Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

21st November 2015 17:07:05 Hours

Rousing Welcome with Military Honours Greets Maiden Visit of Secretary Defence to Army Headquarters

The first formal courtesy visit of the recently-appointed Secretary to Ministry of Defence, Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi to the Army Headquarters took place this morning (20) amid military formalities and a warm reception, hosted by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva and all serving the Army Headquarters (AHQ).

Sharp at 8.25 a.m. Eng Hettiarachchi was greeted to a Guard Turnout upon his arrival at the MoD ground facing the Army Headquarters after he was formally welcomed by Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Adjutant General and Lieutenant Colonel Anil Somaweera, Commanding Officer - AHQ Battalion.

Minutes after the stage was set to salute him in a Guard of Honour, considered as the highest military respect that could be accorded, presented by the troops of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI).

The visiting Eng Hettiarachchi was afterwards invited to inspect the parade, together with the Parade Commander in the company of Major General Amal Karunasekara, Colonel of the Regiment, SLLI in accordance with customary military traditions. A few minutes later, the Secretary Defence received the honours in the Guard of Honour, witnessed by a large group of senior Army officers.

A few minutes later, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army welcomed the visiting Secretary Defence warmly at the entrance to the Commander’s Secretariat and introduced him for the first time to the Principal Staff Officers of the Army where Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Director General Infantry, Adjutant General, Director General Finance Management, Quarter Master General, Master General Ordnance, Military Secretary and Director General General Staff were present.

During the formal and brief meeting that ensued at the Commander’s office, both Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and pleasantries before the visiting Secretary Defence listened to a presentation, submitted by Major General B.A Perera, Director General General Staff at the AHQ board room.

By 9.30 a.m., the climax of the day’s visit saw a representative gathering of nearly 200 senior most Army officers and senior civil officers arriving at the main conference hall at the Commander’s Secretariat with a view to listening to the formal maiden address of the Secretary Defence, in which he highlighted the importance of applying a strategic ‘security clearance policy’ when it comes to face new challenges at various national levels where the point of view of the armed forces is also understood.

“We have issues to face and we can certainly solve those issues pertaining to our institutes by conducting credible inquiries and we are prepared to do so because the devil is not so fierce as we all contemplated. For that all of us have to work as a team and work out modalities,”.

Underscoring the need to maintain the dignity of the organization, Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi requested high ranking senior officers to produce more and more skilled officers to the Army since it is the Army that could help the country to be disciplined.

“We are thankful for your commitment for defeat of terrorism and that hard-earned freedom although there are challenges need to be addressed for the benefit of others in our society. It was your discipline that brought about that difference and our ways of thinking and your (military) way of looking at things are different. That is civil society and we need to have a balanced view because the best is to comply and complain,” he said.

Attitudes and attributes in our society have badly deteriorated and an organization, like yours which is not at all political could contribute a lot for their rectification. Hope, the Army will maintain the highest levels of discipline while maintaining its dignity, he opined.

Eng Hettiarachchi also told the gathering that arrangements are being made to get an increment, following recommendations made by the Ministry of Defence with the approval of the Cabinet since your services are so demanding.

Giving a piece of advice, Eng Hettiarachchi quipped saying that all of us remain amateurs all the time as we embark on new assignments. “I am an amateur in the Ministry of Defence because it is a learning process all the time,” he added.

In conclusion, the Secretary Defence underlined the importance of proper conveyance and communication of the assignments you are doing to the notice of the general public all the time as many of them do not know about them. “You have to tell the people what you all do all the time because the general public do not know much about them,” the Secretary Defence concluded.    

Towards the end of the address, the Commander of the Army, showing his gratitude for the courtesy call and the troop address, presented him with a token memento on behalf of the organization.

Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi assumed duties as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence on 09 September 2015.

Born on 20 March 1950, Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi, a professional engineer completed his primary education and secondary education at the Royal College, Polonaruwa and Bandaranayake Central College, Veyangoda respectively.

Commencing his higher education, he earned his Bachelor's of Engineering (Hons) Degree from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in the year 1977. He was conferred the title of Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Leuven, Belgium in the year 1986.

Eng Hettiarachchi has participated in many local and foreign training programmes focusing Management, especially in the fields of Water, Irrigation, Solid Waste and Project Management. Accordingly, some of the training programmes amongst many he attended are Resource Management Training in Sri Lanka (1983), Water Management Training in Philippines (1983), Management Training in Belgium (1985), Water Management Training in Thailand (1988) and Project Management Training in Tokyo (2000).

As well, Eng Hettiarachchi is a member of the F.I.E. (SL), Chartered Engineer (UK) 1981, Chartered Engineer (SL) 1981, MIEP (SL 2006) and FIM (SL).

Eng Hettiarachchi has represented Sri Lanka at numerous national and international meetings, seminars and conferences and has also chaired significant meetings on behalf of the Government.

In a public service career spanning for over 40 years, Eng Hettiarachchi has served in a number of renowned institutions and government organizations. He has commenced his career as a Civil Engineer at the Ministry of Housing and Constructions.

In his early career he has served in several organizations in the Engineering field holding positions such as Civil Engineer of the Territorial Civil Engineering Organization, Civil Engineer of the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau, Irrigation Engineer at the Department of Irrigation, Resident Engineer of the Department of Irrigation, Irrigation Engineer at the Department of Irrigation and as a Research Associate at the International Irrigation Management Institute.

Prior to the present appointment, he was the Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development, Water supply and Drainage in the year 2015. Along the line of extensive past career, he also has served in higher positions such as Director of Sierra Engineering & Construction (Pvt.) Ltd, Chairman of National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Chairman of Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, Chairman of Central Environmental Authority, Senior Project Specialist of Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Chairman of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment, Chairman of Geological Survey and Mines Bureau of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Director of Clean Settlements Project of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Consultant Civil Engineer of Nippon Koei Consultants Ltd, Chief Irrigation Engineer of the Department of Irrigation and Chief Resident Engineer of the Department of Irrigation.

All the way through in his profession Eng Hettiarachchi has presented numerous Research and Publications. Accordingly, he has presented a paper on Participatory Irrigation Development in Sri Lanka at the International Conference on Sustainable Land Use in Belgium 1992. A paper on Maintenance Management under Deficit Resource Condition at the International Conference on Operation and Maintenance of Irrigation and Drainage Projects in China 1993. A paper on Management of Irrigation Facilities for Sustainable Land Use at the International Conference on Environmentally Sustainable Irrigation Development in Pakistan 1993. A paper on Participatory Action Research Innovations for Irrigation Turnover at the International Conference on Irrigation Turnover in China 1994 and has done a Literature Review on Management of Irrigation Facilities for International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) using about 150 documents on maintenance, rehabilitation, improvement and modernization in 1990.

Eng Hettiarachchi has also submitted an Inception Report of IIMI's Participatory Action Research Project on Irrigation management and Crop Diversification in 1991. He has submitted Seasonal Reports and Final Research Report of IIMI's Participatory Action Research Project on Irrigation Management and Crop Diversification in 1991, 1992 and 1993. He also has presented Papers on the research findings of IIMI's Participatory Action Research Project on Irrigation Management and Crop Diversification in several local workshops conducted by IIMI, Irrigation Department. Moreover, Eng Hettiarachchi has presented a paper in New Delhi, India on Sri Lankan Experience on Urban Management while representing a Regional Conference on Infrastructure Financing and Pricing

He is married to Mrs Wasantha Gunawardena, a retired school teacher and blessed with a son and a daughter.