The Diplomatic Glass Cliff: Women’s Representation and Diplomacy’s Decline

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Elise Stephenson Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Australian National University Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia

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For the first time in history, women in Australian diplomacy have equal or near-equal representation in leadership whilst the institution they represent is shrinking — in funding, footprint and status. Even if simply a natural shift in policy priorities, this diplomatic ‘glass cliff’ has specifically gendered effects. Indeed, ‘hard’ militaristic agencies — where funding and prestige flow — remain pockets of gender resistance in Australian international affairs. This article employs a combination of qualitative interview analysis as well as quantitative longitudinal data on gender representation and agency funding across four case agencies to argue that women are gaining positions of diplomatic leadership just as diplomacy’s relative power, influence and funding decreases. It contributes to women’s leadership research in finding that women’s increased opportunities in leadership are therefore constrained by the declining status or shrinking nature of the institution to which they are gaining access.

1 Introduction

Women’s functional power in leadership positions is constrained by the state of the institutions they occupy. This puts women in Australian diplomacy in a difficult position, as for the first time in history women in Australian diplomacy have equal or near-equal representation in leadership whilst the institution they represent is shrinking — in funding, footprint and status. Diplomacy’s decline is not new, with Hocking noting that ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) are losing their gate-keeping role in diplomacy following a ‘state of relative decline’ over the past decades.1 Additionally, globalisation has widened diplomatic action for other actors and communication channels that do not always require the involvement of the MFA. Coupled with the trend towards militarism in some countries globally, and an erosion of power, prestige, status and influence, MFAs’ role at the forefront of statecraft and diplomacy is in question.

Whilst these processes have been well documented, what has not been documented is the impact this has on women or on diplomatic and other international affairs institutions’ aims for equality. Women’s greater presence within MFAs is increasingly evidenced, with the gradual opening up for women in diplomacy following the lifting of bans on women in the foreign service in many countries, a gradual reclassification of roles, shifting social norms, the introduction gender targets and specific hiring and promotions processes, and a wider push within international affairs to demonstrate leadership in gender equality.2 From representing roughly 15 per cent of ambassadors globally, women in some regions are marching far ahead.3 In Australia, women are approaching or have reached parity in diplomatic leadership for the first time in history,4 and despite potential impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,5 opportunities appear to be increasing for women seeking a diplomatic career.

While the decline of diplomacy and rising gender parity have been studied in isolation from each other,6 this article seeks to understand what — if any — relation can be drawn between the two trends using the case study of Australia. Attributing causation is not possible, yet this article seeks to have a first go at describing several empirical trends that relate to gender composition, material resources/funding and symbolic status across Australia’s core international affairs agencies. It is beyond the scope of this article to tease out the causal relations between these trends, even though this is ultimately what motivates the study. However, the article does cover crucial groundwork, empirically mapping a) gender composition, b) material resources/funding and c) symbolic status (prestige and power) of the institutions and how these have shifted over time. In examining diplomatic funding and status trends in parallel to women’s rising representation, I argue that 1) an erosion in the status and prestige of diplomacy and 2) the decline in the relative importance and funding of traditional diplomacy in favour of ‘hard’ defence and security-led Australian international affairs have specifically gendered ramifications. Indeed, Towns notes that ‘diplomacy may be particularly prone to feminisation in such contexts of masculinised militarism’, which has implications for power and opportunities for women in the field.7 The findings from this article suggest that more women are gaining positions of diplomatic leadership just as diplomacy’s relative power, influence and funding decreases. Building on devaluation and glass cliff theory, if found more widely, this indicates that women’s newly made gains in representation are constrained by the shrinking functional power of the roles and institutions they occupy.

This article seeks to contribute empirically and theoretically to research on women in shrinking institutions and add to the research fields surrounding gender representation and diplomacy. Whilst prior research has focused on how the decline of diplomacy has changed the role of diplomats, what they do and how they do it, it has not analysed this current development from a gender perspective. This article therefore adds empirical knowledge on how the changing status, prestige, power and/or influence of MFAs occurs in parallel to the feminisation of diplomacy.

