Virginia Defense Force

Visit the official Virginia Defense Force web site at https://vdf.virginia.gov/ The Virginia Defense Force is authorized by Section 44-54.4 of the Code of Virginia as the all-volunteer reserve of the Virginia National Guard, and the VDF serves as a force multiplier integrated into all VNG domestic operations. Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and community support and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia. The VDF’s primary lines of effort are operations center augmentation, interoperable communication, agency liaison and cyber network defense as well as direct support to the VNG with logistics, medical, chaplain, legal and public information capabilities. Current strength is approximately 275, and membership is a cross section of former or retired military, law enforcement, fire and emergency medial services professionals along with a younger generation of Virginians looking to serve the commonwealth in a military-style organization in an emergency response environment. Recent VDF Missions: When the VNG was called to state active duty for a series of winter weather events in January 2022, the VDF quickly responded with operations center augmentation and public information support as well as fielding a logistics distribution capability for the first time. In addition to the VDF placing a highly experienced logistics planner in the VNG’s joint Logistics Operations Center, the distribution team safely travel hundreds of miles to get key supplies and equipment to VNG units staging for possible winter weather response. During VNG domestic response operations in 2021, VDF personnel  augmented the VNG’s Joint Operations Center as well as their coordination cell in the Virginia Emergency Operations Center. The VDF’s 31st Cyber Battalion is staffed by IT professionals with a wide range of industry-recognized certifications. After validation by the VNG’s 91st Cyber Brigade, VDF cyber teams have conducted numerous network vulnerability assessments for Virginia localities. During Virginia’s COVID-19 response, Virginia Defense Force personnel contributed significantly to the operation of the Commonwealth of Virginia Incident Management Team. They served in key leadership positions, supported the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s vaccination efforts, helped track vetting and certification of fixed community vaccination sites, developed survey tools for initial site assessments and collected data to assess vaccination sites. VDF and VNG personnel filled positions in the regional coordination center for each Virginia Department of Emergency Management region, helping to ensure the efficient and productive coordination of the statewide mobile vaccination effort. VDF personnel supported the Situational Awareness Unit at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management in a state active duty status for more than 500 days during the COVID-19 response. All VDF personnel maintain the secondary skill set for access control and traffic management, and VDF personnel have demonstrated their commitment to volunteer service when they provided assistance to VNG departure ceremonies as well as events at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford and the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. Brief history of the VDF: In response to the 1917 federalization of the Virginia National Guard, the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Virginia State Volunteers to support civil authorities. They were renamed the Virginia Volunteers and guarded bridges, waterways, fuel storage areas and public buildings and facilities. The Virginia Volunteers were deactivated in 1921 when the Virginia National Guard returned home from World War I. Following the 1940 Nazi defeat of the French army, Virginia Governor James Hubert Price ordered the establishment of the Virginia Protective Force, which assumed the in-state missions of the Virginia National Guard after it was called to federal service. In 1944, the Virginia General Assembly changed the name of the Virginia Protective Force to the Virginia State Guard, and it was deactivated when the Virginia National Guard returned from federal service in June 1947. The Virginia General Assembly amended the Code of Virginia in 1981 to permit a Virginia State Guard to once again exist during peacetime, and organizational meetings continued for several years. The Virginia State Guard State Headquarters was formally established on April 18, 1984, which is considered the founding date of the modern Virginia Defense Force. The Virginia General Assembly amended the Code of Virginia on March 1, 1986, to change the name of the Virginia State Guard to the Virginia Defense Force.

Virginia Defense Force News

Members of the Virginia Defense Force’s 1st Regiment conduct the Spring Winds 22 training exercise May 14, 2022, in Fairfax, Virginia, to test their incident management assistance, access control and interoperable communications support capabilities.
Virginia Defense Force conducts statewide hurricane readiness exercise
June 1, 2022
Members of the Virginia Defense Force’s 1st Regiment conducted the “Spring Winds 22” training exercise May 14, 2022, at multiple locations across Virginia to test their incident management assistance, access control and interoperable communication support capabilities.

