How to join the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF)

How to join the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF)

After a successful completion of the secondary school education and acquiring the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, (KCSE), school leavers have various options they can explore in their next steps. These include; enrolling in a postsecondary training institution, entering the job market, or joining the government security organs, (the Kenya Police or the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). You are reading this article because you are interested in learning more about the latter. Continue reading and learn how you can join the Kenya Police or KDF.

The Kenya Police and KDF, are the security departments for the Government of Kenya. Each of these two major security organs has specific duties to perform. The main work of the Kenya Police is to enforce laws (maintain law and order) in the country. The Kenya Police consists of various departments/ units which include; the General Service Unit (GSU), Kenya Police College, Traffic Police Department, Presidential Escort Unit (PEU), Kenya Police Dog Unit, Kenya Airports Police Unit, Kenya Railways Police Unit, Kenya Police Airwing, Kenya Tourists Police Unit, Diplomatic Police Unit, Maritime Police Unit and the National Disaster Management Unit.

KDF on the other hand works to protect the country from external aggressions, threats, and attacks. KDF is the military security arm/ National Defence forces which is composed of the Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force, and the Kenya Navy. The Kenya Army's main duties include; raids, ambushes, infiltration, and border patrols among others. The Kenya Navy and Kenya Air Force protect the country in water and in the air respectively.

Joining the Kenya Police

The entry into the Kenya Police is through police constable recruitment.  A constable is a junior police officer. The Kenya police constable recruitment dates are announced in the mass media every year. Be on the lookout for upcoming Kenya police recruitment dates/ events across the country. To be recruited as a police constable, candidates/ recruits should have the following minimum requirements;

  1. Be a citizen of Kenya
  2. Hold a Kenya National Identity Card
  3. Possess a minimum mean grade of D+ (D Plus) and above in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination or its equivalent from an examination body recognized in Kenya with a D+ (D Plus) and above in either English or Kiswahili language.

After recruitment, the recruits undergo rigorous police training at the Kenya Police Training College Kiganjo. After successful completion of the training, recruits are posted in various parts across the county.

Joining the Kenya Defence Forces, (KDF)

You can join KDF and associated jobs through various pathways such as; General Service Officer (GSO) Cadets, Specialist Officers, Recruits/Service Men/ Women as well as Tradesmen/Women/Trades Members.

General Service Officer (GSO) Cadets, Specialist Officers,

A cadet is a junior trainee or a person undergoing rigorous training to become an officer in the military. Specialist officers are individuals with advanced academic qualifications such as; engineers, doctors, meteorologists, architects, veterinary doctors, and fitness specialists among any other fields. The following are the minimum recruitment requirements for General Service Officer (GSO) Cadets and Specialist Officers.


(1) Be Kenyan citizens with no dual citizenship.
(2) Be in possession of a valid Kenyan National Identity Card.
(3) Age – between 18 and 26 years old for GSO Cadets, not above 30 years for Specialist Officers
(4) Be physically and medically fit in accordance with the KDF standards.
(5) Have no criminal record.
(6) Minimum Height: (a) Men 1.60m (5ft 3in).(b) Women 1.52m (5ft)
(7) Minimum Weight:(a) Men 54.55 Kg (120 lb).(b) Women 50.00 Kg (110 lb).
(8) Female candidates must NOT be pregnant at the time of recruitment and during the entire duration of training.

Minimum Education Qualification

  1. General Service Officer (GSO) Cadets Must hold a minimum mean grade of B (Plain) in KCSE with at least C+ (Plus) in English, Mathematics and one Science subject. The initial training period for this category will cover three (3) continuous years leading to a BSc in Military Science and Security Studies on successful completion
  2. Specialist Officers Must hold a minimum mean grade of B (Plain) in KCSE with at least C+ (Plus) in English, Mathematics and one science subject. Must be holder of an undergraduate degree from a recognized University/institution and be registered with statutory body where applicable. The initial training period for Specialist Officers will not be less than three months

Recruits/Service Men/ Women

The following are the minimum recruitments for candidates wishing to join the Defence Forces for Recruits/Service Men/ Women;

(1) Must be Kenyan citizens.
(2) Age – Between 18 and 26 years old.
(3) Education – A minimum of mean grade D (Plain) in KCSE.
(4) Be medically fit.
(5) Have no criminal record.
(6) Minimum Height – 5 ft 3 in. (5’3”).
(7) Minimum Weight:
(a) Men – 54.55 Kg (120 lb).
(b) Women – 50 Kg (110 lb).
(8) Women candidates must NOT be pregnant.

Tradesmen/ Women/ Trades Members.

Tradesmen/ women are skilled artisans and technicians in various vocational and technical fields such as; plumbing, electrical installation, vehicle mechanics, general fitters among many other fields. Candidates who wish to join the Defence Forces as Tradesmen/women must apply through responding to advertisements placed in the mass media (print and electronic). The candidates must observe the following:

(1) Technicians: A minimum of mean grade C (Plain) in KCSE, a relevant diploma from a recognized Institution and be registered with the relevant statutory bodies, where applicable.

(2) Artisans: A minimum of mean grade D+ (Plus) in KCSE and either a relevant certificate with Government Trade Test Grade II or Craft II from a recognized Institution.

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