• Print this page

Organisational structure

The administrative structure of The Salvation Army can best be described as being top-down and strongly hierarchical (as shown below) based upon a military model. All official positions with the exception of the General are appointed, however many non-Salvationists are also employed in various capacities.


The top level in the hierarchy is The Salvation Army International Headquarters, located in London (UK). From here the operation of The Salvation Army in over 130 countries in the world, in which it is active, is directed by the General through the administrative departments headed by International (Zonal) Secretaries (Africa, Europe, Americas, South Asia and East Asia). The Chief of Staff, a commissioner appointed by the General to be second-in-command, implements the General's policy decisions and liaises between departments.

The main responsibilities of IHQ deal with strategic, long-range planning; acting as resource centre for the worldwide Army; being facilitator of ideas and policies; and allocation of resources.


The next level in The Salvation Army hierarchy is the Territory and usually corresponds to a country, however, many countries with a numerically strong Salvation Army presence may be divided into a number of territories (U.S.A., Australia, India). The Territorial Headquarters (THQ) is usually located in the country's capital city or, in the case of multiple territories within a single country, a state capital. In some cases a Territory or Command can cover several countries - for example, the Caribbean Territory comprises eighteen (18) separate countries in the region, with headquarters in Jamaica.

The Territory is headed by the Territorial Commander, usually having the rank of Commissioner or Colonel, who reports directly to IHQ or in some cases, through a National Commander. The Territorial Commander is assisted by a Chief Secretary (normally a Colonel) and other departmental Secretaries who are responsible for overseeing the operation of The Salvation Army's activities throughout the Territory.

Australia is covered by two autonomous Territories, as shown below:

Australia Eastern Territory


Territorial Headquarters (THQ) is located in Sydney:

261-265 Chalmers St
NSW 2016
(02) 9264 1711

Postal address:
PO Box A435
Sydney South
NSW 1235

Australia Southern Territory


Territorial Headquarters ( THQ) is located in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne:

95-99 Railway Road
Victoria 3130
(03) 8878 4500

Postal address:
PO Box 479
VIC 3130


Within each territory, The Salvation Army is further broken up into smaller administrative regions called Divisions, controlled by a Divisional Headquarters (DHQ).



166-170 South Parade
Auburn NSW 2144
P: 02 8644 0110
F: 02 9649 2897


97 School Street
Spring Hill QLD 4000
Phone: 07 3222 6666

In the Australia Southern Territory, most of the states are more sparsely populated and are each classified as separate divisions with their DHQ located in the state capital city.

Northern Territory

49 Mitchell St
Darwin NT 0800
(08) 8981 8188

South Australia

39 Florence St
Fullarton SA 5063
(08) 8408 6900


27 Pirie St
Newtown TAS 7008
(03) 6278 7184

Western Australia

333 William St
Northbridge WA 6003
(08) 9260 9500


347-349 Mitcham Rd
Mitcham VIC 3132

PO Box 220
Mitcham VIC 3132

P: (03) 8872 6400
F: (03) 9873 0944



Corps and community services

The Corps and Community Service Centres are The Salvation Army's local link with the community and are administered by their Divisional Headquarters.


Corps are The Salvation Army community churches, which embody the total Salvationist mission of joyful worship, fellowship and community service. Through their meetings, Sunday Schools and clubs they seek to encourage people in Christian faith. They also seek to advance the future of people by building stronger character, encouraging Christian values, training in the Christian lifestyle, promoting emotional health and stimulating creative abilities. They address issues of public concern and seek to awaken the social and moral conscience of the general public by taking and furthering biblical based positions on social issues that profoundly affect the quality of human life like abortion, alcohol, gambling, pornography and euthanasia. The corps achieve these goals by providing:

  • worship services
  • community activities ( activities offered and times are dependant upon the corps). These may include: 
  • Bible studies
  • companion club
  • craft groups
  • home league
  • kid's club
  • youth club
  • community services (or referral) such as: Emergency Relief, community support, thrift shop, youth services

Contact a corps (community church) in your locality

Community service centres

Community Service Centres provide aid and support to people in need within the community in the form of emergency assistance and rehabilitation.

Emergency assistance is the helping of people who are in immediate crisis in such a way as to stabilise their lives and provide a better foundation for a hopeful future developing coping skills and strengthening economic self-sufficiency.

Rehabilitation is the helping of people who have been living in ways that are destructive to themselves and others to salvage and rebuild their lives.