Deputy Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Jason Pak presents Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, with the Governor of Virginia's 415th Birthday of the Virginia National Guard Proclamation May 13, 2022, at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. The VNG traces the heritage and traditions of citizen-service to the 1607 founding of America’s first permanent English colony at Jamestown when Capt. John Smith organized the colonists for defense. There has not been a day since May 14, 1607, without a military presence in Virginia to defend freedom at home and overseas. Read the full proclamation at https://go.usa.gov/xuFbn.
Virginia National Guard celebrates 415th birthday
May 17, 2022
The Virginia National Guard celebrated its 415th birthday May 13, 2022, with a ceremonial cake cutting at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.

Women veterans from all military branches receive pins recognizing their service during the Virginia Women Veterans Week kickoff event March 21, 2022, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Dozens of women veterans were honored with a “Virginia Woman Veterans Lead the Way” pin during the ceremony led by Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, who served in the United States Marine Corps. Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Daniel Gade, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, were also on hand to thank the women for their service. Current members of the Virginia National Guard as well as retirees currently serving in the Virginia Defense Force and Virginia Department of Military Affairs were among the women receiving pins.
Women veterans recognized during ceremony at Virginia War Memorial
April 6, 2022
Women veterans, including former and current members of the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force, received pins recognizing their service during an event March 21, 2022, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. 

Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith, the Virginia Army National Guard command team, led the marching formation of the parade at the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th Governor of Virginia Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia. The formation consisted personnel from the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard and a joint color guard featuring the U.S. and Virginia flags and the organizational colors of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Virginia Defense Force. At previous inaugurations, the organizational colors for the 29th Infantry Division, the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 329th Regional Support Group were included in the marching formation, but all three unit headquarters are currently mobilized on federal active duty.
VNG supports the Inauguration of the 74th Governor of Virginia
Jan. 26, 2022
More than 200 Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force personnel were on duty Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia, supporting the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th Governor of Virginia.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Powhatan-based 180th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group clear trees along a power line route to help with electricity restoration efforts Jan. 8, 2022, in Louisa County, Virginia. After confirmation the power lines on the route were not active, Soldiers used chain saws to clear trees so Rappahannock Electric Cooperative crews could rehang the lines to help restore power in the area. Read more about VNG winter weather response operations at at https://go.usa.gov/xtY3H.
VNG assists with statewide response for series of winter storms
Jan. 26, 2022
The Virginia National Guard staged personnel and equipment for three different winter storms over a two-week period in January 2022 as part of the statewide emergency response.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 (Va.) Jon Ganues provides a mission brief to a Virginia Defense Force Logistics Distribution Team Jan. 17, 2022, at the Virginia National Guard Logistics Operations Center at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Ganues worked directly on the VNG J4 joint logistics section staff, and VDF distribution teams safely drove more 750 miles to deliver supplies and equipment to VNG armories to help prepare for possible winter storm response operations. (Contributed photo)
VDF provides logistics support during VNG winter storm response
Jan. 26, 2022
The Virginia Defense Force fielded new logistics support capabilities during Virginia National Guard winter storm response operations in January 2022, helping make sure VNG units would have all the equipment needed to be successful in their assigned missions.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct pre-mission checks on equipment Jan. 21, 2022, in Portsmouth, Virginia, to prepare for possible winter storm response operations.
Virginia National Guard to stage personnel for possible winter weather response
Jan. 21, 2022
The Virginia National Guard alerted personnel for possible winter storm response operations and plans to stage approximately 45 Soldiers and Airmen Jan. 21, 2022, in key locations along the southern I-95 corridor and Hampton Roads and Eastern Shore areas.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers stage vehicles for possible winter storm response operations Jan. 15, 2022, in Staunton, Virginia.
Virginia National Guard staged, ready for possible winter weather response operations
Jan. 16, 2022
The Virginia National Guard has approximately 75 personnel staged for possible winter storm response operations Jan. 16, 2022, at multiple locations across Virginia.