The article also draws on feminist institutionalist (FI) and gender inequality theories, with concepts of devaluation and the glass cliff applied to qualitative and quantitative data collected on gender and diplomacy from the last 30+ years within the Australian context. Utilising a feminist mixed methods approach, the article will analyse data on gender and diplomatic appointments, as well budgetary data on agency resourcing across four case agencies in Australian international affairs. By tracing institutional ‘shifts’ — subtle changes/adaptations/movements in symbolic status, material resources and so on — this article demonstrates women’s increasing prominence in diplomacy occurring in parallel to the shrinking, stalling and stagnation of diplomacy and the amplification of more militaristic international affairs.

In the first section of the article, theoretical tools and prior scholarship are explored. Methodology is then explained, before the article covers the main data and discussion: 1) establishing the increase in women in diplomacy, 2) exploring trends in prestige associated with the profession and 3) outlining the funding decreases diplomacy has experienced in the Australian context. Finally, the conclusion highlights how the devaluation of diplomacy (decline in prestige and funding) and institutional shifts resulting from securitisation and other trends are coinciding with women’s increased representation in the field. I argue that this diplomatic ‘glass cliff’ puts women seeking leadership in diplomacy in a difficult position. I contribute to FI literature through arguing that the status of an institution has a constraining (or, perhaps for some, enabling) effect on women’s functional power in leadership. The article concludes with directions for future research to extend the concept of the glass cliff to diplomacy in other contexts, and research findings around constraints on women’s leadership in other institutions.

2 Theoretical Tools: Understanding Gender Representation in Shrinking Institutions

Feminist institutionalism allows us to explore how international affairs institutions, norms, rules and behaviours are gendered, based on the assertion that institutions matter.8 The study of institutions encompasses both the study of large-scale institutions of government or other organisations, as well as the institutional norms, rules and behaviours that guide their make-up. Whilst there is great debate around the stability or fluidity of institutions, institutions are enormously important for guiding what is done, by whom, when and how. Mackay et al. note that ‘to say that an institution is gendered means that constructions of masculinity and femininity are intertwined in the daily life or logic’ of its actions.9 To say something is gendered therefore refers to both cause and effect — and only infrequently are the two absent from any institutional change.10 The potential of the FI approach is therefore more encompassing than this study can allow; however, it is nonetheless useful to trace gender and institutional change and lay the groundwork for additional research to come around cause and effect.

In this article, FI theory is employed to trace power shifts in international institutional arenas, the coinciding representation of women within these institutions and the implications of these trends for women and MFAs’ aims for gender equality. The article draws on Mackay, Kenny and Chappell’s arguments that gendered institutional change may be resisted by moving the locus of power to new institutional arenas,11 which seems apparent when studying diplomacy’s material resources and symbolic status in relation to more militaristic international affairs. It indicates that women may gain descriptive representation but not substantive power or the ability to wield that representation towards the needed ends. Coupled with the devaluation and glass cliff theories (covered in section 3), FI is applied to understand women’s rise in shrinking/shifting institutions.

3 Prior Scholarship on Prestige, Power and Gendering of MFAs

Whilst the focus of this article is on mapping an Australian diplomatic institution’s material resources and symbolic status relative to women’s functional power in leadership, it is pertinent to first explore how these key correlations have been studied before in the literature: how women’s increased representation in diplomacy is related (or not) to the decline in funding, power and prestige within diplomacy. Additionally, theories around devaluation and the glass cliff are studied in this section as two theories that combine with FI to triangulate findings and lay the foundations for future, more detailed research on implications. Part historical review and part review of the literature, this section seeks to establish the context for understanding gender and the major institutional shifts discussed in the article.

There are two key findings underpinning this research. The first is that the power, prestige and funding of diplomacy is declining, whilst the second is that women’s representation is increasing. Addressing the first point, Hocking notes MFAs’ ‘state of relative decline’ over the past decades,12 with Dittmer arguing that they are ‘less an all-powerful agent of world politics and more like a tail being wagged by two different dogs’ — the state and the global diplomatic community.13 States’ international affairs are increasingly reliant on multiple agencies implicated in international affairs to carry out its objectives — not just the MFA.14 No longer is diplomacy just the preserve of foreign ministries and diplomatic service personnel, but it is ‘undertaken by a wide range of actors, including “political” diplomats, advisers, envoys and officials from a wide range of “domestic” ministries or agencies’.15 Additionally, it is changing not just out of necessity, as has been the case under COVID-19,16 but also due to other influencing factors such as globalisation, technological changes and new security threats.17 In some cases, such as Australia, the trend towards military-led diplomacy has increased post-9/11,18 further undermining the tenuous position of MFAs at the forefront of international decision-making.

