Vice Chief of the Defence Force (Australia)

The Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) is the military deputy to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) of Australia, and acts as the CDF in his absence under standing acting arrangements. Vice Admiral David Johnston, the incumbent VCDF, has held the position since 5 July 2018.

Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force
David Johnston

since 5 July 2018
StyleVice Admiral
Lieutenant General
Air Marshal
Member ofAustralian Defence Force
Reports toChief of the Defence Force
Term lengthFour years
Formation6 June 1986 (1986-06-06)
First holderAir Marshal Ray Funnell


Created in 1986, the VCDF is a three-star officer in the Australian Defence Force (lieutenant general, vice admiral, or air marshal). The position's standing responsibilities include: Joint Doctrine, Education, Training and Evaluation; Joint Logistics; Reserve Policy; and Joint Capabilities, Commitments and Concepts. When acting as Chief of the Defence Force, the VCDF attends the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSCC) and Secretary’s Committee on National Security (SCNS).[1]

Until September 2007, the VCDF was "double hatted" as the Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS). In this role he commanded Australian Defence Force operations on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Force. In September 2007, the Minister of Defence, Brendan Nelson announced the formation of a separate three-star CJOPS position based at the Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC) facility at Bungendore, New South Wales.[2][3]


The appointment is made by the Governor General on the advice of his/her ministers under Section 9AA of the Defence Act (1903) and is for a fixed term of four years, nominally rotated between the three services, Navy, Army and Air Force; however in practice this has not been the case and the appointment has been held for longer or shorter periods of time. The role is politically neutral, as are all military positions, and is not affected by a change of government.

VCDF Group

The Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group is responsible for the provision of military strategic effects and commitments advice and planning, joint military professional education and training, logistics support, health support, ADF cadet and reserve policy, joint capability coordination, preparedness management, and joint and combined ADF doctrine.[4][5]

The Military Strategic Commitments Division (MSCD) provides and coordinates ADF tri-service and joint strategic advice across the Australian Government (including the Headquarters Joint Operations Command and the Defence Strategic Policy and Intelligence Group) and situational awareness for current and potential ADF commitments. The Head Military Strategic Commitments is also responsible for the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service, strategic communications, strategic crisis response, the Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program, and engagement with the United Nations and other coalition partners.[4][5][6]

The Military Strategic Plans Division (MSPD) provides strategic planning linking policy and operational arrangements.

The Force Integration Division (FID) is responsible for the design, development, integration and coordination of ADF joint warfare capabilities, including information systems, effects-based operations, and counter-IED efforts.[4][5][7]

The Force Design Division is responsible for the provision of guidance and planning for future joint force design, requirements, and capabilities of the ADF.[4][5]


The following list chronologically records those who have held the post of Vice Chief of the Defence Force. Rank and honours are as at the completion of the individual's term.

RankNamePostnominalsServiceTerm beganTerm endedTime in Appointment
Air Marshal Ray Funnell AO RAAF 6 June 1986[2][8] January 1987 209 days
Vice Admiral Ian Knox AC, RAN RAN January 1987 16 September 1989 [9] 2 years, 258 days
Vice Admiral Alan Beaumont AC, RAN RAN 16 September 1989[9] October 1992 3 years, 15 days
Lieutenant General John Baker AC Army October 1992 April 1995[10] 2 years, 182 days
Vice Admiral Robert Walls AO, RAN RAN April 1995[10] March 1997 1 year, 334 days
Vice Admiral Chris Barrie AC, RAN RAN March 1997 3 July 1998[10] 1 year, 122 days
Air Marshal Douglas Riding AO, DFC RAAF 3 July 1998 [10] 5 June 2000 1 year, 340 days
Lieutenant General Desmond Mueller AO Army 5 June 2000 15 July 2002 2 years, 40 days
Vice Admiral Russ Shalders AO, CSC, RAN RAN 15 July 2002 4 July 2005 2 years, 351 days
Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie AO, DSC, CSM Army 4 July 2005 3 July 2008 2 years, 365 days
Lieutenant General David Hurley AC, DSC Army 4 July 2008 3 July 2011 2 years, 364 days
Air Marshal Mark Binskin AC RAAF 4 July 2011 30 June 2014 2 years, 361 days
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN RAN 30 June 2014 5 July 2018 4 years, 5 days
Vice Admiral David Johnston AO, RAN RAN 5 July 2018 Incumbent 1 year, 165 days



  1. ADF Website (accessed 25 May 2010)
  2. VADM Shalders (2 April 2003). "Transcript of Speech to RUSI 'The Evolving role of the Vice Chief of the Defence Force'". Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  3. Minister of Defence Press Release MIN99/07 19 September 2007 Archived 30 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group Organisational Chart
  5. Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group overview of Commands and Divisions overview
  6. Australian Government Directory of the Military Strategic Commitments Division
  7. Australian Government Directory overview of the Joint Capability Management and Integration Division
  8. RAAF Air Development Power Centre (6 June 1986). "Funnell first VCDF". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  9. 'Seeing Stars' Navy News, p 11 (accessed 25 May 2010
  10. (accessed 26 May 2010)
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.