The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is the armed forces of the Republic of Kenya, that is composed of Kenya Army, Kenya Navy and Kenya Air Force. KDF is tasked with protecting and defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya in the event of an invasion or attack from external forces. Members of Kenya Defense Forces operate in a systematic manner, guided by unmatchable discipline and respect depending on the rank of an officer.
The Kenya Army protects the country from eternal land-based attacks, the Kenya Navy protects the country’s territorial waters from sea-borne attacks, piracy and any activities that are prohibited, while the Kenya Air Force ensures that the country’s air space is safe from any attacks. Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) shares a rank structure similar to that of the United Kingdom – especially the British Army.
The order of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) ranks is as follows, from the highest to the lowest.
Commissioned officers join the military as cadets. They start their training at Kenya Military Academy (KMA). Here are the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) ranks for commissioned officers.
It’s highest rank in Kenya military, only one person can hold the position at the time. The promotion in the forces are basing on; education of an officer, years served in military discipline and respect depending on ranks of an officer.
The second highest rank in military. They are at times called three-star generals. Those with the post can be Vice Chief of Defence Forces, Service commander in the services or those in charge of National Defence College. In this cadre, officers are in charge of corps-sized formations.
3. Major General
They are in charge of divisions and senior staff appointments in military, and at times are called two-star generals. Some can be promoted as service commanders.
They are in charge of brigades and battalions. To become a Brigadier, one must have served to at least 12 years and shown excellence in service.
As a colonel, the officer is not a field commander but the lowest of the staff ranks. The KDF staff will be a senior operational advisor to the senior officers and serve as a staff officer between field commands at brigade or battalion level.
Officers hold this position for two years, commanding 4-5 sub-units with up to 650 soldiers. They are responsible for their overall operational effectiveness in general discipline, welfare, and military capabilities.
Officers gain promotion to this rank after around 8-10 years of outstanding service and leadership skills. They get to command a sub-unit of about 120 soldiers and officers. Majors are responsible for administration, welfare, and training of their sub-unit both in operations and in the camps, and managing their equipment. They are usually involved in decision making process.
Officers who attain this rank must have served for up to 6 years and will be second in command for up to 120 soldiers in a sub-unit. They are part of decisionmaking and planning processes with on-ground tactical responsibility on operations, logistic support, maintenance of equipment, and workforce.
Officers attain this rank after serving for 3-5 years. They will be in the position for 3 years with an opportunity to gain more specialized skills out of your unit. Afterward, they will have the responsibility of leading up to 30 soldiers in a troop or platoon.
10. Second Lieutenant
Officers hold this position after two years of graduation from KMA. They can have the rank for up to 3 years while undergoing specialized training. In this rank, the officer leads up to 30 soldiers in a troop or platoon, both in operations and training.
This is a rank the officers hold immediately after training. They are junior officers among the commissioned officers.
They are otherwise referred to as NCOs. Here are the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) ranks of non-commissioned officers.
12. Warrant Officer I
It’s a rank attained after 18 years of exemplary service. Warrant Officers are senior advisors to the unit’s commanding officer. They are responsible for the leadership, welfare, and discipline of around 650 soldiers and equipment.
13. Warrant Officer II
It’s a senior management rank with a complete focus on training, prosperity, and discipline of around 120 soldiers. In this rank, you can act as a senior adviser to a Major in command of a sub-unit.
14. Senior Sergeant
A promotion to either a Colour or Staff Sergeant is attained after two years as a Sergeant. It’s the highest management of equipment and soldiers of around 120. With the rank, you can command a whole platoon or troop.
With the responsibility of the rank, officers can only attain this position after 12 years of service. It’s a second in command rank for a platoon or troop of 35 soldiers. The Sergeant also advises the junior officers.
The second-lowest cadre is attained after 3 years in service and after passing the Phase 2 training.
A Private is the lowest rank occupied by non-commissioned officers. It’s the first rank attained immediately after completing Phase 1 at KDF training school.