Find out what you'll be doing
About the Job
Commandos are highly skilled soldiers who are trained and qualified in a range of advanced specialist weapons and equipment and can deploy to their area of operations over long distances using a wide range of insertion methods. Commandos can operate in a variety of demanding operational situations in any region of the world where Australia's national interests are served. In recent times, Commandos have deployed to a wide range of locations including East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands.
Commandos work hard and for long hours, therefore you must be mentally tough, able to cope with extended irregular hours and have a demonstrated ability to balance your professional and personal responsibilities. As a Commando you will be expected to undertake new tasks quickly, respond effectively to challenges and to adapt to different environments. This includes the ability to operate effectively and without signs of undue stress, panic or excessive fear when exposed to heights, in dark confined spaces, in the ocean or in a surf zone at any time, either alone or as part of a team.
Main Job Functions
As a Commando you will form part of one of Australia's highly respected Special Forces units being either 1st Commando Regiment (Reserve) or 2nd Commando Regiment (Regular Army). You will use advanced tactics and specialist weapons and equipment with stealth, surprise and the precise application of hard-hitting shock action in a range of operations.
Some of the tasks you will be required to perform as a Commando are (but not limited to):
- Accurately employ a range of advanced weapon systems
- Fight at close quarters
- Participate in a fighting patrol in both urban and rural operations
- Destroy targets using explosives
- Parachute onto land or into water
- Participate in Tactical Air Land Operations from both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft
- Embark and disembark from amphibious insertion craft in surf (beach and rocky landings) and from parent craft
- Ascend and descend vertical obstacles using military roping and caving techniques
- Operate communications equipment
- Conduct entry to structures
- Conduct airborne rappelling and fast roping
- Comply with the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), Rules of Engagement (ROE) and adhere to Orders for Opening Fire (OFOF)
- Learn and use foreign languages in operational and training deployments
- Conduct close personal protection to high ranking military and government ministers in war-like situations
Being a Commando is no ordinary career. It will take you well beyond the limits of conventional soldiering, challenging you to perform at a level past anything you will have encountered in your civilian life. You are likely to learn more about yourself and what you are capable of, both physically and mentally, than you would have thought possible. However, being a Special Forces soldier is a unique and rewarding career.
FULL JOB DETAILS
Other Ranks - Non Technical
Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes
Depending on the courses you undertake, Commando training will provide you with many valuable skills and qualifications which may be recognised by civilian accreditation.
Salary & Allowances
While undertaking your basic military (Recruit) training, you will receive trainee pay of: $1,434 per fortnight ($37,302 pro rata per year).*
On successful completion of your basic training, your salary will increase incrementally as follows:
- 0-6 months $1,639 per fortnight ($42,631 pro rata per year)
- 6-12 months $1, 742per fortnight ($45,296 per year)
- 12 months + $1,844 per fortnight ($47,960 per year)
The above rates of salary apply during your Infantry Initial Employment Training at the School of Infantry, Singleton; your Advanced Infantry Training Program and your Commando Initial Employment Training.
While under training, you will also receive $403 per fortnight ($10,493 per year) Trainee Allowance.
As well, you will receive an allowance for each day that you are required to spend in the field during your basic, initial employment, Advanced Infantry Training Program and your Commando Initial Employment Training. Field allowance is either $39.52 or $67.01 per day (depending on the type of field training being undertaken).
On successful completion of your Commando Initial Employment Training, you will be recognised as a qualified Commando Grade One and posted to a Commando unit with a salary at pay grade 7.
You will be entitled to Service Allowance at the rate of $538 per fortnight ($13,991 per year). This is to compensate you for the unique requirements that Service life may impose on an individual and his or her family. You will also receive Special Forces Disability Allowance at the rate of $1,281 per fortnight ($33,326 per year) and a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year) to assist in maintaining your uniform.
*Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.
On successful completion of your Commando Initial Employment Training you will normally be posted to 2nd Commando Regiment which is located at Holsworthy, NSW.
Holsworthy is located approximately 50 km west of the Sydney central business district. Holsworthy provides easy access to Canberra, the Blue Mountains and the South Coast of NSW, with convenient freeway and rail links to central Sydney and Sydney Airport.
The minimum age for entry is 18 years and the maximum age for entry is 52 years.
Applicants outside of these limits may make application to the Employment Category Sponsor, Commandant Special Forces Training Centre, for a waiver.
Education & Experience
Completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.
You may be eligible to sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this trade.
Further information is available here.
