KDF Ranks, salaries, and allowances In Kenya 2024/2025

Joseph Wenani
11 Min Read

Are you looking to join the Kenya defence forces in 2024/2025? If yes, then understanding the KDF ranks, salaries, and allowances will give you an overview of the structural organization of the Kenyan Defence Forces.

The Kenya Defence Forces is one of Kenya’s respected military institutions. The Composition of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is made up of the Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force, and Kenya Navy. It was established in 2010 under the Ministry of Defense with the Current sitting president as the commander-in-chief of all armed forces. Beyond safeguarding the Country’s interests, the KDF’s role also extends to recruiting new personnel who want to join and serve the Country. 

Did you know that the highest Earning Member in KDF is the Chief of Defence Forces with his salary up to 1.2 million shillings per month? The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) offers a rewarding career path with a lot of benefits and attractive salaries. What does this imply? If you are a committed person, you can progress through the KDF ranks and achieve a higher position with increased salaries and benefits. With that said, let us now deep dive into the heart of this article, understanding the KDF’s structure, ranks, salaries, and benefits, helping you decide if a career in the KDF is the right fit for you.

Let us get started.

Understanding KDF’s Structure and Ranks

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), along with all its three wings, is mandated to protect and safeguard the interests of Kenya, internal or external. The KDF lies within the Ministry of Defence in Kenya, and within the KDF lies the Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers, each with its own structured hierarchy. 

Commissioned vs. Non-Commissioned Officers: All to know

Within the KDF operations, the Commissioned officers are appointed by the President of the Republic of Kenya, the commander-in-chief. The Commissioned officers are the Crème de la Crème of the Kenya defence forces. In most cases, they are the decision-makers and leaders within KDF. On the other hand, the Non-commissioned officers are individuals with the lowest Military Rank within the KDF hierarchical structure. Unlike the commissioned officers whom the President appoints, the Non-commissioned officers earn their positions through promotion based on enlisted rank.

KDF Ranks In Kenya

Now, to help you understand the Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers even better, here is a breakdown of all KDF Ranks for Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers:

Commissioned Officers 

KDF Ranks, salaries, and allowances In 2024/2025

Here is a list of all KDF Ranks for Commissioned Officers ranked from lowest to highest:

  1. Second Lieutenant
  2. Lieutenant
  3. Captain
  4. Major
  5. Lieutenant Colonel
  6. Colonel
  7. Brigadier
  8. Major General
  9. Lieutenant General
  10. General

Non-Commissioned Officers ( Ranked from lowest to highest)

KDF Ranks, salaries, and allowances In 2024/2025

Here is a list of all KDF Ranks for Non-Commissioned Officers ranked from lowest to highest:

  1. Private Officer
  2. Lance Corporal
  3. Corporal
  4. Sergeant
  5. Senior Sergeant
  6. Warrant Officer Class 2
  7. Warrant Officer Class 1

Detailed Look at KDF Salaries by Rank in 2024/2025

When starting a career with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), one is expected to serve the Country, but at the end of the day, huge returns come with being part of the KDF. As Your career progresses in KDF, so do your rank and salaries. In Kenya, all public servants are managed by the SRC, and so are the KDF officers. The salary compensation structure within is usually viewed every four years, with the last being in 2023, and is expected to come into play from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024. 

 Below is a table that gives you a complete overview of the salary ranges of the Kenya defence officers arranged according to their ranks from the lowest member to the highest:

Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) RankMonthly Salary Range in Ksh
Cadet (in training)7,172
Private19,941 to 30,000
Lance Corporal26,509 to 50,000
Corporal32,250 to 70,000
Captain73,182 to 110,000
Major102,106 to 150,000
Lieutenant Colonel130,735 to 180,000
Colonel153,317 to 300,000
Lieutenant General632,984 to 800,000
Chief of Defense Forces894,897 to 1.2 million

What Is Kenya Air Force’s salary per month?

Below are the current Kenya Air Force salary scales in Kenya according to their ranks from highest to lowest:

Kenya Air Force RankMonthly Salary In Ksh
Chief of Defense Forces1,120,000 (Ksh. 840,000 basic salary and Ksh. 336,000 allowances)
Air Vice Marshal927,500 (Ksh. 695,625 basic salary and Ksh. 278,250 allowances)
Air Commodore906,014
Wing Commander153,317
Squadron Leader130,735
Flight Lieutenant102,106
Flying Officer73,182
Leading Aircraftman II26,509
Leading Aircraftman19,941

What Is the Kenyan Navy salary per month?

