What You Need To Understand About National Defence University-Kenya

National Defence University
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The National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K) was established under Section 24 of the Universities Education Act, 2012 on 27 May 2021. The University offers specialized certificates, diplomas and degrees in areas related to Defence and security, as well as other dimensions of security. The University is based at Lanet, Nakuru County.

Background Story

The vision to have the General Service Officers (GSOs) attain higher education at the university began in the 1970s. However, this vision materialized in 1996 when General (Rtd) Daudi Tonje became the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) and introduced an academic progression plan for GSO cadets from certificate to diploma at Kenya Military Academy.

The idea of establishing a university to provide training and education in Defence security was later re-introduced in 2015. This was done due to the shortcomings witnessed in the existing collaborations/partnerships with local public universities. These shortcomings demanded an institution with the necessary education infrastructure and training that could foster the integration of theory and practice, which is the hallmark of Defence and security training.

A task force, comprising staff from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education and other stakeholders, was therefore formed and mandated to seek the award of a Charter under Section 24 of the Universities Act 2012 to offer specialized degrees.

On 27 May 2021, the NDU-K was established under Section 24 of the Universities Education Act, 2012 to offer specialized certificates, diplomas and degrees in areas related to Defence and security, as well as other dimensions of security.

Read: How To Easily Join Kenya Defence Forces (2023)


 The University Leadership

  1. Chancellor: The Chancellor of National Defence University-Kenya is the President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces.
  2. The University Council, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Forces, is the highest decision-making organ of NDU-K on matters of governance and management.
  3. Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor is the administrative and academic head of the university. Lieutenant General Jonah M Mwangi CBS ‘awc’ (USA) ‘psc’ (K) is the current Vice-Chancellor.
  4. University Management Board. The University Management Board (UMB) is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor.  It implements policies and conducts day to day running of the university.
  5. Senate. The Senate is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor.


1. National Defence College

The National Defence College (NDC) is pitched at a strategic level and is KDF’s highest defence training institution. It is mandated to conduct a pre-eminent course in national security and strategy. It prepares selected senior defence officers and the equivalent senior civil servants of the Republic of Kenya and their counterparts from allied countries for higher responsibilities in the direction and management of national security and the related areas of public administration. As a college of NDU-K, NDC offers a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategy at the Karen Campus, Nairobi.

2. Joint Command and Staff College

The Joint Command and Staff College (JCSC) trains middle-level officers in defence and strategy at the operational level. The college develops professional knowledge and skills and prepares its students for advanced responsibilities in command and staff. Students are offered defence and academic modules to equip them with the capacity to adapt and navigate the evolving, complex and ambiguous security environment.

Upon completing the academic module, the participants are awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Diploma certificate in Defence and Strategic Studies, depending on individual entry level. The academic module exposes the learners to national, regional and international security dynamics that impact Kenya’s national interests. Hence, NDU-K will enhance the capacity for training, academic studies and research necessary for understanding, analysing and providing solutions to contemporary security challenges.

3. The Kenya Military Academy

Academy is a college of the National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K). It is a Premier institution for basic foundational military Officer training and intellectual development. The Academy is responsible for training Cadets for commissioning as Officers. In the NDU-K programme, the course content will lead to a Cadet attainment of a Bachelor of Science in Defence & Security Studies upon successful graduation.

Academy is a Centre of Excellence, charged with the mandate of providing value-based foundational military leadership or officer training, education and inspiration to selected Kenyan and allied Cadets, to attain excellence in the profession of arms.

4. International Peace Support Training Centre

International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) was established in January 2001 as part of the Kenyan Defence Staff College. It initially focused at training of Kenyan forces for UN peace keeping missions and later African Union Peace Support Operations. PSTC became a separate Kenyan MOSD establishment in July 2006 and in 2008, initial efforts towards “internationalization” were made.

In 2009, PSTC Karen merged with International Mine Action Training Centre (IMATC) to form one centre, International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC). The former PSTC was renamed to Peace and Conflict Studies School (PCSS) and IMATC renamed to Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS). In 2011, IPSTC achieved autonomy through formal partnership arrangements with USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Kenya, Germany and UNDP.

5. Defence Forces Technical College

Defence Forces Technical College (DEFTEC) is a premier institution located at Embakasi Garrison with a mission to train Technical and Information Technology manpower, conduct Research and development for the Kenya Defence Forces, support and sustain industrialization strategy. Under that mission, the college has produced over Ten Thousand Six Hundred (10,600) competitive graduates in Engineering and Information Technology fields. They have been vital in the Units in maintaining and servicing of Land, Air and Maritime-based KDF assets and systems. Information Technology (IT) graduates have also been instrumental in the design, development, installation, operation and maintenance of different systems within KDF. The college has also been able to conduct limited research on various fields.

6. Defence College of Health Sciences

Defence College of Health Sciences is a College of National Defence University-Kenya, having been adopted by the University senate on 22 December 2021 and a subsequent University meeting held on 20 January 2022. The College was established as Armed Forces Medical Training School in 1991 to train basic medical skills to the troops. In 2012, the college changed name to Defence Forces Medical Training School and accredited to provide diploma training in Kenya Registered Community Health Nursing. In 2022, the college changed name to Defence College of health Sciences with an additional mandate to offers degree courses that enhance health security in promotion of national security.

7. National Intelligence and Research University College

The National Intelligence and Research University College is established under Legal Notice No 96 of 2021 as a Constituent College of NDU-K. The institution focuses on intelligence studies and research on complex security threats in order to protect national and regional interests. Within the 5-year period projected in this Strategic Plan, NIRUC will focus on establishing a leading intelligence training and action-oriented research institution regionally and beyond.



Bachelor of Science in Defence and Security Studies

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology for Defence Systems


Master of Arts in Crisis Response and Disaster Management

Master of Arts in National Security and Strategy

Postgraduate Diploma

Postgraduate Diploma in Defense and Strategic Studies

Other Courses and Colleges

From time to time, the university will revise the courses offered to meet the security needs of the country. Other specialised colleges may be established in the future in response to the defence needs of the country.

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Barry Ipapo

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Barry Ipapo

Security professional || Law and Governance Enthusiast || Technologist
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