by A. Gubler



The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is a complex military force with many differences to the established model of other national armies, navies and forces.




Role Playing




The ADF was formed in the early 1980s to combine and rationalise command and support functions for the then Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force. During the next decade the ADF expanded into training and operational command. But it wasn’t until after the devastation of the Twilight War (1995-2000) that the ADF took primacy over the separate armed services to create a combined military force. The Twilight War effectively reduced the Navy and Air Force into maritime and air arms, respectively, of the Army. By the end of Australian military rule in 2020 the ADF had effectively become a single service. But it wasn’t until 2088 until the Navy, Army and Air Force were officially disbanded and reconstituted as force commands of the ADF. For most of the 21st century the ADF played a major role in governing Australia. Now the force concentrates on its military mission and providing specialist support to government and Australian endeavours, however it does retain one peculiar civilian role. The ADF is responsible for appointing Australia’s Governor-General a mostly figurehead Head of State as opposed to the Prime-Minister as Head of Government. The Governor-General is elected by serving Commandants of the ADF, usually from recently retired three star Commandants or higher. However in the past they have elected civilians to this position. Even though this gives the appearance of the ADF controlling the Australian government the reality and the moral ethic is one of the military subservient to the civilian authority. Since 1990 the ADF has been involved in the following major military actions: Bougainville Action (1994), Twilight War (1995-2000), Middle East Occupation (1997-2008), Reconstruction (2000-2040), War Against Traitor Thurston (2002-2020), Saudi War (2010-2013), Indochina Action (2030), Peacekeeping Era (2088+), Papua War (2140), Tantalum War (2142-2143), Duffer’s Strip Action (2173), Cantonese-Indonesian War (2264-2268) and the Kafer Invasion (2301+).


The Evolution of the ADF’s Rising Sun Badge


Proudly worn by Australian soldiers for four centuries the “Rising Sun” badge has become an integral part of “Digger” tradition. The distinctive shape, worn on the upturned brim of a slouch hat, is readily identified with the spirit of ANZAC. Yet despite the badge’s historic significance there remains confusion as to how it was adopted. In 1902 a badge was urgently sought for the Australian contingents raised for service in South Africa during the Boer War. Probably the most widely-accepted version of the origin of this badge is that which attributes the selection of its design to a British officer, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, the newly appointed Commander-In-Chief of the Australian Forces. He had earlier received as a gift from Brigadier General Joseph Gordon, a military acquaintance of long standing, a “Trophy of Arms” comprising mounted cut and thrust swords and triangular arranged in a semicircle around a brass crown. To Major General Hutton the shield was symbolic of the co-ordination of the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth. A replica of the shield is on display in the main foyer of the ADF High Command in Newcentre [1902]. The original design, created and produced in haste for issue to the contingent departing to South Africa, was modified in 1904. This badge was worn throughout the Great War (1914-19) and the World War (1939-45) [1904]. Since its inception the basic form of the 1904 version has remained unchanged although modifications have been made to the wording on the scroll and to the centrepiece. In 1949, when Corps and Regimental Badges were reintroduced into Army service, the wording on the scroll of the “Rising Sun” Badge was changed to read “Australian Military Forces” [1949]. Twenty years later, in 1969, the badge was again modified to incorporate the Federation Star and Torse Wreath from the original 1902 version of the badge and the scroll wording changed to “Australia” [1969] In the 75th anniversary year of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, 1990, there arose a desire to return to the traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars and which clearly identify the Australian Army. Subsequently a new badge incorporating the words “The Australian Army” was introduced and became the first “Rising Sun” badge to be worn by all Army personnel since the World War [1990]. Following the Twilight War (1995-2000) and the de facto republicanisation of Australia the St. Edward’s Crown was removed from the centre piece and replaced with the Federation Star [2004]. Crown badges however were still in use to as late as 2026. With the adoption of the New Constitution in 2088 and the formation of the ADF as the sole military service a new “Rising Sun” badge incorporating the Southern Cross Flag and the title “Australian Defence Force” was adopted [2088].