Not only has this resulted in Australia’s defence and security agencies undertaking a greater role in international affairs, but it has also resulted in the development of police-led and defence-led diplomacy initiatives that increasingly encroach on territory previously controlled by MFAs, as well as resourcing ramifications and underfunding that further restrict diplomatic action.19 In the United States, McGlen and Sarkees attribute the increased funding and strategic power for defence (and decline in both for diplomacy) to politics and the functions of the departments, ‘with [foreign affairs’] relatively passive role of observation, reporting, negotiation, and advisement’, as compared with the military’s primary function of action.20 Yet gaps remain in the literature around whether these strategic power and funding shifts are gendered — in Australia and more broadly.

Power is one thing, but prestige is another. Gilpin notes that ‘prestige, rather than power, is the everyday currency of international relations’.21 From a field traditionally steeped in prestige and the ‘elite’, involving only those with the requisite finances and influence, foreign services in many countries are undergoing greater professionalisation — diluting ‘eliteness’ and in cases eroding the prestige indicators of past employment.22 Professionalisation is entwined with bureaucratisation and describes a suite of actions to ‘professionalise’ government — from changes to legal structures, to the emergence of MFAs institutionalising diplomacy, and to recruitment and training.23 It is entwined with the idea of bureaucratic neutrality and a belief that through recruitment and training, appointments should be made on merit,24 rather than personalised appointments based on patronage — where elitism typically thrives, and prestige is maintained through exclusion.25 Professionalisation has the impact of widening pathways and opportunities for women and diverse groups.26 For example, in Australia, a prohibition was placed on patronage and favouritism in the Australian Public Service (APS) in 1999.27 Yet, prior to this, staff selection in the public service exemplified ‘social closure’, particularly based on educational credentials or lack thereof, as well as gender, in part due to the legacy effect of horizontal and vertical segregation stemming from the Marriage Bar, social attitudes and legal barriers.28

The trend towards professionalisation and departmental reform in Australia’s MFA — the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) — was largely initiated under departmental secretary Arthur Tange in the 1950s and 1960s, who sought to establish a professional foreign office and diplomatic service.29 Tange instituted a wide range of major and minor reforms ‘which were remarkable largely for their previous absence — systems of appointments and promotions, performance appraisal, records of conversations, financial management and so on’ for the diplomatic and foreign affairs corps.30 This professionalisation within diplomacy has had a gendered impact, widening the pool of applicants for various roles and ultimately increasing women’s opportunities, which has resulted in women now verging on parity in leadership and representing more than half of the overall diplomatic workforce.31 Diplomacy was once amongst the highest-prestige jobs of the state, and yet, in Australia, this is shifting.

Addressing the second finding of women’s increased representation in diplomacy, Australia’s MFA is in a distinct stage of transition and is far from being the patriarchal stronghold, as the most male-dominated sphere within the state, that it once was.32 Australia is now following a global turn amongst many Western developed nations towards formalised gender equality measures within their foreign affairs, and by comparison, Australia is doing well. In fact, Australia is at a critical juncture.33 In 2021, women represented over 45 per cent of senior diplomats, and in recent years Australia appointed its first female foreign minister (2013) and shadow foreign minister (2016), marking the first time in history women have held these portfolios — and at the same time. These portfolios continue to be held by women, including Australia’s first Asian-Australian and lesbian senator, Penny Wong, elected in 2022. Australia had its first female departmental secretary for foreign affairs and trade in 2016, its second in 2021 and third in 2022, and women continue an unbroken upward trajectory in representation. Australia has even been recognised as having a ‘feminist turn’ in foreign policy — or having integrated pro-gender norms by stealth.34 Progress in the other international affairs agencies is to far less effect, with women remaining a crippling minority in many cases, particularly across national security and intelligence, with Defence noted as one of the largest agencies with the lowest representation of women.35

