Secretary to the Ministry of Defence

General S H S Kottegoda (Rtd) WWV RWP RSP VSV USP ndc

Secretary to the Ministry of Defence

General (Retd) Shantha Kottegoda, WWV RWP  RSP  VSV  USP ndc holds a distinguished military career spanning over 36 years during which many key appointments were held in all areas of defence, intelligence, peace keeping & conflict resolution, with the ultimate appointment as the seventeenth Commander of the Sri Lanka Army in 2004. During this period special training was received by MI5 British Security Service in UK in regards to intelligence & protective security and other military institutions in USA & India.

A member of the alumni of the National Defence College and a proud product of S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia. Gen Kottegoda was a keen sportsman and college colours were awarded for representing the 1st XI cricket team in 1968 & 69, as well as for athletics. He was also a college prefect and sergeant & company quarter master sergeant respectively of the college Cadet Platoon.

During his military career, a special assignment as the Overall Operations Commander of the Eastern Theatre of War was assigned by HE the President of Sri Lanka in the year 2004. He has held many command positions such as Commander Security Forces, Divisions and Brigades. He also functioned as Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of  Staff, Commandant of the Volunteer Force, Director Military Intelligence, Director General Training and Director General General Staff. He was seconded to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) where he served as Director in charge of counter terrorist division.

Gen Kottegoda was a member of the delegation nominated by the government of Sri Lanka at the peace negotiation discussions held in Sri Lanka, Bangkok and Oslo between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government of Sri Lanka facilitated by the Royal Norwegian government from September 2002 till March 2003. He was also the coordinating officer of Mannar, Mullativu, Kalutara and Vavuniya districts responsible for the civil administration, civil-military coordination in humanitarian affairs and crisis/emergency relief management.

Gen Kottegoda was a recipient of the below awards and medals for gallantry and bravery:

Weera Wickrama Vibhushana - Third highest gallantry award. WWV is conferred for individual acts of gallantry and conspicuous bravery of a military nature of a high order in the face of the enemy.

Rana Wickrama Padakkama - Fourth highest gallantry award.

Rana Sura Padakkama - Fifth highest gallantry award.

Utthama Seva Padakkama - For unblemished, exceptional, exemplary conduct.

Vishista Seva Vibushanaya - For unblemished, exceptional, exemplary conduct.

His military career was followed by diplomatic missions representing Sri Lanka as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Brazil and then Thailand and accredited to Laos & Cambodia, during which time he was also a permanent representative of UN ESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand.

Gen Kottegoda worked successfully towards achieving extremely cordial interactions with the ambassadors and representatives of other countries and organizing multitude of events for the purpose of improving multilateral relations and building the comradeship of the Sri Lankan community in Thailand. Gen Kottegoda received one of the highest honours for his efforts to improve and strengthen the relationship between Brazil and Sri Lanka during his Ambassadorship in Brazil, by being the recipient of the Presidents Medal in Brazil, for distinguished contribution & services made by a foreigner for the uplifting of friendly relations between the two countries.

He is married to Mrs Sonia Kottegoda and blessed with a son and a daughter.

Gen Kottegoda assumed duties as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence on 29th April 2019.

Publications by Gen Kottegoda:

‘CONFLICT IN SRI LANKA. CHALLENGES FACED BY THE SRI LANKA ARMY’ - Paper submitted for publication in the journal “International Relations in a Globalizing World” of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies.


‘EDUCATION & GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP: A BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE’ Article presented to the UN publication to mark the 10th United Nations Day of Vesak.