About the Job

As a Commando Reservist, you will be part of the 1st Commando Regiment. The 1st Commando Regiment is truly unique within Army; it is the oldest Special Forces unit in the Australian Defence Force and has provided an unbroken passage of experience from Australia's WWII Commandos to our modern Special Forces community. The 1st Commando Regiment contains some of the most skilled, dedicated and combat experienced soldiers within Army. As a result, the Regiment continues to conduct special operations and training, both independently and in support of regular Army Special Forces. Recent deployments include Iraq, Afghanistan and various countries within South East Asia.

The 1st Commando Regiment is not a traditional Army Reserve unit. Due to its high training and operational tempo, the Regiment contains a high proportion of full-time Commandos and support staff. The Regiment is also geographically dispersed with Headquarters in Randwick, NSW, and sub-units in Mosman, NSW, and Williamstown, VIC. 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 Timor-Leste, 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.

To perform in these environments requires significant mental and physical toughness, and a considerable commitment. As a Commando Reservist, your training will require in excess of 50 days service per year over a three year period, with an option to complete more.

Main Job Functions

As a Commando Reservist you will be part of Australia's oldest Special Forces unit, the 1st Commando Regiment. 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

  • Conduct explosive and manual entry to structures

  • Parachute onto land or into water

  • Participate in Tactical Air Land Operations from both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft

  • Ascend and descend vertical obstacles using military roping and caving techniques

  • Conduct airborne rappelling and fast roping

  • Drive motorbikes and other Special Forces vehicles

  • Operate commando watercraft in open and coastal areas

  • Operate specialist communications equipment

  • Learn and use foreign languages on operations and when training foreign forces around the world.

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. Being a Special Forces soldier is a unique and rewarding career.

Location Requirement. Successful applicants must reside within New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory. Regional applicants will be considered on a case by case basis.

This entry method is currently not recruiting

Key Information

National Qualifications

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

Most Reservists join the Australian Defence Force for the exciting work, the friendships and the lifestyle. But there are many other benefits too, including financial ones.

The pay you receive in the Army Reserve goes straight into your pocket with no deductions for tax, and it increases as you gain seniority and experience.

For more details download our Salary Scales.

Read our Conditions of Service.

Salary Calculator


Location Requirement. Successful applicants must reside within New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory. Regional applicants will be considered on a case by case basis.

On successful completion of your Recruit Training and Infantry Initial Employment Training you will be posted to the 1st Commando Regiment in either Mosman, NSW, or Williamstown, VIC. Mosman is located approximately 10 km northeast of the Sydney central business district, while Williamstown is located approximately 10km southwest of the Melbourne central business district.

Here you will undergo further training to prepare for your Commando selection and training courses. The majority of the Commando selection and training courses are conducted in Holsworthy, NSW. Holsworthy is located approximately 50km west of the Sydney central business district. On the successful completion of your Commando selection and training courses, you will remain posted to your chosen employment location of either Mosman or Williamstown.



Applicants must have reached 17.5 years of age on entry.
The Compulsory Retirement Age (CRA) for Reserve Service is 65 years. Enlistment up to and including the age of 60 years is open for all employment categories. Candidates who wish to enlist into the Army Reserve beyond the age of 60 years will need to be further assessed to ensure that they would be feasibly able to complete all obligatory pre-requisite training in their chosen area of employment prior to reaching CRA.

 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.

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

All candidates who are appointed or enlisted into the Army Reserve may undertake volunteer service until the age of 65 (Compulsory Retiring Age) subject to the requirements of the Army and suitability for further service. Members may transfer out of the Army Reserve at any time.

If you are unsuccessful in completing your Commando selection and training courses in the allocated time frames, you will be deemed not suitable for Commando service and posted to another Army Reserve unit. You may re-apply for Special Forces selection at a later date or as agreed on a case by case basis.


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.

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

Security Requirements

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:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Credit

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.


Military Training

Army Reserve Recruit Training: 35 days continuous

Applicants enlisting for service in the 1st Commando Regiment must first complete the Reserve Recruit Training Course (RRTC) 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 Reserve are required to complete it successfully.

Recruit training is the same for male and female entrants. During the RRTC you will be required to take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, drill, first aid, navigation and field craft. The training is deliberately challenging and has been designed to prepare you to be a soldier in today's Army. Recruits gain a sense of achievement, purpose and confidence during basic training, and on completion of the course feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

Further information is also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.

NOTE: You should be aware that you must commence recruit training within 6 months of enlistment.

