Northern Command (Australia)

The Northern Command is a joint operational Australian Defence Force formation. Northern Command is responsible for the planning and conduct of operations to the north of Australia during peacetime and wartime. In addition, Northern Command manages the defence aspects of the multi-agency Maritime Border Command.

The command's surveillance units include the three army Regional Force Surveillance Units: Norforce, the Pilbara Regiment in Western Australia, and the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment.

Northern Command's area of operations covers Queensland and the Northern Territory above 19 degrees south and the Kimberley and Pilbara Districts of Western Australia. Northern Command's headquarters are located at Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin, Northern Territory.


Headquarters Northern Command’s roles and responsibilities include the following as of 2003:[1]

  • the conduct of military surveillance and response operations;
  • direct, coordinate and support all Defence Aid to the Civil Community activities;
  • facilitate support to Defence Force Aid to the Civil Authority;
  • re-establish and maintain military operational links with military counterparts in Eastern Indonesia; [As of 2007 the nearest Indonesian TNI regional command was Kodam IX/Udayana.]
  • act as the ADF single point of contact for, and coordinate ADF liaison with the NT Government;
  • coordinate ADF liaison with Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Govt Agencies, NGOs, other agencies and organisations, and the community; and
  • facilitate industry and commercial support to ADF operations and exercises.


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51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment

The 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment (51 FNQR) is an Australian Army Regional Force Surveillance Unit. The battalion's primary role is to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance tasks in support of border security operations. Its area of operations includes the Torres Strait (especially Australia's border with Papua New Guinea) and the Cape York littoral environment. Additional tasks for 51FNQR include the collection and collation of military geographic information as well as community engagement and disaster relief operations.

Soldiers in the unit are cross-trained in a variety of "low-visibility" skills such as weapons, survival, sniping, medic, small boat handling, driving, tracking, air operations. It is the only battalion of the Far North Queensland Regiment, and draws its lineage from an Australian Imperial Force (AIF) light infantry battalion, which was raised for service during World War I.


The NORFORCE (North-West Mobile Force) is an infantry regiment of the Australian Army Reserve. Formed in 1981, the regiment is one of three Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSUs) employed in surveillance and reconnaissance of the remote areas of Northern Australia. It consists of a regimental headquarters, four surveillance squadrons, and an operational support squadron and training squadron.

Northern Command

Northern Command can refer to one of the following:

United States Northern Command

Northern Command (Israel)

Northern Command (Australia)

Northern Command (India)

Northern Command (RAAF)

Northern Command (United Kingdom)

IRA Northern Command

Pilbara Regiment

The Pilbara Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Australian Army Reserve and is one of three Regional Force Surveillance Units employed in surveillance and reconnaissance of the remote areas of northern Australia. Most elements of the regiment are stationed in Pilbara region of north-west Australia.

Regional Force Surveillance Units

The Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSUs) are specialised infantry units of the Australian Army Reserve responsible for patrolling northern Australia. Collectively, the RFSUs form the Regional Force Surveillance Group commanded by a Colonel based at the 2nd Division Headquarters in Sydney. The RFSUs conduct regular operational patrols during peacetime, and are composed primarily of Reservists who live within the area of operations. There are currently three battalion-sized RFSUs:

North-West Mobile Force (NORFORCE) (responsible for the Northern Territory and Kimberley region of Western Australia)

The Pilbara Regiment (responsible for the Pilbara region of Western Australia)

51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment (responsible for North Queensland)

& Training

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