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The institution was established in July 1992 and named Kenya National Defence College (KNDC). A private residential property was acquired at Karen in Nairobi, adjacent to the Defence Staff College (DSC), to accommodate the college. NDC is established as a National Institution under the direction of the Department of Defence. The College Advisory Board is the Governing Body established to advise the Commandant on academic standards.

The NDC mission and roles make it a unique and valuable institution in this country and region. By learning together, Senior Military Officers and Senior Civil Servants will compare and appreciate each others' institutional interdependence, capabilities, limitations and interplay of economic, socio-political and military factors that impact on security.

Through this, NDC hopes to enhance participants' experiences making them better prepared to face the challenges of our times, either as advisers or decision makers particularly in situations where the National Security Agenda is formulated. With the introduction of the University programme, it is hoped that this will improve the quality of the knowledge acquired at this College.


"To prepare selected Senior Military Officers and Senior Government Officials of the Republic of Kenya and their equivalent from selected friendly countries for higher responsibilities in the direction and management of defence, security and other related areas of public policy"


The College is organized as follows:

College Headquarter .
The HQ is the Command and Control centre. At the HQ is the Commandant who is of the rank of Lieutenant General.

Faculty Division .
The faculty is comprised of:-

Four Senior Officers of the rank of Major General or Ambassadorial or Status who are designated as Senior Directing Staff (SDS) representing the three services, Army, Air force and Navy, and a Senior Civil Servant seconded from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A team of four (Junior Directing Staff, three of who are military officers of the rank of Lt Col) drawn from the Army, Air force and Navy and one Civil Servant seconded from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Staff Division.
At the Staff Division we have the College Secretary who is in charge of the overall administration of the College. He has under him the following officers:

    A College Co-ordinator of the rank of Colonel who is responsible for academic co-ordination.
    An Assistant College Secretary of the rank of Colonel and responsible for Budget and Finance matters.
    An Administrative Officer, of the rank of Major who is responsible for Administration and Discipline of sub-ordinate staff.
    A Regimental Sergeant-Major of the rank of Warrant Officer who is responsible for general administration and discipline of servicemen

A group photo of Course participants with His Excellency President Jakaya Kikwete at the National Defence College.


College Curriculum

The objective is to transform the participant from a tactically supervised environment to a world of broad issues and organizations. A key objective is to ensure that the participant acquires conceptual thinking derived from a close, detailed and reflective study of wide spectrum of issues including Defence and national Security.


The course is programmed to run for weeks and is divided into four terms each broken into phases.


The aim of Term 1 is to study the fundamental theories and principles on which National Security issues are founded. The duration of the Term is weeks. The term has 3 Study Phases;

Phase 1 - Policy Making and Strategic Studies :

  • National Security Strategy.
  • National Military Strategy.
  • Policy Making Process in the Public and Private Sector.

Phase 2 - International Studies :

  • International Relations
  • International Conflict Management
  • International Law
  • International Political Economy
  • Research Methodology

Phase 3 - Science and Technology Studies covering the following areas:

  • Application of Science and Technology to Military Operations.
  • Application of Science and Technology to Management Process.
  • Information Technology and Communication.
  • Research and Development.


The aim of Term 2 is to analyse the domestic scene covering Kenya 's socio-political, economic, agricultural and industrial policies and practices and their impact and influence on National security. Although we use Kenya as a model, the studies are applicable to other countries as well, which are covered in detail during Term 3. The duration of the Term is weeks. Like Term 1, Term 2 consists of 3 Phases;

Phase 1 - Economic Studies :

  • Economic Policies and sessional papers.
  • Budgetary Process.
  • National Development Planning Process.
  • Defence Economics.
  • National Resource Allocation.
  • Diplomacy
  • National Security Studies

Phase 2 - Agricultural and Industrial Studies:

  • The Role of Agriculture in Kenya's Economy and Industrialization.
  • Agriculture and Food Security.
  • Kenya's Industrial Policies and Strategies
  • Diplomacy
  • National Security Studies
  • To round up this phase, the course visits selected strategic industries and institutions within Kenya and also a one week visit to two countries in the region. The current course will visit Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Phase 3 - Socio-Political Studies :

  • Kenya's National Values and psycho-social environment.
  • The culture, traditions and languages of the people of Kenya .
  • Gender Issues.
  • Political Organizations of the Government and extra Governmental Organizations.
  • Constitutional Safeguards and the rule of Law.
  • Public Order and Security.
  • Diplomacy
  • National Security Studies


There is a course break of two weeks.


This is the International Affairs term. This term will concentrate on the International context in which national security strategy is formulated and carried out. The aim is to enable participants understand how International factors affect Kenya's National Interests. For this purpose the world is divided into 7 regions which constitute the Term Study areas:

International Relations of Africa .
This study area will cover:

  • Africa's Historical Legacy.
  • Civil-Military Relations in Africa.
  • Africa's Constitutional Renaissance and Consolidation of Democracy.
  • Organization of Africa Unity and Challenges to Continental Peace.

International Relations of Asia:

  • Middle East and South Asia: Organization of Gulf States, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Future Perspectives in the Middle East and South Asia Region.
  • East Asia and Pacific Studies: The Region's Economic Strength and its Status as Newly Industrialized Countries.

International Relations of Europe :

  • Eastern Europe and CIS, Economic and Socio-Political Transformation of Eastern Europe .
  • Western Europe: Historical linkages between Africa and the Western European countries, Dynamics of European Integration, and the Role and Future of NATO.

International Relations of North America .
The Scope of this study area covers:

  • The emergence of USA as the sole superpower.
  • US Foreign Policy.
  • Role of Canada in the region.
  • Central America, the Caribbean and South America
  • Evolution of Democratisation in the region.
  • Drug Trafficking.
  • Debt Crisis: The Brazilian case.

The term winds up with a three week International Study visit. Course 3 will be divided into 2 teams and will visit 6 pre-selected countries two of which will be in Africa. One team will visit Senegal, Venezuela and USA while the other team will visit South Africa, South Korea and Malaysia .


The duration of the Term is 4 weeks. This term focuses on Kenya's National Security and defence issues. The term is designed to wrap up the various studies carried out in the previous terms. The terms course objectives include:

  • Recognizing and analysing the major factors and issues affecting Kenya's national security.
  • Articulating Kenya's national interests and objectives.
  • Understanding the role of the Kenya Armed Forces and other security agencies in support of national strategy.
  • Examining Kenya's Foreign Policy as a means to safe guarding our national interests.
  • Establishing the linkage that exists between the state, the Military and the Society.
  • Assessing the impact of the country's economy on national Power and Security.

During the last week of the term, a National Security Seminar takes place, through which Kenya's National Vision and Grand Strategy is articulated. A cross section of Prominent Personalities are invited to share their experiences and views during the seminar.

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