There are so many enquires about the Kenya Army ranks and badges. This is because the Kenya Defence Forces have become quite popular in recent times, and young people all over the country are interested in having careers with this organization which is saddled with the responsibility of defending the people and territories of Kenya.

There are arms of the Kenya Defence Force; the Kenya Army, the Kenya Navy, and the Kenya Air Force. They are all under a standardized salary scale; commiserate with their ranks. Before deciding on a career in the Kenya Army, it is certainly useful to find out about the Kenya Army ranks, salaries and badges so as to become familiar with the workings of the Kenya Army.

The Kenyan military structure is similar to that of the British Army since Kenya is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The article also adds the number of years one needs to have spent in the army to attain the ranks.

Kenya Army Ranks and Badges

Non-Commissioned Officers

Non commissioned officers are also called NCOs. These are military officers who have not received a commission, but who get their positions of authority through the promotions they get as they work through the enlisted ranks.


A Private is the lowest rank among the non-commissioned officers. It is the first rank to which a person is enlisted immediately after completing Phase 1 at the Kenya Defence Force training school.


A Corporal is a second-lowest rank in the Kenya Army. Usually, a soldier rises to the rank of Corporal after spending three years in the army as a Private and then passing the Phase 2 training.


The rank of Sergeant comes with responsibility. With this rank, one becomes the second in command in a platoon of 35 soldiers, with responsibility for advising and also assisting junior officers in the mission. This position is typically attained after 12 years of service.

Senior Sergeant

As a Senior Sergeant (either a Colour or Staff Sergeant), one has the authority to command a whole platoon, which may have about 120 soldiers. A lot of heavy equipment may also fall under the command of the Senior Sergeant. One could gain promotion to this rank after two years as a Sergeant.

Warrant Officer II

The Warrant Officer II is a senior management rank. With this rank, the soldier gets to work directly with Colonels and Major Generals, and the soldier will have the responsibility of issuing orders received from above to his soldiers. However, this position deals more with the training, prosperity, and discipline of the soldiers under your command.

Warrant Officer I

Warrant Officer I is the highest rank attainable for a non-commissioned officer. With this rank, the soldier is in charge of about 650 soldiers and a lot of equipment.  As with the Warrant Officer II position, this office is more involved with the welfare, and training of the soldiers under his command. One can reach this position after about 18 years of exemplary service. Warrant Officers are usually senior advisors to the unit’s commanding officer.

Commissioned Officers

Commissioned Officers in the Kenya Army are charged with the administrative duties, and the job of directing active campaigns. These are specially trained officers that are commissioned to lead the various arms of the army. They start their training at Kenya Military Academy (KMA) in Lanet, Nakuru County.


Cadets are young entrants into the Army that are fresh out of Training. They are absorbed into the army but basically, they are to understudy the way the army works in practical terms.

Second Lieutenant

Second Lieutenants are officers that have been inactive service for two years after Graduation from KMA. They can have the rank, and yet continue undergoing specialized training sometimes up to three years. They can then lead platoons of up to 30 men.

Badge: A second Lieutenant’s badge in the Kenyan Army has a single pin.


These are Officers that have served for at least three to five years. They usually stay in this position for about three years, during which they can gain even more specialized training, so as to gain even more responsibility. Afterward, they will be responsible for leading up to 30 soldiers in a troop or platoon.

Badge: A Lieutenant in the Kenyan Army bears two pins set on top of each other.


A Captain is an officer. To attain this rank one must have spent up to six years in service. This position puts one second in command of up to 120 soldiers in a sub-unit. They are sometimes given the responsibility of executing ground maneuvers, and they are part of the decision-making and planning processes.

Badge: A captain in the Kenya Army bears 3 pins arranged on top of each other.


A Major must have spent 8 – 10 years of outstanding service, and must show that he has leadership skills. They get to command a sub-unit of about 120 soldiers, and they are on the administrative side. They mostly pass down orders to the non-commissioned officers under them, and then they receive reports about how the orders are carried out.

Badge: A Major in the Kenya Army bears the sigil of the Army as his badge.

Lieutenant Colonel

A Lieutenant Colonel is a soldier that has spent around 8 – 10 years of outstanding service as a commissioned officer. He must show that he has the leadership skills necessary. Lieutenant Colonels command both soldiers and officers; sometimes numbering about 120.

