SASR - Selection and Training

Selection is open to all serving male Australian military personnel and involves a 3 week selection course which assesses both individual attributes and the ability to work effectively in a small team. Prior to Selection SAS candidates will face the Special Forces Paper Board to assess their psychological and medical suitability for the SASR. Around 80% will meet the standard and continue to the Special Forces Entry Test (also called the barrier test) that tests their physical fitness and includes push-ups, endurance marches and swimming. Another 80% of applicants will pass the Special Forces Entry Test and continue on to the three week SASR selection course. Approximately 25 percent of the remaining applicants pass the SAS selection course. Following selection candidates must complete up to 18 months of further courses before they join a squadron as a junior trooper or troop commander (Captain). Officers only complete the necessary basic courses to qualify them for service in the unit. Their expertise is in planning and administration. In general, they do not get the opportunity to complete all the specialist courses required of the ORs. A wide array of training and courses are conducted throughout a SASR Soldier's career to allow the regiment to have the most highly-qualified soldiers in the Australian Defence Force.

A new troop commander is carefully mentored by both his troop sergeant and patrol commanders. Generally, a troop commander will only serve in the unit for two or three years but may come back as a Major if he has performed well. Soldiers may serve in the Regiment for their entire career, but this will usually include one or more two year external postings to instructional positions on the east coast.

Promotion for soldiers is quite slow in the unit. On receiving their coveted sand-coloured SAS beret, all soldiers are given the rank of Trooper, which may involve a reduction from their previous rank. They usually also change corps if they are not already members of the Infantry Corps. Despite a possible reduction in rank, SASR soldiers receive significant allowances, which make them among the highest paid soldiers in the Australian Defence Force. With specialist allowances an SASR Trooper earns about $100,000 per annum.

Since their beginnings in 1954, the SASR has lost more men in training than on combat operations, due to the nature of their training regime.