Peter Leahy

Peter Francis Leahy

Leahy at the 2008 National Anzac Day service, Canberra.
Born (1952-10-30) 30 October 1952
Melbourne, Victoria
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1971–2008
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Army (2002–08)
Deputy Chief of Army (2000–02)
3rd Brigade (1997–98)
8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1990–92)
Awards Companion 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 (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

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

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

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. He visited Australian troops deployed on combat duties overseas during his time as Chief of Army but 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] Australia's highest civil honour.


On 19 September 2008, Leahy joined the board of Codan.[7] On 7 October 2008, he joined the staff of the University of Canberra as a Professor and foundation director of the National Security Institute.[8] On 4 May 2009 he joined the board of Electro Optic Systems Holdings Ltd.[9] He is a member of the Defence SA Advisory Board,[10] a Director of the Kokoda Foundation,[11] Chairman of the Board for wounded veterans charity Soldier On,[12] and serves on the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Committee in the Australian Capital Territory. Leahy is also the Patron of the Canberra Services Club, a position he has held since 2009.



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. 1 2 Official Biography, Australian Defence Leaders, retrieved 2008-10-27. Archived 15 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Peter Leahy – Thoughts & Legacy, Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia, ACT Branch, 9 July 2008, retrieved 2008-10-27.
  5. Companion of the Order of Australia, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 11 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  6. Companion of the Order of Australia, It's an honour.
  7. 1 2 Peter Leahy appointed to the Codan Board, Press release, undated,, retrieved 2008-10-27.
  8. Leahy appointed as Director of National Securities Institute, Press release,
  9. Peter Leahy, Electro Optic Systems Holdings Ltd,
  10. 1 2 3 Peter Leahy, Defence SA Advisory Board,
  11. 1 2 Kokoda Foundation Board Members,
  12. Board Members, Soldier On,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter Leahy.
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
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