Lieutenant General Peter Leahy retired in July 2008 after a six year term as Chief of Army. This is the longest period of service as Chief of Army since General Harry Chauvel in the 1920s. Peter Leahy held command of the Army during a period of unprecedented operational activity, challenge, tempo and change. During his tenure of command the Army had its busiest operational period since the Vietnam War with multiple, concurrent, large scale, war fighting deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq and complex stabilization deployments to East Timor and The Solomon Islands.
His formal duties as Chief of Army were to advise the Government and Chief of the Defence Force on Army matters and to raise, train and sustain the Army. During his
tenure as Chief he was the driving force behind now accepted plans to grow and modernize the Army to prepare for the challenges of 21st Century warfare. His plan to
Harden and Network the Army is now well advanced with the Army meeting aggressive growth targets.
Recognised by many as one of the military’s preeminent strategic thinkers he wrote and spoke extensively on the changing nature of warfare and the need to counter new threats with new equipment (including the Abrams tanks), modern military structures, enhanced recruiting and retention measures, an expansion of the role of the Army Reserve and improved doctrine and training. General Leahry has argued strongly on new and emerging defence and security requirements driven by the globalization of security threats, our enemies retreat to complex environments and asymmetric warfare and the proliferation of lethal weapons into the hands of diverse small groups. He focused his efforts as Chief on ensuring that our soldiers were as well prepared, equipped, trained and led as possible. Recognising the very broad nature of modern security threats and the land centric nature of modern warfare he proposes a comprehensive model of national security which recognizes the requirement for a full partnership between all agencies of Government.
During 37 years of service in the Army, including service with the legendary Gurkhas and as an instructor at the U.S. Army’s premier officer training institution he has
demonstrated his ability to understand and implement change and lead large, diverse and complex national organisations. He is an experienced commander and leader who is highly regarded internationally having been recognized at the highest levels by the United States, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Since his retirement from the Army he has been appointed as Professor and foundation Director of the National Security Institute at the University of Canberra. He is a Director of Codan Pty Ltd, a member of the Defence South Australia Advisory Board, a member of the Board of the Kokoda Foundation and a member of the Red Shield Appeal Committee for the ACT.