Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed duties as Secretary, Ministry of Defence & Urban Development on 25th November 2005. Before this appointment, he was the Unix System Administrator of Loyola Law School at Los Angeles, USA.
A career soldier, Mr. Rajapaksa joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1971, spent twenty years in service, and held the appointment of Deputy Commandant of Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in 1991 and, as a Lieutenant Colonel was Coordinating Officer of Welioya area from 1990 to 1991. Prior to that, he was the Coordinating Officer of Matale District and the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Gajaba Regiment from 1989 to 1990. He has also held numerous other positions in the Sri Lanka Army such as Instructor, Adjutant, and Staff officer to the Operations Officer commanding contingents.
During his military career, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been awarded thePresident's Commendation letter by former President J R Jayewardene and medals for valour in combat such as Rana Wickrama Padakkama and Rana Sura Padakkama (at two occasions) - by former Presidents R Premadasa and D B Wijetunga. He has also received a commendation from the Commander of the Army for his bravery in action.
He has commanded many anti-terrorist operations in the North and East in different capacities. Among them was his Command of the 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment in the important Vadamarachhci Operation in 1987 and Operation Thrividabalaya in 1990 respectively, to rescue Jaffna peninsula and the Jaffna Fort from terrorist control.
Hailing from the village of Weeraketiya in the South of Sri Lanka, he had his education at the respected educational institution, Ananda College, Colombo.
He completed his basic officer cadet training at prestigious Military Academy at Diyatalawa, and proceeded to Pakistan to complete the Young Officers' Course at Rawalpindi and later the mid-career course at Quetta. He has also undergone advanced training in Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare at Assam, India. Later in his career, Mr. Rajapaksa was graduated on advanced Infantry Training from Infantry School Fort Benning, USA.
As a staff officer, Mr. Rajapaksa completed his Staff Course at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, India in1983. He obtained his Masters degree on Defence Studies from the University of Madras in 1983. He has also obtained a Postgraduate degree in Information Technology from the University of Colombo in 1992.
Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his wife Ioma have an adult son. He is brother of the present President of the country Mahinda Rajapaksa and the son of parliamentarian and former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the late Mr. DA Rajapaksa.