Formed in 1981, the regiment is one of three Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSUs) employed in surveillance and reconnaissance of the remote areas of Northern Australia.
Today, the regiment is based at Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin, while its area of operations covers 1.8 million square kilometres, encompassing the entire Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia; the largest of any military unit in the world today.
On 1 March 2010, NORFORCE became part of the re-raised 6th Brigade. The primary role of the regiment is reconnaissance, observation and the collection of military intelligence. In the unlikely event of an invasion of northern Australia, NORFORCE and the other RFSUs would operate in a “stay behind” capacity.
Australian Aboriginal soldiers form 60 percent of NORFOCE personnel, drawn mainly from the area they patrol to draw on local knowledge. This has resulted in a great trust for the regiment among Aboriginal communities.