The Office of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces was established pursuant to the provisions of the Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004.
It provides military personnel with an independent and impartial external statutory complaint investigation system. It is entirely separate, distinct and independent of both the military chain of command and the Department of Defence and complies with the generally recognized principles of Ombudsmanship. In that regard, the office is recognized by both the Internal Ombudsman Association and the International Conference of Ombuds Institutions for the Armed Forces, ICOAF.
The referral of a complaint to the ODF must take place within 12 months of the date of the occurrence in question or within 12 months of the complainant becoming aware of it, whichever later occurs. There is no limitation period concerning complaints submitted to the Defence Forces, however.