Peter Leahy

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Peter Francis Leahy
General Peter Leahy.jpg
Leahy at the 2008 National Anzac Day service, Canberra.
Born (1952-10-30) 30 October 1952 (age 67)
Melbourne, Victoria
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service1971–2008
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldChief of Army (2002–08)
Deputy Chief of Army (2000–02)
3rd Brigade (1997–98)
8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1990–92)
AwardsCompanion of the Order of Australia
Leahy walks among recruits during his visit to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, in 2004.
Leahy, left, presents an award to Iraqi Colonel Mohammed Fa'ek Raouf in July 2005. U.S. Army photo[1]

Lieutenant General Peter Francis Leahy AC HonFAIB FRSN (born 30 October 1952) is a retired senior officer of the Australian Army, whose military career culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Army from 2002 until 2008. He has been director of the National Security Institute, University of Canberra, since October 2008.

Early life[edit]

Leahy was born in Melbourne, Victoria, on 30 October 1952. He entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1971, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Military Studies in 1974 and being commissioned into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.[2][3]

Military career[edit]

Leahy's early career included instructional duties at the Officer Cadet School, Portsea and command of a company of Gurkha soldiers during an exchange posting with 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles in Hong Kong. Over a three-year period he was a student and an instructor at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Later in his career he was the Commanding Officer of the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Military Assistant to the Chief of the General Staff, Director of Army Research and Analysis, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, Chief of Staff of Headquarters Australian Theatre and Deputy Chief of Army.

Chief of Army[edit]

Leahy was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed Chief of Army on 28 June 2002. His appointment was extended by a further three years in June 2005, and he retired from the Army on 3 July 2008. Leahy is the longest serving incumbent of the position since General Sir Harry Chauvel in the 1920s,[4] and the only Chief of Army with no operational service in a theatre of war. His honours and awards represent distinguished, long and overseas exchange service not involving combat or operational duties. While he often visited Australian troops deployed on combat duties overseas during his time as Chief of Army he was never himself posted to the force establishment of any operational unit.

In 1995, Leahy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and in 2002 was upgraded to Officer (AO). In the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honours List, he was elevated to Companion (AC),[5][6] He was recognised internationally with the award of the United States of America Legion of Merit in the rank of Commander,[7] the Republic of Singapore Meritorious Service Medal (Military),[8] the Cambodian Royal Order of Sahametrei in the rank of Commander, the Malaysian Armed Forces Order for Valour in the rank of Gallant Commander


On 19 September 2008, Leahy joined the board of Codan.[9] On 7 October 2008, he joined the staff of the University of Canberra as a Professor and foundation director of the National Security Institute.[10] On 4 May 2009 he joined the board of Electro Optic Systems Holdings Ltd.[11] He is Chairman of the North Queensland Defence Advisory Board,[12] a member of the First Principles Review of the Department of Defence[13] and in November 2014 was appointed to the board of Citadel Group Limited.[14] In work related to charities he is Chairman of the Board for the wounded veterans charity Soldier On,[15] Chairman of the Australian International Military Games, the organisation that will bring the Invictus Games to Sydney in 2018,[16] and serves on the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Committee in the Australian Capital Territory.[citation needed]

In September 2014, Peter Leahy was formally inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building (HonFAIB) by the Governor General of Australia His Excellency, General the Honorable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC(Rtd). In February 2018, the then Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurely AC DSC(rtd) formally promulgated the election of Peter Leahy as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales in the NSW Government Gazette.

As of 2018, Leahy was the patron of the Military Historical Society of Australia,[17] having taken over from retired Air Marshal Barry Gration.[18]



Leahy is married to Lee and they have three sons. He enjoys most sports and reading.[3]


  1. ^ Australian Army Thanks Iraqi Unit, 13 July 2005,, retrieved 2009-06-10.
  2. ^ "Lieutenant General Professor Peter Francis Leahy". Who's Who in Australia Online. ConnectWeb. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b Official Biography, Australian Defence Leaders, retrieved 2008-10-27. Archived 15 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Peter Leahy – Thoughts & Legacy Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia, ACT Branch, 9 July 2008, retrieved 2008-10-27.
  5. ^ Companion of the Order of Australia Archived 9 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 11 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  6. ^ Companion of the Order of Australia. It's an honour.
  7. ^ Recipients_of_the_Legion_of_Merit
  8. ^ "Chief of Australian Army receives award". Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Peter Leahy appointed to the Codan Board" (PDF). (Press release). n.d. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  10. ^ "Leahy appointed as Director of National Securities Institute". University of Canberra (Press release). Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Peter Leahy". Electro Optic Systems Holdings Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Former Army Chief to Chair Board Based in Townsville". Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  13. ^ "First Principles Review Team". Department of Defence. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Board of Directors". Citadel Group. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Board Members". Soldier On. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Lieutenant General Peter Leahy AC (Ret'd)". Invictus Games. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Frontispiece". Sabretache. LIX (3): 1. September 2018.
  18. ^ Meyers, John; Hubball, Bob; Mager, John (March 2017). "The Military Historical Society of Australia: 60th Anniversary". Sabretache. LVIII (1): 37–39.
  19. ^ a b Peter Leahy Archived 9 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Defence SA Advisory Board,
  20. ^ "Kokoda Foundation Board Members". Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
Military offices
Preceded by
Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove
Chief of Army
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie
Preceded by
Major General Peter Abigail
Deputy Chief of Army
Succeeded by
Major General Frank Roberts