About the Job

Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSU) operate in remote areas of Northern and Western Australia. Regional Force Soldiers (Patrolman) in these unique units are part of a high priority team responsible for Army reconnaissance and surveillance operations in the vast areas of North Queensland, Northern Territory and the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia.

The role of the RFSU patrol is to gain information by observation and to maintain situational awareness within their respective Areas of Responsibility. By their very nature these patrols operate by stealth. Under most circumstances, hostile detection would be handed off to another Australian Defence Force (ADF) component or government agency. Their ability to conduct surveillance operations contributes to an effective defence surveillance network in Northern and Western Australia. To carry out this role the patrol relies heavily on skilled small patrol tactics, effective teamwork and an intimate knowledge of their local infrastructure and area of responsibility. The inherent regional specialisation reduces the need for acclimatisation during mobilisation and provides an important link between the ADF and many of Australia's remote communities.

RFSUs are comprised substantially of Army Reservists recruited from local communities - including indigenous populations. These personnel live, train and conduct activities and patrols in the areas to which they would normally deploy for operations.

Patrol Organisation

The RFSU patrol will normally consist of six members commanded by selected Officers or Sergeants. This is the optimum size, but may be reduced to a minimum of two military members depending on the task.

A full six person patrol is organised as follows:

  • Patrol Commander - Commands the patrol
  • Patrol 2IC - Carries out the administration and logistics of the patrol
  • Patrol Signaller - Responsible for the communications and signal equipment of the patrol
  • Patrol Medic - Responsible for the health of the patrol members
  • Patrol Scout - Responsible for clearing the patrol route by visual search
  • Regional Force Soldier - Responsible for all additional tasks required by the patrol commander

Regional Force Soldiers are equipped with the F88 AUSTEYR Individual Weapon, a light robust and effective rifle and the patrol may carry the F89 Minimi Light Support Weapon. The patrol is also equipped with Night Fighting Equipment (NFE) and other specialist surveillance equipment.

Main Job Function

An RFSU patrol is capable of performing the following tasks:

  • Conduct surveillance and reconnaissance operations, including route reconnaissance
  • Acquire and verify military geographic information within assigned Areas of Operations
  • Locate and report on enemy positions
  • Conduct Observation Posts in tactically suited areas
  • Conduct surveillance tasks in conjunction with Federal and State Government authorities when authorised

Most patrol members are trained drivers of the unit's specialised regional force surveillance vehicle and are trained in the operation of small water craft. Patrols may deploy by RAAF aircraft, army aviation, navy patrol boat, small water craft, vehicle or by foot. The majority of missions generally concentrate on an observation post monitoring and reporting activities however patrols can also operate in a mobile role whilst looking for signs or liaising with the local community. Irrespective of the mode used, patrols will operate independently and have to rely on their ability to see without being seen for their protection.

During any move towards conflict the RFSU Soldier would be an integral element of the first of three types of land defence (detection, protection and response). The unit's observation posts or reconnaissance patrols may provide the initial information on a situation and together with information gathered by air and naval forces in the sea-air-land gap provide early warning of an incursion.

Because of the unique requirements of an RFSU Soldier, special consideration is given to those personnel who do not meet the normal Army Reserve (GRes) conditions of entry and service, but who are otherwise suitable for service in an RFSU.

In-Service Information

Employment Category Number (ECN): 304

Employment Category: Combat

Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.


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.



The RFSU operate in the north of Australia, with their Headquarters and out stations spread from Karratha in the Pilbara and Gascoyne Region of WA, through the top end of the NT and across to Cairns and the Cape York Peninsula.


  • Headquarters Norforce - Larrakeyah, Groote Eylandt, Katherine
  • Arnhem Squadron - Headquarters in Gove / Nhulunbuy, depots in Nguiu and Jabiru
  • Centre Squadron - Headquarters in Alice Springs, depots in Borroloola and Tennant Creek
  • Kimberley Squadron - Headquarters in Broome, depots in Derby and Kununurra

QLD: 51 FNQR with depots located at Atherton, Aurukun, Bamaga, Cairns, Innisfail, Lockhart River, Mt Isa, Normanton, Thursday Island, Weipa and York Island.

WA: The Pilbara Regiment with depots located at Carnarvon, Exmouth, Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland and Tom Price.



Applicants must have reached 17 years of age on 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.
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.

Education & Experience

Completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. 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 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.

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 active Army Reserve at any time.


Online Aptitude Testing (OAT) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

OAT is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about OAT can be found in the Guide to Online Aptitude Testing for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in an Online Aptitude Test and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Online Aptitude Testing Example Questions.


Only Australian citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary wavier of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying can not 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 a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) 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 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.


Military Training


Your training will begin with the Regional Force Surveillance Unit Induction Course (RFSUIC) which is generally conducted in the three major RFSU centres in Darwin (NORFORCE), Karratha (Pilbara Regiment) and Cairns (51 FNQR). During the RFSUIC your training will develop those foundation skills, knowledge and attitudes required to prepare you for employment as a Regional Force Soldier. The RFSUIC comprises 16 days of continuous training.

General Entry

All General Entry recruits into the Australian Army Reserve are required to complete the Recruit Course.

Duration: 35 days continuous

Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW

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 also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.

This role is available to Indigenous and Torres Strait Island personnel only.

Employment Training

Patrolman Course

Duration of Training is 16 days. This training concentrates on fieldcraft skills and small patrol tactics and focuses on various weapons systems, field firing and Night Fighting Equipment that an RFSU Regional Force Soldier may employ.

When you complete the training you will have reached the high standard required of an RFSU Regional Force Soldier but this is only the start of your training.

RFSU Regional Force Soldiers may also qualify as Signallers, Patrol Medics, Combat Drivers, Small Craft Handlers or Visual Trackers in order to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to be a member of a RFSU patrol.

Reserve Unit Locations

  • Groote Eylandt Depot
    Groote NT 0885
  • Larrakeyah Barracks
    Larrakeyah NT 0820
    Katherine NT 0852
    Alice Springs NT 0870
    Tennant Creek NT 0860
    Nhulunbuy NT 0880
  • Taylor Barracks
    Karratha WA 6714
  • Tom Price Depot
    Tom Price WA 6751
  • Lockhart River Depot
    Cairns QLD 4871
  • Newman Depot
    Newman WA 6753
  • Geraldton Training Barracks
    Geraldton WA 6530
  • Irwin Barracks
    Karrakatta WA 6010
  • Exmouth Depot
    Exmouth WA 6707
  • Broome Depot
    Broome WA 6725
  • Mt Isa Depot
    Mt Isa QLD 4825
  • Calendar Park
    Innisfail QLD 4860
  • Atherton Depot
    Atherton QLD 4883
  • Port Hedland Depot
    Port Hedland WA 6721
  • Carnarvon Depot
    Carnarvon WA 6701
  • Norforce Kununurra
    Kununurra WA 6743
    Nguiu NT 0822
  • Jabiru Depot
    Jabiru NT 0886
  • NORFORCE , Broome Depot
    Cnr Tanami Drive and Mavis Rd Broome WA 6725
  • Pormpuraaw Depot
    Cairns QLD 4871
  • Thursday Island Depot
    Thursday Island QLD 4875
  • Weipa Depot
    Weipa QLD 4874
  • Yandina Depot
    63 Cordwell Road Yandina QLD 4561
    Phone: (07) 5446 8119
  • Komiatum Barracks
    Mackay QLD 4741