the provision of training to ADF and international aircrew and selected ground personnel in personal survival skills in a combat situation or
  • The Officer Training School, RAAF Base East Sale, VIC, who is responsible for the conduct of core military skills training to all officer trainees; or No. 1 Recruit Training Unit, RAAF Base Wagga, NSW, who is responsible for the conduct of specialist training (Ground Defence, Fire Training, Medical and Physical Fitness) aspects during initial training of all airmen/airwomen recruits

Join the ADF with Year 12 passes and appropriate qualifications

Learn more about Entry Methods

Salary can be over $71,900 p.a. on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowance.


Key Information

Other Requirements

It is suggested that those interested in joining Ground Defence Officer in the Air Force and seek more information about this role contact Air Force Security Force Recruitment at A suitable Air Force member will respond within 7-14 working days and will be able to convey a more detailed explanation of this rewarding full or part-time security job.

Salary & Allowances

You will be appointed as an Officer Cadet (OFFCDT) and receive the following salary (excluding allowances) while undertaking Military (Initial Officer) Training and Employment Training:

Initial Officer Training and first six months of Employment Training at RMC: $42,566per year ($1,637.15 per fortnight).*

Final 12 months of Employment Training at RMC: $48,242 per year ($1,855.46 per fortnight).*

While under training, you will also receive $10,288 per year pro rata ($395.69 per fortnight) Trainee Allowance.

To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $429.48 per year ($16.40 per fortnight). This increases to $699.05 per year ($26.65 per fortnight) after commissioning.

Salary on completion of Military (Initial Officer) Training and Employment Training: $56,755.

In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $10,288 per year ($395.69 per fortnight) except while as a Cadet at the Royal Military College of Australia or undertaking Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Refer to the Salary Scales for further information.

* Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.


You may be posted to any Air Force Base within Australia or possibly overseas, although overseas posting are limited.



Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry.

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.

Maximum age on entry is 53 years of age.

Education & Experience

Must have completed Year 12 with passes in English and three other academic subjects.

South Australian applicants may achieve a pass at Year 11 English and a pass in a language rich subject at Year 12,


If you do not satisfy the education requirements or do not possess evidence of your educational attainment there is an alternative pathway available to you.

You may be eligible to sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) Assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this trade. Recruiting staff can provide further information.

Medical & Fitness

For entry to the Air Force as a Ground Defence Officer, you must be medically and physically fit. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment. For Ground Defence Officer, the standard you will be required to meet before appointment is a PFA consisting of:


  • Push-Ups: 10
  • Sit-Ups: 20 and
  • Shuttle Run: 6.5


  • Push-Ups: 8
  • Sit-Ups: 20 and
  • Shuttle Run: 6.5

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Physical fitness is very important for Ground Defence Officers as they are required to maintain a higher fitness level than most members of the Air Force. This is to ensure that Ground Defence Officers can cope with the physically demanding conditions often encountered in the nature of their duties.

Period of Service

You will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of six years. Subsequent periods of service may be offeredsubject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability forfurther service. You may tender your resignation at any timeprovided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period ofService obligation and provide a minimum of three months notice.

Additional Requirements

It is essential to hold a current unrestricted Australian Class 1 (or equivalent) Motor Vehicle licence (a 'P2' Provisional Licence is acceptable) endorsed and proficient with manual transmission. For States that do not endorse licences with manual transmission, the candidate is to provide evidence or a statutory declaration declaring that they meet the manual licence and experience requirements. The holder of the licence must be free of traffic infringements that may cause future cancellation or suspension of the licence or prevent the issue of an ADF Drivers Licence.

Where a current Provisional (P2) Licence is held, the holder must have had a minimum of 12 months (P1 P2 combined) driving experience in a manual transmission vehicle prior to enlistment.


The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.


Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.


Military Training

Initial Officer Training: 17 Weeks

Immediately upon joining the Air Force, direct entry officers will normally undertake the Initial Officer Course of 18 weeks duration. This is a live-in course completed at RAAF Base East Sale, located 220 kilometres east of Melbourne (VIC).

The major elements of the course involve introduction to military life, Air Force Values and attitudes, Ground Defence and Weapons training, Leadership and Personal Development, Communication Skills and Air Force Operations studies.

Further details on officer training are available on the Officers Training School website or refer to the Joining Instructions.

The information on the website and in the Joining Instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before appointment in the Air Force and give you an overview of the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course.

During Military (Initial Officer) Training and (Initial) Employment Training (if applicable), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

Royal Military College (Duntroon) Officer Training - 18 months

RAAF Ground Defence Officer appointees attend the Royal Military College (RMC) to gain basic skills at ground defence operations (which are infantry based), combat leadership, admin and logistics, tactics, staff officer skills and joint service operational experience. As RMC is one of Australia's finest military training schools, the RAAF takes the opportunity to send its Ground Defence Officers to this establishment.

During RMC (Military Training) and (Initial) Employment Training (Regimental Officers Basic Course etc), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Regimental Officer Basic Course (Infantry) - 11 Weeks

This course is undertaken in order for the Ground Defence Officer to gain tactical skills and field firing range qualifications which are not addressed at RMC. The field firing qualification enables Ground Defence Officers to conduct the full range of tactical level group field firing up to Squadron strength and including High Explosives and Battle Simulation. These qualifications are essential for GRDEF operations.

Ground Defence Basic Operations Course - 5 Weeks

The Ground Defence Officer Basic Operations Course (GRDEFOBASOPSCSE) is designed to introduce officers to Air Force specific operations on and around air bases. This differs markedly from Army field operations covered at RMC and progresses junior GRDEFOs to the tactical and administrative requirements of security and ground defence operations in an Air Force environment.

Further Training

You will receive considerable postgraduate training, some of whichis conducted by the Army in Explosive Ordnance Demolition, TrainingManagement, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence, Fire andGeneral Safety, Advanced Range Qualifications, Tactics and Weaponscourses.