Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Kenya’s military shares a rank structure similar to that of the British Army. The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are the armed forces of the Republic of Kenya, comprising of the Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, and Kenya Air Force. The President of Kenya is the Commander-in-chief of all the armed forces.
Just like any other profession, KDF salaries are pegged on the ranks, education levels and years served.
In this article, we’ll be looking at KDF ranks from the lowest to the highest and their salaries before the 2019 salary review.
KDF Service men and Non Commissioned Officers (NCO)
Private – It is the lowest rank in the KDF. They have to pass Phase I or boot camp training at Recruits training school in Eldoret.
Lance Corporal – A private can become a Lance Corporal after three years of service, or pass the Phase II training.
A Lance Corporal has the ability to manage a small team up to four soldiers called ‘Section’.
Corporal – Lance Corporal gets to this position after 6 – 8 years of military service and/or ones’ leadership skills. Corporals manage a bigger number of soldiers and military equipment.
Sergeant – Corporals get to this position after 12 years of good military service. Sergeants manage a group of up to 35 soldiers.
Staff/Color Sergeant – It is the highest position of soldiers and equipment manager. To get to this rank, a sergeant works in his rank for at least two years. Here, one commands a whole troop or platoon.
Warrant Officer Class 2 – As a Warrant Officer Class 2, one is fully focused on training, prosperity, discipline of up to 120 soldiers. They also act as a senior advisory to the company/squadron/battery commander.
A soldier in this position is eligible to be promoted to Officer position after a dedicated work.
Warrant Officer Class 1 – This main soldier position in KDF can only be attained after 18 years of brilliant military service. A Warrant Officer Class 1 commands up to 650 of both officers and soldiers.
KDF Commissioned Officers
Officer Cadet – This position is gained after one is successfully trained in Lanet, Nakuru County.
Second Lieutenant – A Second Lieutenant commands up to 30 soldiers. It is the starting KDF commissioned rank, held for up to three years, before one passes special training.
It is the first rank that a soldier attains after successfully completing his initial military training at Kenya Military Academy KMA in Lanet and has been commissioned as an officer.
Lieutenant – After a Second Lieutenant passes the special training, they are promoted to the Lieutenant rank.
Captain – A Captain is commands upto 120 soldiers. They are also involved in the planning and decision-making process.
Major – One serves as a Major in the KDF after 8 to 10 years of military service. Majors have the ability to manage up to 120 officers and soldiers.
Lieutenant Colonel – A KDF soldier in this position is in charge of between 650 – 1000 soldiers, that include 4 or 5 sub-units and all the equipments in his/her Battalion depending on the unit.
One serves as a Lieutenant Colonel for at least two years.
Colonel – It is the lowest staff rank. Colonels are not field commanders. A soldier with such a rank can be charged to command a military institution such as the Recruits Training School (Eldoret).
Brigadier – A Brigadier is in charge of a brigade. The post is a Field Officer Rank and in some cases a Brigadier acts as a Sector commander i.e in the ongoing AMISOM peace operation in Somalia where KDF soldiers have been divided to various sectors and assigned to various Brigadiers.
Major General – Major Generals are in charge of a command. A command is usually made up of several brigades. Kenya has three commands; the Eastern command, Western command and the Nairobi metropolitant command. A Major general can also be assigned to be a Force commander in UN and AU peacekeeping and Peace enforcement missions.
Lieutenant General – A soldier in this position is in charge of Corps sized formations. The position is second most important rank in the KDF. Only 3 people hold theis rank in Keny. They are the Kenya Army commander, Vice Chief of Defence Forces, and Commandant National Defense college. However in some cases there can be more than 3 Lieutenant Generals in the KDF.
Vice Chief of the Defence Forces – One in this position deputises the General.
General – This is the top rank in the KDF. A General is the Chief of Defence Forces. They are mostly appointed by the Commander-in-chief of all the armed forces. A General is a senior adviser to the Commander-in-chief and the Parliament. A General also directly commands the KDF.
Commander-in-chief – It is not a position in the KDF. But in Kenya, the president automatically becomes the Commander-in-chief of all the armed forces. He commands the KDF directly.
New recruit – Ksh7,172.
Private – between Ksh 19,941 and Ksh 30,000.
Lance Corporal – between Ksh 26,509 anf Ksh 50,000.
Corporal – between Ksh 32,250 to Ksh 70,000.
Captain – from Ksh 73,182 to Ksh 110,000.
Major – between Ksh 102,106 to Ksh 150,000.
Lieutenant Colonel – between Ksh 130,735 to Ksh 180,000.
Colonel – between Ksh 153,317 to Ksh 300,000.
Lieutenant General – from Ksh 632,984 to Ksh 800,000.
Chief of Defence Forces – between Ksh 894,897 to Ksh 1,000,000.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) reviews KDF salaries after every four years.