Structure & Membership
What does it signify when someone puts on a Salvation Army uniform?
The administration of The Salvation Army is top-down and autocratic, in true military style, with all positions except that of General being held by appointment.
The General directs Salvation Army operations throughout 108 countries of the world in collaboration with the administrative departments of International Headquarters (IHQ) in London, which are headed by International Secretaries.
The Chief of the Staff, a commissioner appointed by the General to be second-incommand, is the Army’s chief executive whose function is to implement the General’s policy decisions and effect liaison between departments. As well as the handling of day-to-day business and the allocation of resources, IHQ is concerned with strategic, long range planning and acts as a resource centre for the worldwide Army and as a facilitator of ideas and policies.
For administrative purposes, The Salvation Army is split into Territories. Usually each country forms a single Salvation Army Territory, but some where the Army is strong numerically are divided into two or more Territories. Territorial leaders are called Territorial Commanders (usually Commissioners in rank, sometimes Colonels) and they are responsible either to a National Commander or directly to International Headquarters.
Territorial Commanders are based at Territorial Headquarters (THQ), where they are assisted by a Chief Secretary and various other Secretaries (departmental heads) responsible for overseeing the various branches of Army activity.
There are currently 56 Salvation Army Territories in the world. Australia has two: the Australia Eastern Territory (NSW, ACT and Qld) has headquarters in Sydney, and the Australia Southern Territory (Vic., Tas., SA, WA, NT) has headquarters in Melbourne. The Salvation Army in Australia does not have a National Commander, but rather, each of the Territories is responsible to International Headquarters.
The Australia Eastern Territory of The Salvation Army operates under a Cabinet Administrative System. The five member Administrative Cabinet – similar to a Board – determines policy and strategy for the Territory, particularly as it relates to the future.
Each Territory throughout The Salvation Army world is divided into Divisions, which are administered by Divisional Commanders, who are responsible to the Territorial Commander. A Division is a grouping of districts, similar to a diocese in the Anglican Church. Each Division consists of a number of Corps and social centres which are mostly run by officers of varying rank.
In the Australia Eastern Territory there are seven Divisions: Sydney East and Illawarra; The Greater West; Newcastle and Central NSW; North NSW; ACT and South NSW; South Qld; and Central and North Qld.
A Corps is The Salvation Army equivalent of a church, and often acts as a community centre. Each Corps is led by a Corps Officer who is responsible to the Divisional Commander. There are around 350 Corps in Australia.