For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Vice Chief of the Defence Force (Australia).

Vice Chief of the Defence Force (Australia)

This article relies excessively on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. Find sources: "Vice Chief of the Defence Force" Australia – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

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

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.


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.

No. Picture Vice Chief of the Defence Force Took office Left office Defence branch Ref.
Ray Funnell AO
Funnell, RayAir Marshal
Ray Funnell AO
(born 1935)
6 June 1986July 1987RAAF[2][8]
Ian Knox AC
Knox, IanVice Admiral
Ian Knox AC
July 198716 September 1989RAN[9]
Alan Beaumont AC
Beaumont, AlanVice Admiral
Alan Beaumont AC
16 September 1989October 1992RAN[9]
John Baker AC
Baker, JohnLieutenant General
John Baker AC
October 1992April 1995Army[10]
Robert Walls AO
Walls, RobertVice Admiral
Robert Walls AO
(born 1941)
April 1995March 1997RAN[10]
Chris Barrie AC
Barrie, ChrisVice Admiral
Chris Barrie AC
(born 1945)
March 19973 July 1998RAN[10]
Douglas Riding AO, DFC
Riding, DouglasAir Marshal
Douglas Riding AO, DFC
(born 1943)
3 July 19985 June 2000RAAF[10]
Desmond Mueller AO
Mueller, DesmondLieutenant General
Desmond Mueller AO
(born 1943)
5 June 200015 July 2002Army
Russ Shalders AO, CSC
Shalders, RussVice Admiral
Russ Shalders AO, CSC
(born 1951)
15 July 20024 July 2005RAN
Ken Gillespie AO, DSC, CSM
Gillespie, KenLieutenant General
Ken Gillespie AO, DSC, CSM
(born 1952)
4 July 20053 July 2008Army
David Hurley AC, DSC
Hurley, DavidLieutenant General
David Hurley AC, DSC
(born 1953)
3 July 20083 July 2011Army
Mark Binskin AC
Binskin, MarkAir Marshal
Mark Binskin AC
(born 1960)
3 July 201130 June 2014RAAF
Ray Griggs AO, CSC
Griggs, RayVice Admiral
Ray Griggs AO, CSC
(born 1961)
30 June 20145 July 2018RAN
David Johnston AC
Johnston, DavidVice Admiral
David Johnston AC
(born 1962)
5 July 2018IncumbentRAN


David Johnston (admiral)Ray GriggsMark BinskinDavid HurleyKen GillespieRuss ShaldersDesmond MuellerDouglas RidingChris Barrie (admiral)Robert Walls (admiral)John Baker (general)Alan BeaumontIan Knox (admiral)Ray Funnell


  1. ^ ADF Website (accessed 25 May 2010)
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c d [1] Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group Organisational Chart
  5. ^ a b c d [2] Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group overview of Commands and Divisions overview
  6. ^ [3] Australian Government Directory of the Military Strategic Commitments Division
  7. ^ [4] 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. ^ a b 'Seeing Stars' Navy News, p 11 (accessed 25 May 2010
  10. ^ a b c d (accessed 26 May 2010)
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Vice Chief of the Defence Force (Australia)
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?