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The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is the most senior appointment in the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. CDS is the highest-ranking military officer in the armed forces and outranks all respective heads of each service branch, however CDS does not have operational command authority over them or their service branches, however overseas inter service corporations and the implementation of joint operations of the Sri Lankan armed forces. Coordination of inter-service joint operations are handled by the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff formally known as the Joint Operations Headquarters.

General Jagath Jayasuriya currently functions as the Chief of Defence Staff. The CDS is the Chairman of a Committee made up of service commanders and is a member of the National Security Council.


The post could be traced back to post of General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Joint Operations Command when General T. I. Weerathunga was first appointed to it on November 2, 1985. The Joint Operations Command was created in 1985 due to the need of co-ordinating of operations among the tri-services and the police with the escalation of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The post itself was created in 1999 replacing the civilian post of chief of the Joint Operations Bureau which had existed briefly in 1999. Its powers expanded under the Chief of Defence Staff Act No. 35 of 2009.

In recent years, the Chief of the Defence Staff was appointed to the highest rank in the branch of the Sri Lankan armed forces to which he belonged (equivalent to a US "four-star" rank) being a General, an Admiral or an Air Chief Marshal. According to the new Bill, the President of Sri Lanka appoints to the post of Chief of Defence Staff any person presently serving as Commander of the Army, Navy or the Air Force, to function under the direction, supervision and control of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence.


  • Assist in providing for the strategic direction of the armed forces
  • Development of doctrine for the joint employment of the armed forces
  • Facilitation of preparation of strategic plans for the armed forces
  • Co-ordination of matters relating to intelligence as between the armed forces;
  • To undertake assessments to determine the capabilities of the armed forces in comparison with those of their potential
  • Preparation of operational plans for the armed forces

General Officer Commanding, Joint Operations Command

Chiefs of the Defence Staff

See also


External links

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