According to the constitution the ministry responsible for National security is headed by the President. Hence the post of Defence Minister is held by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Hence, the president is responsible for all decisions and actions taken with regard to and by the security forces, during the past.
However, due to the many tasks being handled by the president and his inability to maintain close and constant ties with the security heads, it has prompted the president to consider this new position.
Difficulty of direct mediation
Currently, many security forces personnel are facing allegations and some are serving prison terms with regard to incidents that had taken place during the previous regime.
Some of them are even facing legal implications.
In the future certain legal measures will also have to be taken against some of them pertaining to human rights violation and war crimes violations.
Under these circumstances and the inability of the President to directly mediate in these instances, the need has arisen to appoint a capable and clever person to mediate in these matters and manage these issues.
Former state leaders
In previous instances too such positions were created by state leaders and trustworthy persons were placed in these positions in order to handle such matters.
During Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s tenure, such a position was handled by Felix Dias Bandaranaike who carried out duties entrusted to him with great efficiency and commitment.
At the age of 31, he was instrumental in defeating the military coup in 1962 to overthrow the then government.
Similarly, during J. R. Jayawardene’s tenure the position was handled by Lalith Athulathmudali and Ranjan Wijeratne handled such a position during the tenure of R. Premadasa.
Anurudha Ratwatte handled national security during the tenure of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranatunge and matters pertaining to National security has handled by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
However, although President Sirisena had appointed Karunasena Hettiarachchi as the Secretary Defence and Ruwan Wijewardene as the State Minister of Defence, the duties expected from them have not been fulfilled.
Further the institutions allocated to Ruwan Wijewardene are not institutions that deal directly with National security.
They have both also not displayed enough expertise in executing their duties in their allocated tasks.
As a result, it is anticipated that a powerful and prominent government minister would be appointed to handle these matters in the near future.
So far the name of a prominent UNP parliamentarian has also been nominated for this post, according to political sources.