Below are the current Kenyan Navy salary  scales in Kenya according to their ranks from highest to lowest:

Kenyan Navy Ranks (High to Low)Monthly Salary In Ksh
Commander of Kenya Navy902,432
Commodore 927,500 (Ksh. 695,625 basic salary and Ksh. 278,250 allowances)
Admiral Navy906,014
Able Seaman32,250
Leading Seaman26,509
Junior Seaman19,941

Training and Benefits for KDF Officers?

Being part of the Kenya Deforce Forces family comes with a lot of commitment to serving and protecting the interests of Kenyans and a mouthful of benefits to help you stay in the KDF and be peaceful. Here, I will guide you through the KDF training program and the benefits and allowances that come with being in the KDF.

What Is KDF Training?

If you want to be part of the LKDF family, you must be prepared to understand its training. KDF training is how a recruit is prepared to join the Military. Usually, it takes place at the KDF training school in Eldoret and lasts approximately nine months. Here are some Key Training that you should expect:

1. Cadet Training:

The cadet training usually takes place at the Kenya Military Academy. The training period usually lasts three years, when the Cadets are equipped with general military skills, individual preparedness, and small unit tactical operations to instil professional excellence. During the Training period, the cadets receive a monthly stipend of Ksh 7,172.

2. Specialization and Continuous Learning:

After the Cadet training, KDF Officers undergo specialized training in their respective fields, including advanced courses domestically and internationally. The Objective here is to ensure that all KDF officers 

remain experienced and capable of adapting to different challenges.

KDF Benefits and Allowances

Like most professional Jobs in Kenya, Kenya’s defence officers are also subjected to receiving several benefits and allowances. These include:

  • Housing Allowance: This applies to all KDF officers and their families 
  • Medical Cover: When it comes to the Military, the health of an officer is very important, and thus, all KDF personnel have unlimited access to medical and dental care. This extends to their families, too.
  • Risk Allowance: There are several risks involved in the Military, and acknowledging these allowances is meant to address the dangers the KDF officers may face during missions. Officers are paid between Ksh 5,000 to Ksh 10,000 per day when deployed outside the Country.
  • Leave Allowance:  Finally, we have the Paid Leave Allowance, which promotes a healthy work-life balance and allows officers time to rest and reconnect with their families.

Along with these allowances, the KDF personnel are also entitled to:

  • Foreign Service Allowance for Officers serving abroad
  • Outfit Allowance for Officers and their families posted outside Kenya
  • Pension or Retirement Benefits
  • National Holidays
  • NHIF (NOW SHIF) and NSSF deductions and benefits
  • Medical benefits for employees in Kenya
  • Exemption of NHIF and NSSF deductions for expatriates

Frequently Asked Questions About the KDF

When is KDF Recruitment 2024/2025

In 2024/2025, KDF recruitment is scheduled for early August or early September.

How can I join the KDF?

To be part of the KDF family, you must be willing to participate in the recruitment exercise, and thus, you should be eligible. You must be a Kenyan citizen who is 18+ years of age and meet specific physical and medical criteria. 

What is the starting salary for a recruit?

The starting salary of a recruit begins at KES 7,000 and goes up to 25,000 per month. However, this may increase, depending on their rank over the years as their experience progresses​​.

How much are KDF Officers paid In Kenya? 

In Kenya, as soon as an Officer Joins the army, they are entitled to the lowest salary of KShs 7,172. However, as they stay and their experience and skills increase, they are promoted from one rank to another, and their salary increases. The highest earner within the kDF family is the Chief of Defense Forces, who takes home 1.2 million Ksh monthly as the highest-ranking military officer. 

Does KDF pay tax?

Like ordinary citizens in Kenya, the KDF officers also pay their taxes fully. However, we must mention that they are taxed on allowances and exempted from paying excise duty.

How much does a Kenya Air Force officer earn per month?

For the Kenya Airforce, the lowest rank is for the leading aircraftman who earns Ksh. 19,941, and the highest in rank, the Chief of Defence Forces, earns Ksh. 1,120,000 monthly.

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