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Commissioned Officer Ranks

Australian Army officers receive a commission that is personally signed by the Minister for Defence and the Governor-General of Australia, acting for the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, of Australia.


Description Insignia

Officer Cadet (OCDT)

The rank of Officer Cadet is given to those who are studying at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Their rank is then changed to Staff Cadet upon entry to the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC-D) where they become a part of the Corps of Staff Cadets. Officer cadets wear a 10mm wide white stripe, on a DPCU slide or hard shoulder board, as their rank insignia. Officer Trainees in University Regiments undergoing Army Reserve Officer Training have also been known as Officer Cadets as of November, 2009. Previous to this they administratively belonged to RMC-D and were known as Staff Cadets. Staff Cadets are presently only full-time RMC-D officer trainees. Staff Cadets wear "RMC" on their rank slides in order to distinguish them from other training establishments.

2nd Lieutenant (2LT)

The rank of Second Lieutenant is reserved for new officers and officers in special appointments such as university regiments, training institutions or under probation during training. They may undertake or have responsibilities similar to that of a Lieutenant.

Lieutenant (LT)

Lieutenant is a rank typically held for three years. They normally command a platoon or troop of around 30 soldiers and with experience may command more specialised platoons/troops such as mortar platoon or a reconnaissance troop. Along with Captain, they comprise the subaltern ranks.

Captain (CAPT)

Captains are normally second-in-command of a sub-unit of up to 120 soldiers. They are key players in the planning and decision-making process within tactical level units, with responsibility for operations on the ground as well as equipment maintenance, logistical support and manpower.

Major (MAJ)

Promotion to Major generally occurs after 8-10 years service. Majors are field rank officers who command a sub-unit – a company, squadron or battery - of up to 120 officers and soldiers with responsibility for their training, welfare and administration as well as the management of their equipment. Majors are also employed across all levels of headquarters in staff roles.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL)

Lieutenant Colonels typically command units of up to 650 soldiers, containing three to five sub-units. They are responsible for the overall operational effectiveness of their unit in terms of military capability, welfare and general discipline. Lieutenant Colonels also hold staff officer appointments on headquarters at the Brigade level and higher.

Colonel (COL)

Colonels do not normally command units but may hold positions of command of schools, training centres, or other groups of units, as a Commandant. Other key appointments for Colonels are as senior staff officers on a headquarters such as Chief of Staff. Colonels may also be given specialised roles within a capability such as oversight of a project or development.

Brigadier (BRIG)

Brigadiers command at the Brigade level and are also Directors General within Army Headquarters and non-Army groups. They are responsible for branches within the headquarters such as Personnel, Operations and Career Management. The rank of Brigadier is referred to as ‘one star’ rank.

Major General (MAJGEN)

Major Generals command formations of division size, or equivalent, and hold senior executive appointments within the Department of Defence. The rank of Major General is referred to as ‘two star’ rank.

Lieutenant General (LTGEN)

Lieutenant General is the second-highest active rank in the Australian Army. The Rank of Lieutenant General is held by the Chief of Army, currently Lieutenant General Rick Burr AO DSC MVO. The rank is also held when an Army Officer is the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of Joint Operations, or the Chief of Capability Development. The rank of Lieutenant General is referred to as ‘three star’ rank.

General (GEN)

General is the highest active rank of the Australian Army. The rank of General is only held when an Army Officer is appointed as the Chief of the Defence Force. The rank of General is referred to as ‘four star’ rank.


Last updated
24 August 2018
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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