Kenya Defence Forces Salaries and Ranks 2019

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is the armed forces of the republic of Kenya. They are made up of the Kenya Army, Kenya Navy and Kenya Airforce.

The KDF was established in 1928 and is headed by the President of Kenya, who is the commander-in-chief of all armed forces.

First, the focus of this article is to help readers have an insight to the salary structure of the Kenya Defence Forces, but before then let us take a look at some of the functions of these noble men.

The function of Kenya Defence Forces is to:

  • Protect the country; its people and resources from external attack or encroachment.
  • Provide internal security when the police are likely to be overcome.
  • Participate in international peace keeping missions
  • Provide support to the Civil Authority as per the Law, and many others.

Any government would be wise enough to ensure that its military is earning enough, and comfortable with the pay especially with the way they risk their lives for the safety of the country.

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Kenya Defence Forces Ranks

Officers  in  the  Kenya Defence  Forces  are  categorized  into  commissioned  and  non-commissioned. The commissioned officers are the ones in senior ranks while the non-commissioned are the very junior officers.

We’ll be looking at KDF ranks from the highest to the lowest.

The Commissioned Officers are as follows:

  1. Commander-in-chief: The president is the head of all armed forces, and therefore takes the position of commander-in-chief.
  2. General (Chief of Defence Forces): This is the highest rank in the KDF after the commander-in-chief. The General is appointed by the commander-in-chief and is a senior adviser to the commander-in-chief.
  3. Vice Chief of the Defence Forces: This is the second in command. The deputy general.
  4. Lieutenant General: This is the second most superior rank in the Kenyan military after the General.
  5. Major General:  Major Generals are in charge of a command (usually made up of several brigades).There are three different commands in Kenya; the western command, the eastern command and the Nairobi metropolitan command.
  6. Brigadier:  A Brigadier commands a brigade. The post is a Field Officer Rank.  Sometimes, a brigadier is chosen as directors of operational capability groups such as director of staff.
  7. Colonel: Soldiers in this rank can be charged with the responsibility of commanding a military institution such as the Recruits Training School.
  8. Lieutenant Colonel: A lieutenant colonel is in charge of between 650 – 1000 soldiers which include 4 or 5 sub-units and all the equipments in his/her Battalion depending on the unit.
  9. Major: After 8-10 years of military service, an officer is promoted to this position. At this point, they are opportune to manage about 120 soldiers.
  10. Captain: Captains are involved in decision making processes and planning. They command about 120 soldiers.
  11. Lieutenant: After a second lieutenant passes his training. He is promoted to this position.
  12. Second Lieutenant: This is the first rank that a soldier attains after successfully completing his initial military training at Kenya Military Academy in Lanet and has been commissioned as an officer. It is the starting KDF commissioned rank, and is held for up to three years, before one passes special training and is promoted to lieutenant.
  13. Officer Cadet: After a successful training at Lanet, officers gain this position

The non-commissioned officers are as follows:

  1. Warrant Officer Class 1
  2. Warrant Officer Class 2
  3. Staff/Color Sergeant
  4. Sergeant
  5. Corporal
  6. Lance Corporal
  7. Private

Kenya Defence Forces Salaries

Just like all other professions, KDF salaries depends on their ranks, level of education and years served.

Commissioned Officers

Ranks                                                                        Monthly Salaries

Chief of Defence Forces                                       Ksh 894,897 to Ksh 1,000,000

Lieutenant General                                                Ksh 632,984 – Ksh 800,000

Colonel                                                                      Ksh 153,317 – Ksh 300,000

Lieutenant Colonel                                                 Ksh 130,735 – Ksh 180,000

Major                                                                         Ksh 102,106 – Ksh 150,000

Captain                                                                      Ksh 73,182 – Ksh 110,000

Non Commissioned Officers

Ranks                                                                        Monthly Salaries

Corporal                                                                   Ksh 32,250 – Ksh 70,000

Lance Corporal                                                       Ksh 26,509 – Ksh 50,000

Private                                                                       Ksh 19,941 – Ksh 30,000

New recruit                                                              Ksh 7,172

To see more KDF salaries imputed by KDF officers, visit

Kenya Defence Forces Recruitment

If you are interested in pursuing a military career in Kenya then this is an opportunity for you as Kenya Defence Forces is currently recruiting.

To apply, visit

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Frances Anonu

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