Cadet takes the lead

Published on CPL Julia Whitwell (author and photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT

Topic(s): Australian Defence Force Academy, Leadership

Midshipman Tiffany McCormack, at the Australian Defence Academy in Canberra. (photo: CPL Julia Whitwell)
Midshipman Tiffany McCormack, at the Australian Defence Academy in Canberra.

The responsibilities of the Australian Defence Force Academy’s Cadet Captain have come with different challenges this year, due to bushfires and COVID-19.

Midshipman Tiffany McCormack understudies the Commanding Officer in a student-formed command structure to liaise between headquarter staff and students.

“I am the midpoint between command intent and the understanding of that intent by trainee officers, and act as a representative for their initiatives,” Midshipman McCormack said.

Midshipman Tiffany McCormack, at the Australian Defence Academy in Canberra.

Midshipman Tiffany McCormack, at the Australian Defence Academy in Canberra.

As Emergency Services staged at ADFA during Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST, Cadets provided logistics support, taking responsibility for accommodation and rations, with Midshipman McCormack in charge of this Cadet effort.

COVID-19 also presented logistical challenges for the students themselves. It shifted the cohort’s studies to online delivery and disrupted leave periods when cadets would usually travel home.

Midshipman McCormack said these challenges had added pressure to an already heavy work and study load.

“My role would revolve around facilitating guest speakers and coordinating events and Cadet incentives,” Midshipman McCormack said.

“This year was a lot of trying to find a balance between what staff needed to achieve due to restrictions and managing what people were going through.

“We’ve done a lot of work around promoting resilience and mental health.”

Midshipman McCormack said the role was rewarding and challenging.

“At a junior level you’re exposed to more tactical situations, but in this role I’m thrown into situations where I have to understand how to think more strategically,” Midshipman McCormack said.

“I’ve had exposure to logistics, planning and decision making on a scale I wouldn’t otherwise get until much further into my Navy career,” she said.