The 18th Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is the first recipient of PhD from the KDU
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, appointed Admiral Jayanath Colombage RSP VSV USP rcds psc as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy with effect from 27th September 2012. He is the 18th Naval Officer to reach the helm in the 63-year history of the glorious Naval Service. He was promoted to the 4-star rank of Admiral with effect from 28th June 2014. Admiral Colombage is only the second officer to be considered to the highest seat of the Commander of the Navy straight from an Operational Naval Command. Prior to his elevation to the post of Commander of the Navy, he served as the Commander Eastern Naval Area at the historical Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. He has achieved many firsts in his distinguished, decorative and unblemished naval career of 36 years. He has been conferred with two Masters Degrees - Master of Science in Defence Studies and Master of Arts in International Studies. Moreover, he is the first recipient of PhD from the KDU. Having served as the Deputy Area Commander of Northern and Eastern Naval Areas during operationally active periods and also the Southern area, he was appointed Commander of Southern Naval Area in 2002. He has the distinction of being the first Director General Services (2004) whilst concurrently holding the appointments of Director Naval Projects & Plans, the Naval Assistant to Commander of the Navy and Principal Staff Officer of the Joint Operations Headquarters under Chief of Defence Staff. He has led Naval Delegations to India, Russia, Israel and USA (1995 – 2006) on bilateral issues. Admiral Colombage has been a regular lecturer at the Defence Services Command and Staff College in Colombo since its inception. He is an expert in Maritime Security and has published papers and conducted National Level Seminars on Maritime Security and is certified by the International Maritime Organization as a lecturer in International Conventions on Port and Ship Security. He has presented many papers on Maritime Terrorism related subjects within Sri Lanka as well as at international forums. He has published a book titled ‘Naval Terms and Expressions’ and actively contributes to various academic forums. He is a distinguished alumni of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in India, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Hawaii in the United States of America and the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom. He is also an Associate of the Nautical Institute of the United Kingdom and currently the President of the Sri Lanka Chapter. Also, he holds Diplomas in Security Studies, Conflict Resolution, International Affairs and Information Technology. Admiral Colombage joined the Sri Lanka Navy as an Officer Cadet on 23rd August 1978 and successfully completed his basic training at the renowned Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee winning the ‘Sword of Honour’ for the Best Officer Cadet of the 7th Intake. He was then selected to attend the prestigious International Midshipmen Course in the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in the United Kingdom. He has commanded four Operational Naval Commands - Eastern, Northern, Western and North Central for a period spanning 4 years. Also, he served twice as the Director General Operations at the Naval Headquarters. Prior to that he served as the Director General Services as well as Director Naval Training and Personnel. He had also served in the appointments of Deputy Area Commander (North Central), Deputy Area Commander (South) and Deputy Area Commander (East). Admiral Colombage has commanded numerous ships of the Sri Lanka Navy including the Fast Missile Vessels, Fast Gun Boats, Fast Attack Craft and Amphibious ships and has been awarded the Surface Warfare Badge. He is a weapon specialist who has undergone extensive training with the Indian Navy and in the People’s Republic of China. He is a recipient of the Rana Sura Padakkama for gallantry. Among the other medals awarded are the Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya, the Utthama Seva Padakkama, the Sri Lanka Navy 50th Anniversary Medal, the Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal, the President’s Inauguration Medal, the 50th Independence Anniversary Commemoration Medal, the East Humanitarian Operation Medal, the North Humanitarian Operation Medal, the North and East Operations Medal, the Purna Bhumi Padakkama, the Vadamarachchi Operation Medal and the Riviresa Campaign Service Medal. Admiral Colombage is one of the most commended Naval Officers. Successive Commanders of the Navy have issued him with ‘Letters of Commendation’ for exceptional execution of duties and responsibilities and for his achievements in numerous fields such as operational activities, leadership, managerial and administrative skills, academic achievements, highest commitment and dedication towards the cause of the nation. He is the recipient of the prestigious 5-Star Commendation Badge. He was a promising National level athlete and was awarded the Sri Lanka Schools Colours and the Sri Lanka Navy Colours in Athletics. He held the post of President of the Sri Lanka Navy Athletics Club from 1999 to 2006 and also served as President of the renowned Ceylonese Track and Field Club. He is the President of the Defence Services and Sri Lanka Navy Sports Board. Following his retirement from the Navy, Admiral Colombage worked as the Director for Indo-Sri Lanka initiatives and Law of the Sea Centres at the Pathfinder Foundation, a Colombo-based think tank. In December 2019, he was appointed the Additional Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka for foreign relations. In February 2020, he was appointed Director General of the Institute of National Security Studies of Sri Lanka and in August 2020, he was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Admiral Colombage hails from Katunayake. He married Srima who is a trained teacher in IT and they have been blessed with a daughter, Indeewari who is employed as an Assistant Director at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Admiral Colombage is a product of St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy and becomes the first Old Sylvestian to be elevated to the position a Service Commander in the military history of Sri Lanka.