Badge: A Lieutenant Colonel in the Kenya army bears the sigil of the Kenya Army on top of a pin.


As a colonel, the officer must have spent at least 10 years in the army as a commissioned officer. This rank is not a field commander but the lowest of the staff ranks. This means the officer will be in charge of the administrative side of the army’s operations.

Salary Scale: Colonels earn 153,317 Kenya shillings monthly.

Badge: The sigil on top of 2 pins.


A Brigadier is a field officer in charge of a brigade. He will therefore have lower field officers such as Captains and Lieutenants as well as non-commissioned officers such as Sergeants.

Salary Scale: Colonels is 153,317 Kenya shillings monthly.

Badge: A Brigadier in the Kenya Army bears a sigil on top of 3 pins.

Major General

A Major General is in charge of divisions and senior staff appointments. They are in charge of the administrative side of the army; such as welfare and promotions. They are sometimes called two-star generals.

Salary Scale: Major Generals earn around KShs900,000 per month.

Badge: A pin on top of a sword and staff crossed together.

Lieutenant General

A Lieutenant General is one of the highest military ranks in Kenya. This puts one in charge of running almost the whole army; officers report to Lieutenant Generals both from the administrative side of the army and the operational side as well.

Salary Scale:  Lieutenant Generals make KShs 927,500 per month.

Badge: The sigil on top of a sword and staff crossed together.


A General is the most senior officer in the Army. This means running the army in positions such as the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Defence Staff, or Chief Of General Staff.

Salary Scale: The Chief of Defense Forces (A General) takes home a whopping 1,120,000 Kenya shillings per month.

Badge: Sigil on top of a pin and still on top of a sword and staff crossed together.


Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) Salaries

Here, we list the salaries of all the ranks of the KDF as well as other benefits enjoyed by men of the military in Kenya.

  • As a new recruit in the KDF, your salary will be Ksh 7,172.
  • The salary of Privates in the KDF is between Ksh 19,941 and Ksh 30,000.
  • The salary of Lance Corporals ranges from Ksh 26,509 to Ksh 50,000.
  • The salary of Corporals is from Ksh 32,250 to Ksh 70,000.
  • The salary of Captains ranges from Ksh 73,182 to Ksh 110,000.
  • The salary of Majors is from Ksh 102,106 to Ksh 150,000.
  • The salary of Lt. Colonels ranges from Ksh 130,735 to Ksh 180,000.
  • The salary of Colonels is from between Ksh 153,317 to Ksh 300,000.
  • The salary of Lieutenant Generals is between Ksh 632,984 and Ksh 800,000.
  • The salary of the Chief of Defence Forces is from Ksh 894,897 to Ksh 1M.

So, now that we have established the exact order of army ranks from the lowest to highest as well as the KDF monthly salary, another fact you should know about is another great bonus of a job in the Kenyan army. This also depends on KDF ranks.

Even as a new recruit or a cadet in the Kenyan Army, you will not have any financial problems if you would live in army barracks.

Do you know that all employees of the army are able to buy all commodities for half price? For example, normally sugar which costs Ksh 120 in the regular stores is sold for Ksh 70 or even less in the barracks to men of the army.

As a Kenya Defense Forces soldier, you will be entitled to get hefty allowances from the government when you are deployed outside of Kenya on peaceful missions.

In this case, every KDF soldier receives from between Ksh 5,000 to Ksh 10,000 per day. This kind of hefty salary is surely worth joining the Kenya Defense Force for. However, the disadvantages of a military career are well known and common to almost every soldier in every country.

Promotion in the Army can also be quite a difficult task as there is fierce competition among soldiers. So, for you to get promoted easily, your career achievements have to be quite outstanding.



Kenya Army Salary Scale is an interesting one, wouldn’t you agree?

We have looked at all the Kenya army ranks and badges, as well as the monthly take-home pay of each rank. A career in the military can be quite glorious and enticing for those interested in pursuing such but getting into the Army can be such a tough task due to the strong competition for the few available spaces each time there is recruitment. For those who have made it in, the career is quite interesting.

There are several benefits to a military career, some of which have been discussed in this article. There are opportunities for you to serve on peacekeeping missions in foreign lands for which you will be paid handsomely per day.

If you are keen on pursuing a military career in Kenya, be on the lookout for when calls will be made for recruitment into the KDF and follow through with the application and recruitment process. If you get lucky and are selected, then you are on your way to achieving your dream as a soldier.