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3.1.1 Defence service

The Defence Force means the Permanent Forces – Australian Army, Navy and Air Force – and the Reserves.      

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Defence service (paragraph 6(1)(d) of the MRCA) comprises of:

  • warlike service (as determined by the Defence Minister under paragraph 6(1)(a) of the MRCA);
  • non-warlike service (as determined by the Defence Minister under paragraph 6(1)(b) of the MRCA); and
  • peacetime service means any Defence service other than warlike or non-warlike service (as determined by the Defence Minister under paragraph 6(1)(c) of the MRCA).

Please Note: The nature of service classification system established by the Department of Defence and used under the MRCA (the peacetime/non-warlike/warlike framework), operates in such a way that all service rendered outside an operational area is treated as peacetime service, even where a member or unit is en route to an operational area for the purpose of rendering service on a non-warlike or warlike operation. As a consequence, injuries incurred while outside the operational area (even if only a short distance away from the operational area) must be regarded as having been incurred on peacetime service.

A list of the Ministerial determinations for warlike service are at 3.1.4 and non-warlike service are at 3.1.3. These determinations can also be found in the Service Eligibility Assistant.


For the purposes of applying the MRCA, service with the Defence Force (Defence service) also includes:

  • cadets – when participating in the activities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) cadets only; and
  • declared members – when engaged in or performing activities or acts as specified in a Defence Minister determination made under section 8 of the MRCA only.





Definition of Defence Force

Section 5 of the MRCA


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