New Defence structure in the offing
As celebrations to mark the grand victory against LTTE terrorism
comes to an end the Sri Lankan nation is now returning to normality
after experiencing a three decade long period marred by LTTE terrorism.
Therefore, this is the first occasion after three decades that a Sri
Lankan can proudly say that he/she is living in a society where
Although, there is a huge task yet to be completed to bring normality
to the country, they are sure of bringing that normality as they have
already overcome the main obstacle which barred this country from
returning to normality, with the elimination of LTTE terrorism.
They march in search of freedom, the civilians who moved
into the military controlled areas in Mullaitivu on May 17,
2009. Picture by Rukmal Gamage
The Government has already made its commitment to bring normality to
the country after giving an assurance to resettle the entire displaced
civilians from the North within the shortest possible timeframe. It has
already commenced the resettlement of civilians in the Mannar district
with the commencement of the second phase of the resettlement in the
Musali Divisional Secretariat Division this week.
Resettling people in the Vanni, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts
will also be expedited as almost all the battalions committed for the
offensive operations have been deployed to search huge stocks of arms
and ammunition buried by the fleeing LTTE cadres. The aim of the
Security Forces is to see that the civilians are returning to a safer
area than the areas where they have lived and to ensure that the areas
are free of weapons and mines.
It was with that aspect in mind the Sri Lanka Army established two
Security Forces Headquarters in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu to coordinate
the security arrangements in the two districts and dominate the area
without keeping any room for the resurgence of terrorism in that region.
The two new Security Forces Headquarters came into operation with
effect from June 5, 2009 with Major General Channa Goonetilleka General
Officer Commanding (GOC) for Security Forces Headquarters, Kilinochchi (KLN)
and Major General Nandana Udawatta, General Officer Commanding (GOC) for
Security Forces Headquarters, Mullaitivu assuming duties at their
They are responsible for the overall command, control and discipline
of all ranks under their command. Roles and responsibilities of both
Headquarters depend on operational requirements with expansion of civil
administration in the respective districts. With the raising of these
two new Security Forces Headquarters the Sri Lanka Army has five
Security Forces Headquarters across the island.
Apart from establishing these two new Security Forces Headquarters,
the Sri Lanka Army will also go for a new redeployment plan in the two
districts very soon. According to the proposed redeployment plan, the
Sri Lanka Army seeks the approval of the Defence Ministry to form new
Army Divisions for the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts apart from
the existing Army Divisions. According to the proposed redeployment plan
four Army Divisions will each come under Mullaitivu and Killinochchi
Security Forces Headquarters.
With the implementation of this proposed redeployment plan in the
Killinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, the possibility for terror
activities in the Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi jungles which were the
breeding grounds for LTTE terrorism will be totally eliminated, if there
is any attempt by racist organization to form a terror organization like
In the same manner the Eastern Province will also be dominated by the
Security Forces deploying regular and volunteer battalions of the Army
into the jungles in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts.
As a part of this redeployment plan, three Regular battalions, 8
Gemunu Watch, 6 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment and 9 Armored Corps
battalions which were deployed in the Kilinochchci and Mullaitivu
districts were sent to the Batticaloa and Ampara districts. Apart from
this three Volunteer Infantry battalions were also redeployed in the
The Sri Lankan Air Force is also planning to establish two Air Force
bases in Iranamadu and Mullaitivu to make use of the two airstrips
constructed by the LTTE and later captured by the Army troops. The Sri
Lanka Air Force believes that only the two airstrips in Iranamadu and
Mulliyavali in Mullaitivu can be considered as original airstrips used
by the LTTE although troops came across more than 8 small air strips
during the Vanni liberation operation.
Therefore, the Air Force can only think of developing the Iranamadu
and Mulliyavali airstrips for the future use of the SLAF as it would
fulfill a long felt need in expanding its operations.
The SLAF which played a key role in defeating the LTTE, by way of
supporting the ground troops and conducting independent combat
operations against the LTTE targeting their training and military bases,
their logistic bases and their leadership yesterday marked the
culmination of air operations at the Air Force Base Katunayake under the
supervision of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa paid a glowing tribute to the
Air Force for itís contribution towards the victory by boosting the
morale of the ground troops by way of providing information about the
enemy ahead of them. The Defence Secretary also commended the Air Force
for its contribution to hold the ground captured by the ground troops
along with the Sri Lanka Army.
The Sri Lanka Navy too will have to read just their security plan to
meet the future challenges as Sri Lanka is going to claim a sea area 23
times bigger than its land area very soon. Environment Minister Champika
Ranawaka this week stated that Sri Lankaís proposals to claim the said
sea area under Sri Lankan territory was handed over on the very same day
the Army troops advanced from the South to North and from the North to
South linking up at Vellamullivaikkal on May 16.
Therefore, the Sri Lanka Navy will be entrusted with a massive sea
area to be patrolled in the future and will have to increase its blue
water capabilities to match these requirements.
