President Uhuru Kenyatta has advised the newly commissioned Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officers to strictly adhere to their professional ethos as they discharge their constitutional mandate of safeguarding Kenya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President particularly tasked the officers joining KDF with specialized skills and unique professional competencies to uphold professionalism in addition to being faithful and true to their oath of allegiance. “You are not just simply warriors at arms but the unstinting personification of our national values,” President Kenyatta said, noting that Kenyans have bestowed their trust in KDF at a time when global as well as regional defence and security threats are on the rise. President Kenyatta spoke on Friday during the commissioning parade of graduating officer cadets that included general service officers, specialists and special duty officers at Kenya Military Academy in Lanet, Nakuru County. The Head of State expressed satisfaction that the Kenyan military has undergone the requisite transformation to cope with emerging security challenges and demands. He singled out the enhanced training of KDF officers as one of the areas that have been perfected to safeguard the country from external aggression as well as contribute to regional, continental and global peace. “As we continue to revitalize and transform our key institutions within the defence and security sector, I note with satisfaction that we are ahead of the curve in terms of anticipating and meeting the demands of the contemporary operating environment. “This is the reason why the KDF lays a strong emphasis on bringing on board and enhancing specialized technical skills and professional competencies,” the President said. In the quest to continue growing the capacity of the defence forces, President Kenyatta said his administration had established the National Defence University-Kenya (NDU-K) as an institution of higher learning and national strategic importance in line with Section 24 of the Universities Act, 2012. “This marked a transition milestone for training and education in the field of defence and security personnel,” President Kenyatta said pointing out that the NDU-K is intended to enhance scholarly capacity for strategic thinking in pursuit of Kenya’s national interests. The Head of State said NDU-K is an outcome of sustained efforts to redefine security training and education in Kenya with a view of embracing a holistic approach to defence and security. “And, in particular one which is strongly hinged on finding solutions to defence and security challenges via research, innovation and focused academic discourse. “Therefore, we expect NDU-K to contribute to the development of a critical mass of leaders and commanders at various levels of the defence and security apparatus nationally, regionally and internationally,” he said. Noting that some of the graduating cadets come from the neighbouring countries, President Kenyatta commended the international and regional cooperation arrangement that allows the exchange of cadets amongst the East African countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. “This arrangement is instrumental in strengthening regional collaboration and cooperation, and it ultimately enhances the promotion of Pan-Africanism,” President Kenyatta said.