The ADF is divided into 12 force commands with peculiar responsibilities. There are four combat force commands; Naval Command (NAV COM) for maritime operations, Field Command (FD COM) is the ground army, Air Force Command (AF COM) – the ADF’s air force, and Space Force Command (SF COM) which operates space installations and ships, including Australia’s stutter-warp capable military vessels. The four “command” force commands are High Command (HI COM), the Headquarters of the ADF, Intelligence Command (INTEL COM) for gathering and understanding military information, Communications Command (COMS COM) that links the ADF and provides a war-time back up to the civilian national communications infrastructure and Inspection Command (SPEC COM) the ADF’s training and standards force. The four support force commands are Medical Command (MED COM), Administration Command (ADMIN COM), Technical Command (TECH COM) and Logistics Command (LOG COM). The ADF has five regional theatres and special mission forces. Earth Theatre (ET) is responsible for military operations on Earth, within its orbit and up to the outer extent of the Solar system. Tirane Theatre (TT) has similar responsibilities on Tirane and in the Centauri system, including Proxima Centauri. Rimward Theatre (RT) is responsible for accessible outer space on the warp linkages from Barnard’s Star out to the edge of Australian known space including the colonies and far station outposts. Peacekeeping Forces (PF) manages all Australian units on peacekeeping treaty enforcement missions. The Commonwealth Expeditionary Force – Australia controls Australian military forces deployed on the French Arm for operations against the Kafer invaders.




Recruitment into the ADF is voluntary in full-time, part-time or militia enlistments. The total ADF personnel strength is 940,000 regulars (550,000 full-time and 390,000 part-time) and 285,000 militia. All Australian citizens are required to complete a period of low-pay government service unless they are exempted and some choose to do this service with the ADF. Exemptions are only available for extreme medical or psychological reasons or if a citizen is living in an underdeveloped territory such as the colonies and far station outposts. This service is to be equal to 36 months full-time employment from the age of 24 and before reaching the age of 30 and an additional 18 months after that time to be completed by the age of 60. There are many different types of mandatory government service filling roles in every government department and bureau, approximately 850,000 young Australians start their service each year, of this number about 50,000 are successful in applying to serve with the ADF. Most of these personnel serve two years full time followed by part-time service for the next four years, they then usually go on to fill the ranks of the ADF’s militia serving about two weeks a year. Even though the ADF uses a form of voluntary national service the main bulk of its personnel are long service professionals, serving a minimum enlistment of eight years which is then renewed biannually until retirement or transfer to part-time or militia service. Part-time service is unlike the historical notions of “reserve” service (even though part-time formations and units carry this title). In the core-worlds of the 24th Century (Earth and Tirane) the highly productive nature of modern labour has lead to many workers having only one or two part-time jobs (20 hours per week). Some family units will have each partner only working one part-time job. Taking advantage of this common labour practice the ADF offers a large number of part-time positions (390,000). These personnel serve 16 hours per week in usually two full-time days of service. They also deploy for four weeks of exercise (24 hours per day) per annum, compared to the normal full-time rate of 12 to 18 weeks. “Reserve” units in the ADF often maintain a level of competence equal to their full-time compatriots, they are certainly not to be considered “chocolate-soldiers” or “chokos”, this title is reserved for the militia. The militia is a throwback to the times of the Reconstruction after the Twilight War when local military forces were vital to the defence effort. Militia units serve on a casual basis of one day per fortnight (two weeks) and two full-time weeks per year. Many militia units have local support roles for security and lines of communications duties. Militia units are prohibited to serve outside Australian territory, even in times of war, without at least 60% of the unit voting to do so.




The ADF has evolved away from the anachronistic system of dividing soldiers up into “enlisted” and “commissioned” personnel to a more modern and effective system. All personnel enlist in the ADF as Defenders however those with leadership and command potential are recognised early on and become candidates for high rank. This system is flexible; receiving a candidate rank is no guarantee of eventual promotion if a Defender doesn’t fulfil adequately their field responsibilities and special training. The large number of Defender grades also allows the ADF to recognize long service by those who may not have formal leadership potential but who play a valuable role in the service. Leaders are perhaps the most important rank level in the ADF. They command the basic field units from Sections/Patrols to Platoons/Troops and provide instrumental leadership to the components operations of other commands. The Leader grade is also where a future Commandant learns their trade as a field leader. Leaders are the equivalent to Corporals, Sergeants and Lieutenants in more traditional rank structures. The Warrant Officer grade is perhaps the least changed in the history of the ADF. WOs are responsible for maintaining discipline and standards amongst Leaders and Defenders. They also provide a stock of field experience and wisdom for Commandants to rely upon in the field. The Adjutant Officer grade provides the ADF with its staff officers and administrators. AO grades are very flexible and filled with potential Commandants fresh from Staff College after service in the Leader ranks and honourably demoted Commandants who didn’t make the grade for higher command plus some promoted Warrant Officers. AOs do much of the hard work that makes the ADF operate as a leading military force. Commandants are the commanders of the ADF and are in charge of everything from rifle companies through to multi-ship space task forces. A commandant is the highest trained and most able person within the ADF; commandants only make up about 1.5% of ADF strength. Promotion and demotion is fierce in these ranks and whilst Inspection Command suppresses any open infighting the extremes to which some Commanders push their units to gain promotion are legendary and infamous. The Commandants of the ADF are also the only citizens of Australia enfranchised to elect the Governor-General, Australia’s ceremonial (yet still powerful) head of state.




Typical Position


Defender – Recruit


Recruit undergoing basic and specialist training

Defender – Trained


Fully trained soldier posted to a unit

Defender – Experienced


Experienced defender with at least two years or operational service

Defender – Leader Candidate


Candidate for leader rank

Defender – Command Candidate


Candidate for commandant rank

Leading Defender


Experienced and highly trained defender with at least four years service

Senior Leading Defender


Experienced and highly trained defender with at least eight years service

Chief Leading Defender


Experienced and highly trained defender with at least 16 years service



Commander of a section

Leader – Command Candidate


Candidate for commandant rank training at a defence force academy

Senior Leader


Deputy platoon commander

Senior Leader – Command Candidate


Candidate for commandant rank during a field placement as a deputy platoon commander

Chief Leader


Commander of a platoon

Chief Leader – Command Candidate


Candidate for commandant rank during a field placement as a platoon commander

(Sub-Unit) Warrant Officer


Senior NCO to a small ship or sub-unit

(Unit) Warrant Officer


Senior NCO to a medium ship or unit

(Force Command) Warrant Officer


Senior NCO to a large ship, formation, or base

Adjutant Officer


Junior staff officer

Senior Adjutant Officer


Mid level staff officer

Chief Adjutant Officer


Senior staff officer

(Sub-Unit) Commandant


Commander of a small ship or sub-unit

(Unit) Commandant


Commander of a medium ship or unit

(Force Command) Commandant


Commander of a large ship, task force or base

(One Star) Commandant


Commander of a formation

(Two Star) Commandant


Commander of a division

(Three Star) Commandant


Commander of a fleet, corps, group or force

(Four Star) Commandant


Commander of a force command or theatre

Commandant of the Australian Defence Force


Commander of the ADF


Force Command Respective Rank Titles


The rank titles of Warrant Officers and Commandants are dependent on their level of command and their unit and/or force command. (Sub-Unit) WOs and Commandants carry the name of their type of sub-unit, most likely Company, Corvette or Deck. (Unit) WOs and Commandants likewise have the name of their type of unit, there are a large number of variations in this category but Unit itself is most common plus Squadron, Battalion, Ship, Cruiser and Battery. (Force Command) Commandants carry the name of their respective force command such as Field Commandant from FD COM and Technical Commandant from TECH COM. The exceptions to this nomenclature are HI COM, NAV COM, AF COM and SF COM where (Force Command) WOs and Commandants are titled Headquarters, Sea, Sky and Star WO or Commandant respectively. Formation level Commandants are referred to based on their level of command, the following table illustrates this practice.


Command Level





Other Commands

One Star






Two Star






Three Star






Four Star



Air Force

Space Force



Role Playing


To join the ADF the character must be an Australian with strength, dextirity, endurance, intelligence and education of at least 10. Enlistment to the ADF is only after having spent at least six years in other careers however ADF service does not require a “turning point” nor count as part of the two career limit. Conscripts who choose not to serve longer than the minimum required automatically receive a three year career unless changing to a Extralegel Career in which the time in career can be less. Career skills are as in the Adventurer’s Guide except:


Field Command Military Career

Initial Training: Combat Rifleman: 4, Heavy Weapons: 2, Melee: 2, Hover Vehicle: 1, Survival: 1, Tactics: 1 and First Aid-1 (Ground Vehicle: 1, Swim: 1 if not chosen as Background Skills)
Primary Skills: All Combat Skills, Ground Vehicle, Hover Vehicle, Stealth, Engineering and all General Skills
Related Skills: Aircraft Pilot, Beareacracy, Computer, Streetwise