The Office of the Secretary of Defence
by Dr. Levins T.C.Rajaratnam
Mar 2, 2010

In Defence of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Defender of the Nation- The Legend of our times!

Nation saved
I take it as my duty as a Patriotic Citizen of Sri Lanka to defend Dr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Defence during these turbulent times.

What had to be done was done. Justice will prevail.

Sri Lanka enjoys freedom today because of Dr.Gotabaya Rajapakse! The Nation was saved, Sri Lanka's territorial integrity and sovereignty was protected by him.

The United States Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the head of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), concerned with the armed services and military matters. This position roughly corresponds to Minister of defense in other countries. The role of the Secretary of Defense is to be the principal defense policy advisor to the President and is responsible for the formulation of general defense policy related to all matters of direct and primary concern to the DoD, and for the execution of approved policy. The Secretary is appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate, and is a member of the Cabinet. In the U.S. Armed Forces, the Secretary of Defense is often referred to as SecDef or SD. The Secretary of Defense and the President together constitute the National Command Authorities (NCA), which has sole authority to launch strategic nuclear weapons. All nuclear weapons are governed by this dual-authority - both must concur before a strategic nuclear strike may be ordered.

The Secretary's staff element is called the Office of the Secretary of Defense and is composed of a Deputy Secretary of Defense and five Under Secretaries of Defense in the fields of Acquisition, Technology & Logistics; Controller/Chief Financial Officer; Intelligence; Personnel & Readiness; and Policy.

The Secretary of Defense by statute also exercises authority, direction and control over the three Secretaries of the Military Departments (Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy & Secretary of the Air Force), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations & Air Force Chief of Staff), the Combatant Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands, the Directors of the Defense Agencies (for example the Director of the National Security Agency) and of the DoD Field Activities. All of these high-ranking positions require Senate confirmation.

Along with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense is generally regarded as one of the Big Four important cabinet officials.


The Secretary of State for Defence is the Cabinet Minister charged with making and executing Defence policy, and with providing the means by which it is executed, the Armed Forces. He is Chairman of the Defence Council and of its three Boards, (the Admiralty Board, the Army Board and the Air Force Board).

Although responsible ultimately for all elements of Defence, the Secretary of State is supported by five Ministers: the Minister of State for the Armed Forces; the Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform; the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support; the Minister for International Defence and Security; and the Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans. The Secretary of State assigns responsibility to them for specific aspects of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence's business. However, the following are specifically his responsibility:

  • Defence Policy and Planning & Budget issues
  • Operations in Afghanistan
  • Nuclear issues including Ballistic Missile Defence
  • Bilateral Defence Relations with North America, Western Europe and the Middle East
  • NATO and EU issues
  • Media and Communications

Sri Lanka
The media must cease to criticize Dr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa without understanding the intricate duties of the office he holds. The entire country's defence system is his responsibility.

Legend of our times
As all human beings, we have short memories. More so, for patriotism. People tend to forget the most important factors which have historical value. The most memorable historical factor was winning the war. The joint effort of the Armed Forces under the able directives of the Defence Secretary Dr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was able to rescue the Nation from the evils of Terrorism.

We now have freedom of movement, development and more Tourists coming into this beautiful isle. Citizens of Sri Lanka and the citizens of other countries whose citizenship of origin was Sri Lanka are coming into Sri Lanka after several years owing to the peaceful situation created by our Defence Secretary and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We as citizens of this country must remember that if not for Dr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa this country will be in disaster.

Dr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
He assumed duties as Secretary, Ministry of Defense, Public Security, Law & Order on 25th November 2005.

He joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1971, spent twenty years in service, and held the appointment of Deputy Commandant of Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in 1991 and, as a Lieutenant Colonel was Coordinating Officer of Welioya area from 1990 to 1991. Prior to that, he was the Coordinating Officer of Matale District and the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Gajaba Regiment from 1989 to 1990. He has also held numerous other positions in the Sri Lanka Army such as Instructor, Adjutant, and Staff officer to the Operations Officer commanding contingents.

During his military career, he has been awarded the President's Commendation letter by former President J R Jayewardene and medals for valour in combat such as Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) - by former Presidents R Premadasa and D B Wijetunga. He has also received a commendation from the Commander of the Army for his bravery in action.

He has commanded many anti-terrorist operations in the North and East in different capacities. Among them was his Command of the 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment in the important Vadamarachhci Operation in 1987 and Operation Thrividabalaya in 1990 respectively, to rescue Jaffna peninsula and the Jaffna Fort from terrorist control.

He completed his basic officer cadet training at prestigious Military Academy at Diyatalawa, and proceeded to Pakistan to complete the Young Officers' Course at Rawalpindi and later the mid-carrier course at Quetta. He had advanced training in Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare at Assam, India. Later in his career,he graduated in advanced Infantry Training from Infantry School Fort Benning, USA.

As a staff officer, he completed his Staff Course at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, India in1983. He obtained his Masters degree in Defence Studies from the University of Madras in 1983. He has also obtained a Postgraduate degree in Information Technology from the University of Colombo in 1992.

He is a revered figure in Sri Lanka for leading the military operation which drove out the opponents from the entire Eastern Province of the country.

He was the grundnorm for the victory of the 2009 war against the LTTE. In recognition to the services rendered to the Nation The University of Colombo conferred a Doctorate to him.

Every citizen owes the duty of loyalty to the state where he is a Citizen. Allegiance is owed both to the Sovereign as a natural person and to the Sovereign in his or her political capacity. Loyalty requires affection also to the office of the sovereign.

Nature & Religion
As nature and religion teach moral obligations and prescribe to children dutiful conduct towards the parents, so nature and religion imposes on citizens certain obligations towards their country and its rulers. These obligations may be interpreted as patriotism and obedience. Patriotism requires that the citizen would have a reasonable esteem and love for his country. He should have a reasonable esteem and love for his country.

Victory at War
Our Air force Pilots have returned to base. The air strikes have halted. The Naval boats have slowed their speed. The Army has slowed its pace. Aggression against innocent people by the LTTE and the Terrorists have been halted. When the President ordered our armed forces into combat as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, he had three clear goals: to enable the Tamil people, the victims of some of the most vicious atrocities in the North due to terrorists and militant groups, to return to their homes with safety; to destroy the LTTE; and to deploy our armed Forces to protect all the people of the North. Those goals were achieved. Unnecessary conflict has been brought to a just and honorable conclusion.

Tolerance & Freedom
Our Government represents tolerance and freedom, not repression and terror. As such every individual or group which transgresses these ideals should be dealt with by the Laws of the land.

Duty towards Nation
We have sent a message of determination and hope to the entire world. Think of all the millions of innocent people who died in this bloody century because democracies reacted too late to evil and aggression. Because, the duty of the Defense Secretary was well performed, the past is gone not with helpless indignation, but with a hopeful affirmation of human dignity and human rights for the 2010. In a world too divided by fear among people of different racial, ethnic and religious groups, he has given confidence to the friends of freedom and pause to those who would exploit human difference for inhuman purposes.

Sri Lanka still faces great challenges in this world, but the Defence Secretary will meet them. He can successfully maintain the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka now that we have re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa . We must stand united as Patriots of Sri Lanka. The Defence Secretary should be allowed to perform his duties. Criticism can serve nothing. We owe our appreciation to a great Patriot and the Defender of the Nation.

(The writer is the author of "Selected Essays of President Mahinda Rajapaksa" Sarvodaya Vishwa Lekha Publication. ISBN 978-955-51312-2-3.)