Army to be empowered as a capacity based force | Sunday Observer

Army to be empowered as a capacity based force

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake inspects the guard of honour    Pic: Rukmal Gamage
Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake inspects the guard of honour Pic: Rukmal Gamage

Major General Mahesh Senanayake RWP RSP USP psc, was appointed as the 22nd Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, by President Maithripala Sirisena, after he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Mahesh Senanayake is a distinguished past pupil of Ananda College, Colombo which has produced some of the nation’s finest military officers.

He joined the Sri Lanka Army on October 16, 1981 as a Cadet Officer. Upon completion of military training, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and passed out as the first in order of merit and was bestowed with the Sword of Honour. He chose to join the Corps of Engineers. During his unblemished military career, he held many Command and Staff appointments.

The Senior Officer was also an Officer Instructor at the Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyatalawa. Subsequently, he volunteered for an inter-unit transfer to the Regiment of Special Forces in 1989.

This is where he excelled as a fearless leader of men, fighting in risk laden jungles deep within enemy territory. Lieutenant General Senanayake has actively contributed to all major military operations, in the North and East.

The present Army Commander has held the appointments of Regimental Center Commandant of the Special Forces Regiment, Commander of the 211 Infantry Brigade - Vavuniya, Commander of the Special Forces Brigade and the General Officer Commanding of the 52 Division in Varani, Jaffna.

He also performed staff appointment duties, including the office of the Colonel General Staff at 52 Division and the Brigadier General Staff in the Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna, during the crucial period of the war.

Lieutenant General Senanayake has also served at the Army Command and Staff College at Sapugaskanda. The Senior Officer held the appointment of Director Plans during the Humanitarian Operations after year 2006. In 2015, he assumed office as Military Secretary at Army Headquarters.

He commenced duties as Commander at Army Headquarters at the auspicious time of 9.43 am on June 27, after receiving a guard of honour.

The new Commander said, “The strength of the army is our high level of discipline. We are a force of 200,000 men and women. In the future we hope to transform the Army into a capacity based force to face any threat. This includes a two phase process of sustainment and modernization”.

The prudent Commander also emphasized that Senior Officers must consistently maintain high standards, as an example to their soldiers.

In 2016, he was appointed the Commander Security Forces - Jaffna, which is considered as the most sensitive command that has the focus of the international community.

He displayed his prowess as a military leader who identified the needs of the Northern people. He made an immense contribution with his team towards the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the peninsula, sustaining peace among all Sri Lankans.

The assistance rendered to this community was well-recognized by the community and the authorities. Lieutenant General Senanayake, is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College. His academic achievements are also embellished with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.

In recognition of his gallantry during combat operations, Lieutenant General Senanayake was awarded the Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP), Rana Soora Padakkama (RSP) several times and the Uththama Seva Padakkma (USP). In March 2017, he was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Army. As the present Army Commander, he also serves as the Colonel of the Regiment of Special Forces.

- Dishan Joseph