Vice Chief of the Defence Force (Australia)

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Vice Chief of the
Australian Defence Force
Ray Griggs

since 30 June 2014
Style Vice Admiral
Lieutenant General
Air Marshal
Member of Australian Defence Force
Reports to Chief of the Defence Force
Term length Four years (renewable)
Inaugural holder Air Marshal Ray Funnell
Formation 6 June 1986

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.

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]

The appointment is made by the Governor General on the advice of his ministers under Section 9AA of the Defence Act (1903) and is for a fixed term of three 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.

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, the incumbent VCDF, has held the position since 30 June 2014.[2]

Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group[edit]

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.[3]


Rank Name Postnominals Service Term began Term ended Time in Appointment
Air Marshal Funnell, RayRay Funnell AO  Royal Australian Air Force 6 June 1986[4][5] January 1987 208 days
Vice Admiral Knox, IanIan Knox AC, RAN  Royal Australian Navy January 1987 16 September 1989 [6] 2 years, 259 days
Vice Admiral Beaumont, AlanAlan Beaumont AC, RAN  Royal Australian Navy 16 September 1989[6] October 1992 3 years,  14 days
Lieutenant General Baker, JohnJohn Baker AC Australia Australian Army October 1992 April 1995[7] 2 years, 182 days
Vice Admiral Walls, RobertRobert Walls AO, RAN  Royal Australian Navy April 1995[7] March 1997 1 year,  334 days
Vice Admiral Barrie, ChrisChris Barrie AC, RAN  Royal Australian Navy March 1997 3 July 1998[7] 1 year,  122 days
Air Marshal Riding, DouglasDouglas Riding AO, DFC  Royal Australian Air Force 3 July 1998 [7] 5 June 2000 1 year,  341 days
Lieutenant General Mueller, DesmondDesmond Mueller AO Australia Australian Army 5 June 2000 15 July 2002 2 years,  40 days
Vice Admiral Shalders, RussRuss Shalders AO, CSC, RAN  Royal Australian Navy 15 July 2002 4 July 2005 2 years, 350 days
Lieutenant General Gillespie, KenKen Gillespie AO, DSC, CSM Australia Australian Army 4 July 2005 3 July 2008 2 years, 365 days
Lieutenant General Hurley, DavidDavid Hurley AC, DSC Australia Australian Army 4 July 2008 3 July 2011 2 years, 364 days
Air Marshal Binskin, MarkMark Binskin AC  Royal Australian Air Force 4 July 2011 30 June 2014 2 years, 361 days
Vice Admiral Griggs, RayRay Griggs AO, CSC, RAN  Royal Australian Navy 30 June 2014 Incumbent 1 year,  216 days


Ray Griggs Mark Binskin David Hurley Ken Gillespie Russ Shalders Desmond Mueller Douglas Riding Chris Barrie (admiral) Robert Walls (admiral) John Baker (general) Alan Beaumont Ian Knox (admiral) Ray Funnell

Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS)[edit]

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 (Liberal) 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.[4][8]


  1. ^ ADF Website (accessed 25 May 2010)
  2. ^ "Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN". Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group. Department of Defence. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "About the Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group". Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group. Department of Defence. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ RAAF Air Development Power Centre (6 June 1986). "Funnell first VCDF". Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  6. ^ a b 'Seeing Stars' Navy News, p 11 (accessed 25 May 2010
  7. ^ a b c d (accessed 26 May 2010)
  8. ^ Minister of Defence Press Release MIN99/07 19 September 2007