Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Mystique of the Australian Defence Force Academy



The Mystique of the Australian Defence Force Academy

By Graeme Wong
Spirit News
November 24, 2072

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is a tri-service military Academy that provides military and tertiary academic education for junior officers of the Australian Defence Force in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Tertiary education is provided by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra campus, which is the awarding body for ADFA qualifications. Apart from educating future leaders of the Australian Defence Force, UNSW campus also provides postgraduate programs and short courses both to Department of Defence personnel and the general public.

The stated purpose of ADFA is "to serve Australia by providing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with tertiary graduates who have the attributes, intellect and skills required of an officer."

ADFA is located in the suburb of Campbell, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, near the Australian Government district of Russell. It is situated next to Mount Pleasant, which gives some parts of ADFA a view over the rest of Canberra. The ADFA is also adjacent to the Australian Army military academy, the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

The junior officers that attend the Australian Defence Force Academy hold the rank of Midshipman (MIDN) in the Royal Australian Navy, Officer Cadet (OCDT) in the Australian Army and Officer Cadet (OFFCDT) in the Royal Australian Air Force.

After World War II, each of the three Armed Services adopted, as policy, that the educational standards should be raised for officers in training. In 1967 an agreement was reached between the Department of Defence and the University of New South Wales, under which they would co-operate to develop the Royal Military College (RMC) into a degree-level institution. To that end, the University established the Faculty of Military Studies at RMC to conduct courses leading to the award of the University's degrees in arts, science and engineering.

Also in 1967, the University of New South Wales entered into an association with the RAN College enabling it to present approved courses. Subsequently, first year courses for certain University programs in arts, science and engineering were introduced. Successful cadets were sponsored by the Navy to complete Bachelor's degrees on the University's campus.

Concurrent with the developments at the RAN College and RMC, from 1967 to 1970, Sir Leslie H. Martin chaired the Commonwealth Government's Tertiary Education (Services' Cadet Colleges) Committee into the feasibility of setting up a college for the joint education of officer cadets of the three Armed Services.

Investigations on a wider scale followed with the result that in 1974 the Commonwealth Government announced its intention of establishing a single tertiary institution for the Defence Force. In 1977 the government formally established the Australian Defence Force Academy as a Joint Service Unit under Section 32c of the Defence Act 1903. The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Neville McNamara, simultaneously announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, Royal Australian Navy as the Commandant. Construction began on the site in 1981. In February 1984 the University of New South Wales announced the appointment of Professor G.V.H. Wilson as Rector of the University College. In September 1985 the Interim Academy Council ceased its functions and the Australian Defence Force Academy Council held its inaugural meeting under the Chairmanship of Sir Edward Woodward.

In 1986 ADFA opened and began providing military and tertiary academic education for Midshipmen and Officer Cadets. In late 2003 the Australian Department of Defence entered into another agreement with the University of New South Wales for the operation of University College at ADFA.