The Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC) (Known as the Australian Service Cadet Scheme until 2001) comprises three Australian Defence Force affiliated community-based, youth development organisations of approximately 22,000 cadets and 2,200 cadet staff in 464 units and squadrons across Australia. Coordination of the Australian Defence Force Cadets is via the ADF HQ unit called Reserve and Youth Division, with Commander ADF Cadets - directly accountable to VCDF. The ADFC is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Defence, in partnership with the community.
The Australian Defence Force Cadets have been a large part of the Australian community since the 19th century. After the cadets were re-raised in 1976 the three cadet services were grouped together as the Australian Services Cadet Scheme, beforehand the three organisations were run under the directions of single service policy, in 2001 the name was changed to the Australian Defence Force Cadets as recommended by a review. While the Australian Defence Force Cadets is sponsored by ADF (Australian Defence Force) and runs under a similar rank structure, uniform and training activities, the ADFC is not an official branch of the Defence Force and runs in accordance with the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict which Australia has signed.
Cadet units are referred to differently depending on the parent service. Air Force Cadet units are referred to as Squadrons, Navy Cadet units are referred to as Training Ships and Army Cadet units are referred to as Army Cadet Units. The ADFC comprise three organisations: