The Australian Army does not use the term 'enlisted' to describe its non-commissioned ranks. Instead, personnel who are not Commissioned Officers are referred to as Other Ranks. These personnel are Soldiers, Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Warrant Officers (WOs).
A soldier under training who has not yet passed basic training.
On completion of basic training, all new soldiers start as Privates although the title may be Gunner, Trooper, Craftsman, Signalman, Patrolman, Sapper or Musician depending on their Corps or Regiment.
A Private normally receives a pay rise when he or she is deemed proficient after on the job experience normally 12 to 18 months in their first unit.
Lance Corporal (LCPL)
Promotion to Lance Corporal may follow after Initial Employment Training (IET) or after about 3 years as a Private. Lance Corporals are required to supervise a small team of up to four soldiers referred to as a fire team, brick or crew.
They also have opportunities to specialise and undertake specialist military training. Lance Bombardier (LBDR) is used in the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery.
After normally 6-8 years, and depending on ability to lead, promotion to Corporal typically follows. In this rank additional trade and instructor qualifications can be gained. Corporals usually are in command of section of soldiers which consist of two fire teams, bricks or be in command of a crew, team or detachment. Corporals are also employed in logistics and technical trades across most corps of the Army.
Corporals can also be employed as instructors in Army schools particularly engaging in junior soldier training. Bombardier (BDR) is used in the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery.
Sergeant is a senior role of responsibility, promotion to which typically takes place after normally 12 years depending on ability. Sergeants typically are second in command of a troop or platoon of up to 40 soldiers, with the important responsibility for advising and assisting junior officers.
Often, in the absence of the junior officer, the Sergeant will command the platoon or troop, and Sergeants normally have the role of administration, discipline, training and the maintenance of standards. Sergeants are employed in senior logistics and technical positions across most corps of the Army. Sergeants can also be employed as instructors in Army schools.
Staff Sergeant (SSGT)
After a few years as a Sergeant promotion to Staff Sergeant may follow. This is a senior role combining human and resource management in administrative or logistics roles. Staff sergeants are always addressed as "Staff Sergeant" or "Staff", never as "Sergeant" as it degrades their rank. This rank is currently being phased out of the Australian Army.
Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2)
This is a senior management role focusing on the training, welfare and discipline of a company, squadron or battery of up to 200 soldiers. WO2s act as senior adviser to the commander of a sub-unit. Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) in all sub-units except for the following:
- Squadron Sergeant-Major (SSM) in Armoured, Aviation and Engineer sub-units
- Artificer Sergeant-Major (ASM) in RAEME sub-units
- Battery Sergeant-Major in Artillery sub-units.
WO2s are also employed in more senior logistics and technical trades across most corps of the Army. They can have titles such as Artificer Sergeant-Major, Chief Clerk or Quarter Master Sergeant. WO2s are also employed as supervising instructors in Army schools.
Warrant Officer Class One
The senior soldier rank in the Australian Army, typically reached after about 18 years of outstanding service. WO1s are the senior advisors of their unit’s Commanding Officer, with leadership, discipline and welfare responsibilities of up to 650 officers and soldiers and their equipment. The Sergeant Major of a unit is a Warrant Officer Class One and holds a special position within the unit as the commander’s right hand man and his senior soldier.
He or she is known as the Regimental Sergeant Major regardless of whether the unit is a Regiment or Battalion. WO1s also fill very senior and important supervisory roles as clerks, tradesmen, storemen and in technical trades and have titles such as Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant, Trade Conductor and Senior Technical Advisor. WO1s from all corps can be employed as advisors, career managers and senior instructors.
Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A)
The senior warrant officer in the Australian Army holds the rank of Warrant Officer (introduced in 1991 and senior to WO1) and the appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army. The position of RSM-A was established in 1983 with the first incumbent being WO1 Wally Thompson OAM. The RSM-A is responsible to the Chief of Army, but responsive to all ranks across Army.
The RSM-A is a member of the personal staff of the Chief of Army. The RSM-A’s primary role is to represent to the Chief of Army, and others, the solicited and unsolicited views concerns and opinions of Soldiers in the Army, but also carry the Chief of Army’s message down and across the ranks. The current Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army is Warrant Officer Grant McFarlane, OAM.