Medical & Fitness
Service as a Commando in Australia's Special Forces is physically and mentally demanding and requires a high level of individual robustness, strength and endurance. Therefore, you must be medically and physically fit and psychologically suitable to undertake Special Forces selection and reinforcement training.
Medical. Your medical fitness will be assessed by a doctor, prior to enlistment. This assessment will require you to complete an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history and it will be followed by a comprehensive physical examination.
Physical. You will also be required to successfully pass a Special Forces Pre-Fitness Assessment (PFA) before enlistment. This PFA requires you to achieve a higher standard than the general entry fitness level for the Army. You must be able to complete:
- Beep test (shuttle run) to level 10.1
- 30 push ups
- 60 sit-ups
The above PFA describes the minimum standard for enlistment as a potential Commando candidate, however, a much higher level of physical fitness will be required to successfully complete the Commando Selection and Training Course. The most suitable candidates for Commando training are those who regularly participate in arduous work, team or individual sports, individual or group fitness activities or outdoors-adventurous pursuits.
Psychological. Prior to enlistment, your psychological suitability will be assessed by a psychologist. This assessment will require you to complete a series of questionnaires and a comprehensive interview.
Period of Service
Applicants enlisting through the Special Forces Direct Recruitment Scheme as a Commando are required to serve for an initial minimum period of service of four years. However, you are not required to accept this until you have completed your Recruit training. At this point you are required to accept an initial period of service of four years to be eligible to commence Infantry Initial Employment Training.
If you are unsuccessful in completing your recruit training, you can seek 'discharge at own request' and are not required to complete the initial minimum period of service. However, if you are unsuccessful at Infantry Initial Employment Training or any subsequent training after that, and choose to withdraw from the Scheme, or if you are found to be unsuitable for service in Special Forces, you will be required to complete your initial minimum period of service within the general Army.
In this case, you will also be given the opportunity to be employed as an infantry soldier or in another trade within the general Army. This will be negotiated on a case by case basis. This is designed to ensure the ADF recovers reasonable value from its investment in your training and development.
Applications to resign or transfer to the Reserves from personnel who have not completed their initial minimum period of service will not normally be approved unless compassionate or otherwise compelling personal reasons exist.
It is essential that you have the ability to cope with the intellectual demands placed on you during pre-selection for the Commando Selection and Training Course. This requires you to possess a high level of aptitude. To determine whether you do or do not have the necessary aptitude, you will be required to undertake a series of aptitude tests.
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.
The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:
Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.
NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.
Army Recruit Training: 80 Days
You will be required to complete the standard basic recruit course at the Army Recruit Training Centre, Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW.
This is your basic military training and all personnel who enlist in the Australian Army are required to successfully complete it. This training will develop in you the necessary skills and qualities to become an Australian Army soldier. It will also provide you with the knowledge and skills you require in order to be able to undertake your initial employment training.
For further details on recruit training, refer to the Joining instructions. These instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before enlistment in the Army, and to give you an idea of what you will be doing on the recruit course.
On successful completion of Recruit training, and before commencing Infantry initial employment training, you will be required to commit to a four year initial minimum period of service.
If during training, you are assessed as unsuitable to continue, or are temporarily unsuitable, you will not be permitted to continue with the scheme. In this case you will be encouraged to undertake training for one of the critical support trades within the Special Forces or in the general Army. If you accept either of these options, you will be given another offer. Alternatively, you may elect to 'discharge at own request'.
If you do accept an offer to serve in a critical support trade in Special Forces or the general Army, you can apply again for Commando (ECN 079) selection and training after you have completed 24 months of general Army service.
When you have completed basic recruit training you will have reached the standard of a basic soldier. You will have developed the qualities and acquired the knowledge, skills and attitudes which are necessary to progress further in the Army.
Further information is available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.
During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and (Initial) Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.
Infantry Initial Employment Training: 74 days, not including weekends.
Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.
Those of you who successfully complete recruit training will attend the standard 72 day RAInf (ECN343) Rifleman Infantry Operations - Basic Course at the School of Infantry, Singleton NSW. At the School of Infantry you will be trained and qualified in basic infantry tactics and a range of specialist infantry weapons and equipment.
Candidates who are unable to successfully complete their Infantry training will not be permitted to continue with the scheme. In this case you will be encouraged to undertake training for one of the critical support trades within the Special Forces or in the general Army. You can apply again for Commando (ECN 079) selection and training after you have completed 24 months of general Army service.
Special Forces Accelerated Infantry Training Program: 13 Weeks
Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.