Women’s ability to gain leadership while they are at the same time restricted by the precarity or riskiness of their positions has been well studied by Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam, and is described by the concept of the glass cliff.36 Glass cliff research highlights that women are more likely to achieve leadership roles when the risk of failing is highest and has often been applied to private and public sector appointments and politics. There are core reasons to extend the concept of the glass cliff to diplomacy, with a few novel contributions. In particular, this article is interested in not just precarious roles or organisations, but institutions. In FI research, institutions can refer to organisations, or rules and norms of behaviour, or wider cross-organisational, sectoral/industry-wide established fields or practices. Therefore, the status of the institution is not just tied to an agency or organisation (although it can be) but can be multi-organisational and field-wide, as in this research.

Additionally, it is not simply that roles in diplomacy, for instance, are precarious or risky. However, this article argues that women are now gaining equal access to diplomacy at a time in which diplomacy lacks both the functional power and the status that it once had, whilst institutional power shifts away from ‘soft’ forms of international affairs (diplomacy) to ‘hard’ international affairs (national security and intelligence) — fields that remain deeply male-dominated. In other words, even if it is a coincidence that women’s increasing representation is occurring whilst diplomacy is declining — in funding and status — it is a troubling coincidence.

The relationship between women’s representation and the status and funding of a field has been explored in other contexts, but not yet in diplomacy. In occupational studies in other fields, researchers found that the higher the proportion of women in an occupation, the more the occupation is devalued.37 This is known as the devaluation of female-dominated occupations and consists of gender bias resulting in the work of women being perceived as less important, less valuable and easier than the work of men.38 This has been witnessed across fields such as recreation, which saw median wages fall by 57 per cent as women came to dominate the field.39 It has also been witnessed in reverse, with computer programming previously a reasonably menial and low-paid job done by women, until it came to be dominated by men, with an increase in prestige and pay to follow.40

The link between gender representation and occupational status or prestige is not as well studied, and the results are complex. Prestige is interpreted in the literature as the ‘collective subjective consensus concerning occupational status’ as well as ‘social standing’.41 Going beyond simply the individual value of an occupation as expressed in earnings, prestige encapsulates multidimensional rewards and a way of socially valuing the comparative status of an occupation.42 Whilst many studies indicate that female-dominated fields have the lowest prestige, consistent with devaluation theory,43 the inverse is not strictly true, with mixed-gender occupations often found to have the highest prestige.44 High-status group members tend to devalue domains where their group is underrepresented, yet low-status group members do not tend to have the effect of devaluing domains inhabited by higher-status groups.45 Inconsistency in findings highlights what Valentino argues is a need to reject the idea that an occupation’s material devaluation (which is well recorded) automatically corresponds to symbolic devaluation (which is not as well understood) with the presence of women.46 That is, while a widespread finding of women’s devaluation in terms of wages, employment opportunities and so on is witnessed across industries, this does not necessarily correlate to the devaluation of prestige of that industry. This might suggest that women’s increased representation is unrelated to a decline in status or prestige in diplomacy. Yet it does not preclude the fact that a decline in diplomacy would likely impact on women’s ability to substantively use their representation in diplomacy — particularly given the symbolic power attributed to diplomacy.47 Existing research around prestige and status therefore reinforces the gap this article explores: that any decline in prestige, funding or status of an institution should have gendered impacts on women in that institution as well as on aims for wider equality.

There are additional important caveats which drive the need to explore this topic further. Firstly, the literature has incomplete coverage of institutions in transition, either those undergoing gender transformation or those undergoing a ‘shrinking’ of their role in wider society. Secondly, it is unclear under what circumstances prestige changes — and whether it is gradual or proportional. While some research does note that occupational prestige ‘evolves and devolves’ in times of great social change, it is unclear how, why or when it might change otherwise.48 Thirdly, it is reasonable to expect that the shift in eminence from MFAs to other agencies involved in international affairs would also impact negatively on prestige — as it demonstrates a move from primacy in international affairs to more of a ‘team player’ role.49 Given the literature does not focus on how gender is or is not correlated to prestige during institutional transition, we can only conjecture that they at least occur in parallel, and this will be explored through the discussion.