The main areas in which The Salvation Army provides community services are:

  • Addiction Services (Alcohol, Drug and Gambling)
  • Aged Care Services
  • Counselling Services
  • Court and Prison Services
  • Disability Services
  • Emergency Services
  • Employment Services (Employment Plus)
  • Community Support Services (Emergency Relief)
  • Family Tracing Service (Missing Persons)
  • Homeless / Domestic Violence Services
  • Migrant Services
  • Youth Services


Like the organisational structure, the levels of leadership within The Salvation Army are hierarchical in structure, set up on a military footing. The Salvation Army's Australian leadership structure is as follows:

Territorial commander

Responsible for the Army's operation throughout a Territory.

Chief secretary

Responsible for the administration and daily operation of The Salvation Army within a Territory.

Cabinet secretaries

Are members of executive cabinet and have responsibility of their specific areas. ie: Personnel, Program, Business Administration.

Divisional commander / Regional officer

The Australia Eastern Territory is divided only into divisions while the Australia Southern Territory is divided into both divisions and the Northern Territory Region. These areas are headed up by a Divisional Commander and a Northern Territory Regional Officer.

Corps and social officers

Are appointed to manage the operations of The Salvation Army in these types of positions throughout the Territory.


Ranks in The Salvation Army

In keeping with the military structure, clergy in the Army are known as 'officers' who hold varying ranks, and members are known as 'soldiers'.


Salvation Army church members, or soldiers, worship at their local Corps (church) and may wear a uniform, although unlike officers, they usually only wear it during Sunday worship or whilst attending Salvation Army functions and activities. More information on membership of The Salvation Army can be found by contacting your local Corps.



A non-commissioned soldier who passes through an acceptance process to undertake an appointment normally held by an officer. The Envoy needs to undertake training, including "intensives" whilst working in an appointment under "officer" conditions, receiving an officer allowance and other benefits.


A Salvation Army church member, or soldier, who has been accepted to become an officer and is undertaking training with The Salvation Army Officer Training College as part of a two year residential course.


The  first officer rank, and the appointment received by cadets at their commissioning and ordination after two year's training.


After five years of service as a Lieutenant, and on completion of post-commissioning studies, an officer is promoted to the rank of Captain.


After 15 years of service as a Captain the officer is promoted to Major.

Lieutenant Colonel: 

Allocated to officers in senior leadership roles, including Cabinet Secretaries in smaller territories and Officers commanding in Commands.


Chief Secretaries in larger territories and territorial commanders in smaller territories, as well as some senior positions at International Headquarters.


The leader of a larger territory. International Secretaries are also usually also given the rank of Commissioner.


The world-wide leader of The Salvation Army, elected by the most senior Salvation Army officers in the world. There is only one 'General' and his/her spouse holds the rank of 'Commissioner'. See past generals

Lay personnel

The Salvation Army employs a number of lay personnel (church members) throughout its territories. In both the Australia Eastern and Southern Territories, lay personnel are engaged in all aspects of the Army's work. They can be and are involved in areas such as managing social/aged care centres, Salvos Stores, emergency centres and assisting in the administration functions of The Salvation Army's operations.

Officer personnel

The Salvation Army's ministers, or officers, are appointed by the Territorial Headquarters. Local congregations of Salvationists are encouraged to support their officers, but have no responsibility or participation in the appointment process.

The Territorial Commander and Chief Secretary are appointed by the international leader of The Salvation Army, the General. Their role is to oversee and administer the work and mission of The Salvation Army within a given Territory. Senior executive officers are, on the recommendation of the Territorial Commander, also appointed by the General.

All other appointments within a Territory are the responsibility of the Territorial Commander.

Officer training and development

All officers receive an initial two years of residential training at a Salvation Army Training College. Following this, the new officers undertake off-campus post-commissioning training, engaging in further studies.

Every Territory of The Salvation Army caters to the developmental needs of its own particular situation and ethos. Within Australia there is now a continuous officer development review process. This enables officers to meet with their Divisional Commanders and set goals and objectives for the next 12 months, and formulate a development program to address areas of concern.

Women in The Salvation Army

From the beginning, The Salvation Army has taken a firm stance on the place of women, and has accepted the validity of female ministry. This was largely shaped by Catherine Booth's firm conviction that women should be free to preach the Gospel. 

Today, women officers are commissioned and appointed on the same terms as men. A married female officer is an officer in her own right, and undertakes the same course of preparatory training as her husband before being commissioned. 

The Orders and Regulations of The Salvation Army drafted by William Booth state that: 'Women shall have the right to an equal share with men in the work of publishing salvation; A woman may hold any position of power and authority within the Army; A woman is not to be kept back from any position of power or influence on account of her sex; Women must be treated as equal with men in all intellectual and social relationships of life.'

97 School Street

QLD 4000

Phone: 07 3222 6666