As a successful RAInf graduate, you will complete six weeks of Special Forces preparation training, known as the Special Forces Accelerated Infantry Training Program, conducted at the Special Forces Training Centre, Singleton, NSW. The Special Forces Accelerated Infantry Training Program is designed to prepare you for the Special Forces Entry Test and subsequent Commando training. This accelerated training will enhance your physiological and psychological conditioning.
The Accelerated Infantry Training program provides an opportunity for you to apply the knowledge and skills developed during recruit and IET. It will provide you with further training in navigation, communications, first aid, and field-craft. It also provides additional knowledge and skills, such as instinctive weapon handling. During this training we also aim to develop your tactical awareness.
During the Accelerated Infantry Training program you will also commence the 15 week Commando Physical Training Package undertaken by Special Forces candidates already serving in the ADF.
Put simply, we aim to provide you with more knowledge and skills, make you battle fit and mentally tougher. This training will increase your chance of success during Commando training. Most importantly, we aim to build your sense of commitment and motivation to becoming a Commando.
How will you know if you have successfully achieved the requirements of this training? You will be tested on the Special Forces Screen Test.
Special Forces Training
Before commencing the Commando Selection and Training Course you will be required to show that you are committed, motivated and capable of withstanding the severe physical and environmental stresses associated with the Commando Selection and Training Course. These will be assessed during the Special Forces Screen Test.
The Special Forces Screen Test
The Special Forces Screen Test is conducted over approximately a 7 hour period and includes a range of physical assessments. There will also be a cognitive screening aspect to the test, which will involve an interview before a Special Forces panel. Both of these activities are designed to determine your suitability to attend the Commando Selection and Training Course.
To be assessed as suitable, you must complete a fitness assessment involving:
- Push ups (cadence)
- Chin ups (cadence)
- Vertec (vertical leap)
- Flexibility Test
- Sit up Test
- Beep Test
- Agility Test
- Yo Yo Intermittent Recovery Test
- Pack March (5km carrying 40kg)
- Swim Test (2min tread water before swimming 400m in DPCU) ;
There is no minimum standard during this testing and you will be measured against all other candidates. At the conclusion of a Special Forces Screen Test, a Selection Advisory Committee will be convened to determine whether you have the potential for service in Special Forces and whether you are suitable to attend the Commando Selection and Training Course. Their determination will be made on your performance at recruit training, infantry training, and the Accelerated Infantry Training program, and on your results from the Special Forces Screen Test.
Candidates who do not pass the Special Forces Screen Test and are not recommended by the Selection Advisory Committee will be encouraged to undertake training for critical support trades within Special Forces (or within the general Army).
In summary, this phase of your training will get you to a point where you are assessed as suitable to commence the Commando Selection and Training Course. It will take you at least 27 weeks to reach this point, depending on the length of your recruit training.
Commando Selection and Training Course: 39 days (not including weekends).
Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.
Having mastered basic Infantry skills during the Infantry Initial Employment Training and Accelerated Infantry Training, the Commando Selection and Training Course is designed as both a selection and training course. This is a very challenging and arduous course that is conducted over 6 weeks.
A large part of this course is focused on the employment of the Commando in the field operational environment. Therefore, much of the course is conducted in the field. The course also requires Commando reinforcements to participate in live-fire, field firing activities, conducted by night and day, using live ammunition, and a range of supporting weapons.
At the completion of this training, you should be proficient in the basic Commando tactics at the team and platoon level, by day and by night, in the field operational environment.
Throughout this training you will be assessed at the same standard as the other lateral in-service members wishing to serve as a Commando.
On successful completion of the Commando Selection and Training Course you will commence the Commando Initial Employment training.
Commando Initial Employment Training
Commando Initial Employment Training consists of the following:
- Special Forces Weapons Course
- Advanced Close Quarter Battle Course
- Commando Urban Operations Course
- Close Quarter Fighting Course
- Advanced Marksmanship Course
- Special Forces Demolitions Course
- Special Forces Basic Parachute Course (including water insertion training)
- Commando Vehicle Operators Course
- Commando Amphibious Operators Course
- Special Forces Military Roping Course
- Combat First Aiders Course.
This training is only the start. On the successful completion of your Initial Employment Training and earning your Green Beret, you will be expected to undertake a range of further Commando specialist courses. Below are just a sample of courses that you may be exposed to during subsequent Commando specialist training:
- Advanced Driving skills
- Methods of Breaching
- Mortar Operator
- Cold weather / Mountaineering Operator
- Language training
- Military Working Dog Handler
- Combat Survival