Employment Training

Infantry Initial Employment Training: 32 days

Those who successfully complete their Reserve Recruit Training at Kapooka will parade weekly at the 1st Commando Regiment, in either Sydney or Melbourne, to prepare for your Infantry Initial Employment Training (IET). This course, designed specifically for reservists, teaches you basic military tactics and a range of specialist infantry weapons and equipment. The Rifleman Infantry Operations - Basic Course is conducted in two modules of 16 days, delivered regionally, as follows:

Mod 1: 16 days continuous or non-continuous training (weapon qualifications, equipment, First Aid and fitness).

Mod 2: 16 days continuous training (fieldcraft and field exercises).

The Infantry IET course is an essential requirement for those wishing to undertake Commando selection and training. Those candidates unable to complete the Infantry IET will not be eligible for service in the 1st Commando Regiment and will be invited to undertake training for another trade within the Army Reserves.

Special Forces Training Program: 12 months

As a successful graduate of Infantry Initial Employment Training, you will parade with the 1st Commando Regiment as a qualified Infantry Rifleman (ECN 343-1) to complete the Special Forces Reserve Training Program. The Program, based on the 12 week (full-time) Accelerated Infantry Training Course, is designed to prepare you for the Special Forces Entry Test and subsequent Commando selection and training. The Program also includes the 17-week Commando Physical Training Package undertaken by all Special Forces candidates.

The Special Forces Entry Test: 1 day

Before commencing the Commando selection and training courses you must show you are motivated and capable of withstanding the severe physical and environmental stresses of the Commando selection. Your suitability will be assessed during the Special Forces Entry Test. You must successfully complete this test within 12 months of parading at the 1st Commando Regiment as a qualified Rifleman (ECN 343-1). Candidates who do not pass the Special Forces Entry Test may be provided with another opportunity to conduct the Test. Those deemed not suitable for Commando selection and training will be posted from the 1st Commando Regiment to another Army Reserve unit.

The Special Forces Entry Test is conducted over approximately 7 hours. The test includes physical assessments, general knowledge, practical assessment and an interview before a Special Forces panel to determine your suitability to attend the Commando Selection Course.

To be assessed as suitable, you must complete a fitness assessment involving:

  • Push ups to a cadence - benchmark 40
  • Pull ups (over-arm) to a cadence - benchmark 7
  • 3.2 Km run in boots carrying 8kg plus rifle - benchmark 16 minutes
  • Pack march best distance in 1 hr 30 min carrying 28kg plus rifle - peer comparison
  • Swim Test (2 minute tread water before swimming 400m in DPCU) - benchmark 16 minutes

At the conclusion of a Special Forces Entry Test, a Special Forces Panel Board will determine your suitability to attend the Commando Selection Course. Their determination will be made on your performance at Reserve Recruit Training, Infantry Initial Employment Training, Special Forces Reserve Training Program or Accelerated Infantry Training Course and your results from the Special Forces Entry Test.

Commando Selection Course: 2 weeks

Having completed the Special Forces Training Program and passed the Special Forces Entry Test, you will be eligible to attend the Commando Selection Course. This challenging and arduous course is conducted over 2 weeks and will determine your suitability for further Commando training.

During the course you will be assessed at the same standard as full-time ADF candidates. On successful completion of the Commando Selection Course you will be eligible to commence the Commando Reinforcement Training Cycle, the final stage in earning your Green Beret.

The Commando Selection Course takes place approximately 1 month after the Special Forces Entry Test and is conducted once a year.

Commando Initial Employment Training: 12-36 months.

Commando Initial Employment Training consists of a number or courses between 2-6 weeks in duration, totalling approximately 300 days of training. All courses are extremely arduous and require intense preparation. Nearly all courses are conducted in Holsworthy, NSW, and each course must be completed in a single block. As a Commando Reserve candidate, you have 36 months to complete these courses. However, you may opt to complete these courses back-to-back over a 12 month period in the same way full-time ADF candidates do. Successful completion of these courses will earn you the Green Beret. The courses are:

  • Special Forces Weapons Course
  • Advanced Close Quarter Battle Course
  • Commando Team Tactics Course
  • Commando Urban Operations Course
  • Close Quarter Fighting Course
  • Commando Demolitions and Breaching Course
  • Special Forces Basic Parachute Course (including water insertion training)
  • Commando Amphibious Operators Course
  • Special Forces Military Roping Course
  • Combat First Aiders or Special Forces Signal Course.


This training is only the start. As a qualified Commando you will undertake a range of further Commando specialist courses during your career. Below are some of the specialist Commando courses you may complete:

  • Advanced Driving skills;
  • Mortar Operator;
  • Cold weather / Mountaineering Operator; and
  • Language training; and
  • Free Fall Parachuting.