As three Armed Forces are readjusting their structures to face the
future challenges and to restore normality in the country the Sri Lanka
Police are also planning to establish 21 Police stations in the North to
facilitate the restoration of civil administration in the Kilinochchi
and Mullaitivu districts. These new Police stations will be established
in Mannar, Mullaitivu and Mankulam divisions in the North.
Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickremaratne has also proposed
to establish a Tamil Language Training Centre in Kilinochchi which is a
prerequisite in the process of deploying Police personnel to these two
districts once the resettlement process has commenced.
The Police Department faced the same challenge in the Eastern
province but overcame it after recruiting qualified Tamil speaking
civilians to the Police Department to be deployed in Tamil speaking
areas in the Eastern province. Thus Police Department will have to
improve the Tamil language competency among the Police officers to
ensure that the innocent Tamil civilians who are going to be resettled
in their villages very soon will not face any inconvenience. As these
new changes take place in the three Forces and the Police, the
Government on Tuesday made another move to change the defence structure
when Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake presented a Bill for the
appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff.
The Bill gazetted on May 29, 2009 and issued on June 01, 2009 has
been titled Chief of Defenc Staff. This is a Bill to provide for the
appointment of a person to be the Chief of Defence Staff who shall be
responsible for the co-ordination of activities between the Armed Forces
and the Ministry of Defence and for the establishment of a Committee of
the Chief of Defence Staff and to provide functions of the Chief of
Once this Bill is approved in Parliament the President shall appoint
from among the persons presently serving as Commander of the Army, the
Commander of the Navy or the Commander of the Air Force, a Chief of
The Chief of Defence Staff shall function under the direction,
supervision and control of the Secretary to the Defence Ministry. The
CDS will be appointed for a term of two years by the President and his
term of office will be decided by the President at his discretion.
The CDS will hold the rank of General in case of an officer of the
Army, Admiral in the case of an officer of the Navy, and Air Chief
Marshal in the case of an officer of the Air Force.
Subject to the authority , direction, control and supervision, of the
Secretary, the CDS will function :
a)to assist in providing for strategic direction of the armed forces;
b)to develop a doctrine for the joint employment of the armed forces;
c)to facilitate the preparation of strategic plans for the armed
d)to co-ordinate matters in respect of the functions relating to
intelligence as between the Armed Forces;
e)to undertake assessments to determine the capabilities of the Armed
Forces in comparison with those of their potential adversaries;
f)to facilitate the preparation of operational plans for the Armed
Forces and to co-ordinate the implementation of the same as between the
g)to prepare and review contingency plans relating to the Armed
h)to tender advise on critical deficiencies and strength and assess
the effects of such deficiencies and strengths
i)in meeting national security objectives; and
ii)in ensuring conformity with policy;
iii)to tender advise on the extent which the programmes,
recommendations and budget proposals of the armed forces for a fiscal
year conform to the priorities established in relation to strategic
j)to tender advise on the on the extent to which the major programs
and policies of the Armed Forces relating to manpower and equipment
conform to strategic plans;
k)to assess military requirements as against the proposed defence
procurement plans and to advise the Ministry accordingly;
l)to facilitate the formulation of policies for the joint training of
the armed forces;
m)to facilitate the formulation of policies for peace-keeping
operations by the armed forces; and
n)to do all such other things as are required or are necessary for
the implementation of the above.
The CDS will also be the Chairman of the Committee of the Chief of
Defence Staff which will comprise of the Commanders of the Army, Navy
and the Air Force.
As the Chairman of the Committee of the Chief of Defence Staff he
1) facilitate the implementation of all matters as between the
Defence Ministry, in relation to military matters
2)in consultation with the three forces commanders discharge the
functions arising out of subsection (1) of the Bill under the direction
supervision of the Secretary
3)in carrying out his functions in respect of any matter, take into
consideration of the range of military advice and opinions with respect
to such matters as he considers appropriate.
4)establish procedures to ensure to the greatest extent possible,
that presentation of his own advice or opinion is not unduly delayed.
As per this Bill the Commanding structure of the three forces have
been centralized into a post entrusting the CDS with almost all powers
relating to operations, intelligence, recruitment, career planning,
structural changes and training matters in the three forces.
Therefore, it will be a powerful position in the Defence structure of
Sri Lanka compared to the current position of the Chief of Defence Staff
who is responsible only for the coordination of joint operations in the
three Forces. Therefore, the new CDS will have overall command on all
three forces and will expedite the process of reacting to a situation
threatening the national security in a much more coordinated way.
This is the first time in the Sri Lankan military history handling
intelligence comes under a CDS and it would definitely bring fruitful
results in upholding the national security and identifying the looming
threats on national security.
Therefore these new arrangements in the three Forces and the Police
and also in the Defence structure will definitely bring positive results
in the effort of restoring normality in the country in the post war
scenario making all the sacrifices by the Security Forces to defeat the
LTTE a more meaningful one.
Ceremony to mark the ending of Air operations
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa inspecting a K-8
Inspecting the display of aircraft along with Air Force
Commander Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunatilleka Pictures by