Whilst this article is unable to prove causation — how and why prestige or symbolic status may shift — the ‘critical mass’ literature indicates that once women represent a nominal amount, say 35 per cent of an organisation, organisational cultures shift.50 Others advocate that gendered changes within institutions are more incremental.51 FI literature highlights a third option: women may increasingly be represented, but as long as the gender order is not fundamentally disrupted, status and prestige also remain the same. As soon as this gender order is altered (for instance, by women moving out of the traditional domains they have occupied, into domains of higher leadership or power), power, status and prestige also shift. In Mackay et al’.s research, they document gender gains in some areas corresponding with a shifting of the locus of power to new institutional arenas.52 This is echoed by prior research into Australian diplomacy, which found that power shifts in Australia from the traditional MFA to more militaristic agencies is a strategic gendered move that allows inequalities to merely adapt and evolve, not diminish.53

While some argue that more women in international affairs might equal less militarised foreign policy more generally,54 this is not necessarily the case in Australia’s international apparatus. Establishing causal relationships between gender and Australia’s changing relationship with diplomacy is not possible. However, what is possible to note is that women’s representation in diplomacy has rapidly increased in recent years, whilst the funding, status and strategic importance of the traditional diplomatic apparatus has continued its decline — or flatlining — in favour of increased militarism. This shift has gendered ramifications, given that militaries remain the most male-dominated and masculine spheres of the state.55 Whilst difficult to measure, it highlights critical implications for diplomacy’s decline in Australia and the rise of women in this field.

4 Data and Methods: Methodology

Mixed methodologies uncover troubling questions and trends that might otherwise be obscured through a single methodological approach. Understanding gender and shifts from ‘soft’ diplomacy to ‘hard’ militaristic approaches to Australian international affairs is undertaken using the combination of qualitative narrative analysis and interviews, as well as quantitative longitudinal data on gender representation and agency funding. The ‘qualitative approach … may allow for validation of quantitative findings’, whilst quantitative data enables wider generalisations and trends to be identified.56 The combination of approaches reveals patterns of women’s increased representation, as well as relative decreases in MFA funding, which are elaborated on to explore concepts of power and status through interviews and surrounding accounts.

As part of a wider study, the findings arose from analysis of four federal government international affairs agencies representing a spectrum from traditional diplomatic/bureaucratic to para-militaristic and militaristic structures. These included Australia’s MFA — the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade — plus Australia’s other top three international affairs agencies — Defence, the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Agencies were chosen based on their senior role in state diplomacy — across both traditional and emerging forms of front-line diplomacy. Out of the agencies, DFAT is the agency most aligned with and defined by diplomacy, yet all agencies maintain their own diplomatic attachés and envoys. Out of all the agencies, DFAT’s diplomacy is decreasing — in footprint and funding — whilst the other agencies’ footprints and funding profiles are all increasing.

This research first presents and analyses raw unpublished data which was sought and gained from the case agencies, as well as data on agency resourcing. The primary quantitative sources analysed include:

  1. Australian Public Service Employee Database (APSED) Yearbook Statistics, accessed under an information request which compiled data from 1984 to 2018.57

  2. Agency annual reports from each agency studied.58

  3. Agency websites.59

  4. Data requests on gender breakdown made directly to the agencies.60

  5. Lowy Institute and other think tank reports.

Data collected included data on a gender breakdown by rank and agency from 1984-2021 to show the gradual increase in women, plus federal financing data from 2010-2019 correlating with the core periods in which major shifts occurred for both women’s representation and diplomacy’s decline. Although most data was collected up until 2018 (when the bulk of this study was conducted), some additional data has been included up to 2021.

To expand on this data through a more nuanced understanding of the processes in question, in-depth qualitative interviews with 57 senior executive women leaders form much of the qualitative data collected for this article. A further 27 associated informal and background interviews with politicians, managers and associated advisers were conducted to correlate findings. Both university and Defence ethical approvals were sought and gained, with participants consenting to be interviewed and later de-identified as part of the wider study. This was a specific intention of the study and was requested by many in order to protect their anonymity whilst discussing potentially sensitive perspectives on gender relations within the departments.

