Technical notes

Data sources

Department of Defence personnel system data

The Department of Defence compiled a file of current and historical Defence personnel systems covering ADF members who have served since 1 January 1985. This combines PMKeyS, Core HR system, D1, CENRESPAY (for reservists), ADFPAY (for permanent members) and other historical payment systems. The Department of Defence and AIHW assessed the resulting file for completeness and duplicates. Comparisons were made with records from Department of Defence annual reports and other sources to validate the list. Data from the National Archives was also investigated for its suitability in validation, however as the majority of records are electronic files based on photos of paper records, this was not usable.

National Death Index

The National Death Index (NDI) is managed by the AIHW and contains person-level records of all deaths in Australia since 1980 obtained from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriage in each state and territory. Its use is confined to data linkage studies approved by the AIHW Ethics Committee for health and medical research. NDI records are supplemented with cause of death information from the National Mortality Database (AIHW 2018).

In this report, the NDI is linked with the Department of Defence personnel data to ascertain which members are still alive.

National Mortality Database

Cause of death unit record file data are provided to the AIHW by the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages and the National Coronial Information System (managed by the Victorian Department of Justice) and include cause of death coded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The data are maintained by the AIHW in the National Mortality Database.

Limitation in the study population

The study population does not include ADF members who separated prior to 1 January 1985. Research is constrained by what is technically possible with the systems and information infrastructure in place before 1985.


ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics
ADF Australian Defence Force
AIHW  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Air Force Royal Australian Air Force
Army Australian Army
DVA Department of Veterans’ Affairs
PMKeyS Personnel Management Key Solution
Navy  Royal Australian Navy
NAA  National Archives of Australia
NMD  National Mortality Database
NDI National Death Index


< less than
.. not applicable


AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2018. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 18 June 2019. About National Death Index.