Before the establishment of the NDC, Kenyan Officers trained abroad. In line with national needs for self-reliance in training, coupled with a number of factors chiefly:
• The ever increasing cost of training abroad.
• Limited vacancies offered.
• The need to tailor a curriculum that fits the reality on the ground and the region, the Defence Council recommended to the President and Commander-In-Chief the importance and need to establish our own College.
Following this recommendation, the National Defence College was established in 1992. Lt Gen D R C Tonje was appointed the first Commandant Designate and together with a planning staff composed of Maj Gen H W NJoroge CBS DCO, Maj Gen G N O Agoi CBS, Maj Gen J K T Aruasa CBS, Maj Gen B O C Onyango CBS, Brig G K Seii, Col J Nguru, Col J P Gichuhi, Col J F Waweru OGW, Col T L Wanambisi, Lt Col J Kianga, Lt Col O N Lwoyelo OGW, Lt Col S K Kitoo and LT Col J N Kithinji embarked on the task of planning and developing the curriculum.
Due to the complexity of developing the right curriculum, the first course did not start until July 1997. Since then the College has successfully run courses annually.
The course size and composition has increased steadily over the years to include participants from not only African countries but also from Asia and Europe. Over the years, the following countries have contributed participants to the NDC course;United Republic of Tanzanian, Uganda, South African, Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Botswana, German, Egypt, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Burundi, Namibia, Sudan, South Sudan and most recently Togo.
In May 2000 the College moved to a new complex within Karen area. The complex has good facilities and the right environment to match the standards required for a course of this kind. This, coupled with the continued support and direction from the Government, has enabled the college to increase its training capacity.
The College was accredited to the University of Nairobi in 2002 to offer Diploma and Masters of Arts degree in International Studies as part of the College curriculum to improve on the quality of the knowledge acquired by participants.