The main data follows in section 5, which empirically maps 1) women’s representation, 2) symbolic status and 3) material resources. It is followed by section 6, which recaps the implications of the findings of women’s increased representation and diplomacy’s decline, before the conclusion summarises findings and presents future directions for research.

5 Shifts in Diplomacy

5.1 Women’s Increasing Representation

In the last three decades women have gone from representing a minority of diplomatic roles to now occupying an overall majority of DFAT and a majority of executive leadership (EL) — or leadership pipeline — roles. Analysing the representation of women in DFAT demonstrates a steady upward trajectory of women since 1984, demonstrated by Fig. 1.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Representation of women in DFAT, 1984-2021

Citation: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 17, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/1871191x-bja10113

Data Source: APSED, RFI 763 — Statistical Yearbook (1984-2021)

Fig. 1 shows that women have represented near-parity (defined as between 40 and 60 per cent of the organisation) for over 30 years whilst remaining chronically and severely underrepresented in EL and senior executive service (SES) positions until more recently.61 Women have formed the majority of the entire department since 2006 (50.3 per cent) and a majority of EL positions since 2014 (51.8 per cent). Women’s representation in SES leadership continues to lag behind the most, with data in 2021 showing women’s representation at 45 per cent (up from 34.5 per cent in 2018, when the bulk of the following data was collected). This is expanded on in Fig. 2, which, in addition to 1) overall representation, 2) EL leadership and 3) SES leadership, also looks at 4) overall representation internationally and 5) overall representation in head of mission (HOM) or head of post (HOP) roles for 2000-2018 (the period for which I had access to most of this detailed data).

Figure 2
Figure 2

Representation of women in DFAT, 2000-2018

Citation: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 17, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/1871191x-bja10113

Data Sources: APSED, RFI 763, Statistical Yearbook (1984-2018); Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2000-2010, 2012-2018). DFAT annual report for 2011 was missing, hence 2011 data on women’s overall international representation at all ranks, and representation as HOM or HOP, is absent.

Fig. 2 highlights further changes over the period 2000-2018,62 showing several key periods of rapid progress for women. Firstly, in consolidating an increasingly stressed foreign affairs portfolio, the incoming Abbott government restructured Australia’s overseas aid and development initiatives in 2013, abolishing the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and merging many of the previous AusAID staff with DFAT. AusAID was a more female-dominated portfolio, which had the effect of increasing the proportion of women. This is clear from Fig. 2, where women’s overall representation increased rapidly from 2012-2013.63 Secondly, in 2018 the gaps between the overall percentage of women employed and those in SES, EL and HOM/HOP positions — gaps that had remained relatively consistent across the preceding years — began to close. This aligns with strategic policy at the time: DFAT introduced the Women in Leadership Strategy in 2015, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy in 2016 and Foreign Policy White Paper in 2017, all launched with specific focuses on improving gender relations both internally to DFAT and more broadly in Australian international affairs. A number of these policies included tangible targets for women’s representation (at least 40 per cent in leadership) as well as commitments around gender-focused resource spending (80 per cent of overseas development assistance). Further, Julie Bishop was foreign minister at the time — the first female foreign minister.

Both figures demonstrate that women’s representation is increasing in DFAT in a steady upwards trajectory. Women remain least represented in the most senior ranks of leadership, yet initial progress in the years since the introduction of formalised targets in the Women in Leadership Strategy in 2015 highlight the agency’s early success at beginning to close gaps in women’s senior representation.

In comparison, Fig. 3 explores how DFAT ranks alongside other core international affairs agencies — a comparative sample taken from 2017-2018 when the bulk of this data collection was undertaken.64 Fig. 3 breaks down women’s representation in Defence into the ADF (military) and the Department of Defence (civilian), the AFP into sworn and unsworn populations, Home Affairs into the Australian Border Force (ABF — predominantly sworn) and the Home Affairs Portfolio (predominantly professional and ‘soft’ portfolios), and DFAT remains undivided. All professional, civilian or unsworn divisions are characterised as more ‘bureaucratic’ than their relevant military or sworn divisions — and more female-dominated. In other words, Australia’s international affairs remains gender segregated, with women dominant in ‘softer’ unsworn and civilian positions/agencies, as opposed to ‘harder’ sworn agencies and divisions. The ADF is characterised as the