FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Virginia National Guard senior leaders and Soldiers assigned to the 91st Cyber Brigade joined distinguished guests and former members of the unit at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 91st’s new headquarters building Sept. 16, 2022, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Jason Pak, Deputy Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, Col. Rusty McGuire, commander of the 91st Cyber Brigade, and E. Scott Newcomb, construction project manager, cut the ribbon to officially open the new building.
“This is a special day,” Williams said, and he commended the extraordinary team effort leading up to the ribbon cutting.
The building went through the funding, design and construction process in record time due to a joint effort of the VNG Facilities and Construction Management Office, the National Guard Bureau G9 Installation Management Office staff and Fort Belvoir leadership. It reflects the VNG’s commitment to staying on the cutting edge of cyber capabilities and took a concept and turned it into a tremendous asset, Williams said.
“We are in a contested environment, and this facility will immediately be put to task,” Williams said. “Our cyber warriors know it, and now it is time to get to work and get at the harder things to make sure our military and our nation are protected, and we have cyber supremacy.”
The more than 41,000 square foot facility was constructed at a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standard and is currently LEED Certifiable. It serves as an administration and operations building with the required secured spaces and network access allowing the Soldiers of the 91st to integrate into the modern operational environment and rapidly respond to support mission partners.
“It is incredibly important what you bring to the fight,” Pak said. “It is so vital and critical, and not just the mission here in the commonwealth, but in the country. The cyber warriors of the 91st are at the tip of the spear.”
McGuire reflected on the transformation of the 91st Troop Command to create the National Guard’s first cyber brigade, and he thanked the team of people in attendance who had the vision to create the organization. The history of the 91st dates back to the 1970s when the 123rd Data Processing Unit provided main frame computer support for National Guard Bureau.
“Virginia had cyber before anyone knew what cyber was,” McGuire said.
As the 123rd DPU grew beyond their NGB support mission, they began to deploy cyber capabilities across the globe and consistently had formations on federal active duty up until the creation of the cyber brigade. The 123rd Cyber Protection Battalion, one of the brigade’s five battalions, carries on the lineage of the 123rd DPU.
The creation of the 91st gave the Department of Defense cyber enterprise great capabilities than they would have had if the brigade was not created, he said.
McGuire said two of battalions of the 91st were currently on mission, and at least one battalion was on federal duty since the brigade was activated in 2017.
He also commended the Soldiers of the 91st for their dedicated service and the skills and experience they bring from their full time jobs in the federal government and civilian information technology communities. He also pointed out they don’t do it for the money, but because of sense of duty and they are ready to mobilize when needed.
“The homeland is no longer a sanctuary, but because of the people who will work in this building, we are better protected,” McGuire said. “What we have built here will last long after we have all retired, and Virginia and our nation will benefit.”
Display areas in the new facility help tell the story of the growth of VNG cyber capabilities since the 1970s, and the ceremony took place the day before the fifth anniversary of the activation of the 91st Cyber Brigade.
Read more about the activation of the 91st Cyber Brigade on va.ng.mil at https://ngpa.us/21952
and more at https://ngpa.us/21953