Use the correct title and style to refer to members of the armed services.
Address officers in the Australian Defence Force by their military ranks
Use the following order to address officers in the Australian Defence Force:
- given name or initials and family name
- post-nominals (without commas).
- Air Vice Marshal Catherine Roberts AM CSC
When someone has a military rank and another title such as ‘Sir’, ‘Dame’ or ‘the Honourable’, place the military rank first.
Generalthe Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC (Retd)
Write military ranks of more than one word as separate words. Do not hyphenate the rank.
Group CaptainAlison Friedman
Address non-commissioned officers and other ranks by their rank and family name. Do not use their given name.
- Petty Officer
Exception for internal military use
For internal military use, it is common to write the ranks in abbreviated form using capital letters.
Do not use this convention in other types of content. Write the full rank with an initial capital letter.
Lieutenant T Smith
LT T Smith
Write post-nominals for honours and awards after the family name. Place post-nominals before any abbreviations showing service or regiment.
- Vice Admiral Michael Noonan
Chaplains with military rank
Address chaplains with their ecclesiastical title, not their military rank.
Senior ChaplainAngela Nguyen
Emails and letters
In emails and letters, you can address officers of the rank of colonel and above by their rank alone, without adding their name.
In informal correspondence, use the conventional titles ‘Ms’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mx’, ‘Mrs’ or ‘Dr’ to Australian Defence Force personnel of the following ranks and below:
- Navy – Sub Lieutenant
- Army – Lieutenant
- Air Force – Flying Officer.
The Australian War Memorial has a complete list of ranks in the Navy, Army and Air Force.
The digital edition consolidates information from the sixth edition and provides updated examples and external links. It has advice on capitalisation for internal military use that was not in the sixth edition.
The sixth edition had a list of armed service ranks in Australia. This is a link in the digital edition.
Examples in the digital edition do not follow the sixth edition’s requirement for a comma before and between post-nominals. This is consistent with this edition’s recommendation to use minimal punctuation.
The Content Guide did not have information about forms of address and ranks for the armed services.
About this page
Air Force (n.d.) Our leaders, Air Force website, accessed 8 June 2020.
Australian War Memorial (n.d.) ‘Rank’, Understanding military structure, Australian War Memorial website, accessed 8 June 2020.
Australian War Memorial Honours and Awards (n.d.) Collection, Australian War Memorial website, accessed 8 June 2020.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2016) It’s an honour, PM&C website, accessed 13 June 2020.
National Archives of Australia (n.d.) Abbreviations used in World War I and World War II service records, National Archives of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.
Navy (n.d.) Our people, Navy website, accessed 8 June 2020.
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (2019) About the Governor-General, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (n.d.) Australian honours and awards, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.
This page was updated Tuesday 9 March 2021.