Over the last few decades the Australian Defence Force has started demonstrating the traits of a mainstream occupation, having progressively lost many of those traditionally associated with an institution. This article outlines the extent to which occupational traits now dominate over institutional traits and introduces the implications of this transition. The authors observe that the ADF may ultimately need to either fully embrace its identity as an occupation, continue with the rhetoric of an institution while displaying fewer of its characteristics, or make a deliberate attempt to reclaim the institutional traits that define the ADF as a unique employer. It is suggested that it may be too late to pivot back to an institution, but it is not too late to apply the most appropriate attributes to the right workforce segment.