Officers are the senior management of the ISDC, responsible for coordinating the successful completion of missions and projects. Officers are also responsible for the career development of those under their command.

Commissioned officers are military specialists, developing the leadership skills necessary to ensure effectiveness in dangerous and tactically complex environments. While crew typically undertake very technically focused careers, officer careers aim to provide a broader range of skills and experience. This gives officers a wider operational context that enables them to better manage the range of skills and resources available to their mission, department or project.

Entry and Training

Officers typically enter the service as cadets, without any specialist training prerequisites. They receive common training and undertake basic study to familiarise them with the fundamentals of each branch in the service, which may include one or more familiarisation cruises aboard a vessel. On completion of this training, cadets are offered a commission and the rank of ensign.

Direct Entry

Officers from other military services with skills and experience relevant to the ISDC may transfer directly to an equivalent rank in the ISDC after completion of common training.

Officer Career Tracks

Officer career tracks are not as prescriptive as those for crew. It is possible for an officer to move between a number of different branches as their career progresses as long as the required training and experience has been achieved for the desired post.

Line Officers

Line officers undertake a broad, operationally focused career which is typically the most direct track to command. Their experience will include posts across a range of operational areas, beginning with supervisory roles for small vessel teams (or 'divisions'). With experience junior command posts such as system officer (responsible for specific vessel systems and their crews) will become available. Officers will seek watch qualification so they can lead their department as a Watch Officer or assume overall command of the ship during a watch as Officer of the Deck.

Those officers demonstrating aptitude in these posts can expect to be selected for command roles such as department head.

Specialist Officers

Officers interested in careers within specialist branches such as engineering, science or medical have similar career tracks to line officers but within a more defined professional area. Specialist officers undertake focused technical training and are typically assigned posts within their specialisation.

Specialist officers demonstrating aptitude can expect to be selected for command roles such as department head.


The most senior positions for officers from both career tracks include executive officer or senior mission roles aboard vessels, or program management roles ashore.

Outstanding officers from any branch (but most usually line officers) may be selected for command training, the successful completion of which will qualify them for these command roles. After command training, those appointed to executive officer posts have the opportunity to demonstrate command aptitude, with the very best and most experienced officers ultimately selected to command a vessel.