The Virginia Defense Force commissions three new second lieutenants during a graduation ceremony Dec. 11, 2021, in Manassas, Virginia. Patrick McCaul, Anthony Schienschang and Rob Worthington were promoted after completing the VDF Officer Candidate School program. (Virginia Defense Force photo by SPC (Va.) Eric Badertscher)
VDF Officer Candidate School commissions three new officers
Jan. 11, 2022
The Virginia Defense Force commissioned three new second lieutenants during a graduation ceremony Dec. 11, 2021, in Manassas, Virginia. Officer Candidates Patrick McCaul, Anthony Schienschang and Rob Worthington were promoted after completing the year-long VDF Officer Candidate School program.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Hanover-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire a ceremonial 19-gun salute with M119A3 105mm howitzers at the inauguration of Dr. Ralph Northam as the 73rd Governor of Virginia Jan. 13, 2018, in Richmond, Virginia.
Virginia National Guard to provide support for Governor’s Inauguration
Jan. 10, 2022
More than 200 Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force personnel will be on duty Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia, supporting the inauguration of Glenn Youngkin as the 74th Governor of Virginia.

State and federal elected officials and senior military leaders join families, friends and fellow Soldiers to mark the official start of federal active duty for Task Force Red Dragon Nov. 27, 2021, at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. More than 1,000 Virginia and Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers are mobilizing as Task Force Red Dragon under the command of the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, to provide a security force in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. It is the largest VNG single-unit mobilization since World War II. The Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band provided music for the ceremony, and members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to assist with traffic management and parking. Read more about the TF Red Dragon federal active duty mobilization at go.usa.gov/xFK9K.
Va. National Guard task force begins federal active duty for security mission in Africa
Nov. 27, 2021
State and federal elected officials and senior military leaders joined families, friends and fellow Soldiers to mark the official start of federal active duty for more than 1,000 Virginia and Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers Nov. 27, 2021, at departure ceremonies in Bedford, Virginia, and Lexington, Kentucky.

The 65th annual Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony honors those who served and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces Nov. 11, 2021, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, delivered remarks during the ceremony, and Sgt. Paul Johnson, the Virginia Army National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, led the attendees in the pledge of allegiance. Members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to assist with traffic control and parking for the event. Read the AG’s Veterans Day message at http://go.usa.gov/xeWDr.
Veterans Day observed across Virginia and overseas
Nov. 17, 2021
Virginia National Guard personnel honored the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Armed Forces at ceremonies across Virginia as well as overseas Nov. 11, 2021, in honor of Veterans Day.

Command Sgt. Maj. (Va.) John Clatterbuck, command sergeant major of the Virginia Defense Force Recruit Sustainment Command, calls new members of the VDF to attention as they complete Initial Entry Training Sept. 11, 2021, at Waller Depot in Richmond, Virginia.
New VDF recruits graduate from Initial Entry Training, look forward to serving the commonwealth
Nov. 3, 2021
Ten new members of the Virginia Defense Force marked their completion of Initial Entry Training Sept. 11, 2021, in a graduation ceremony at the VDF Headquarters at Waller Depot in Richmond, Virginia.

Effective Nov. 1, Col. (Va.) Robin Phillips (center) will be reassigned from the VDF operations officer to command 1st Regiment, and Col. (Va.) Donald J. Thornley (left) will be reassigned from the VDF chief of staff to command the Support Operations Group. Col. (Va.) Nicholas Christoff (right)will serve as interim operations officer and chief of staff in addition to his duties on the Virginia National Guard Joint Strategic Engagement Group until the board selects new officers to fill those roles.
AG approves VDF force structure change
Nov. 3, 2021
The Virginia Defense Force will undergo a force structure change in the coming months to provide opportunities to grow capabilities to better support the Virginia National Guard and Commonwealth of Virginia.

Members of the Virginia Defense Force train in a Mobile Communication Platform Oct. 2, 2021, in Richmond, Virginia, during Highland Guardian 21. HG 21 is a statewide readiness exercise to test the VDF’s regional liaison, incident management assistance, access control and interoperable communications support capabilities. The VDF MCP is a 7 1/2 feet by 16 feet trailer equipped with multiple radio systems for voice and data communications. Using an MCP, members of the VDF are able to communicate across a variety of radio spectrums with emergency response and public safety organizations as well as amateur radio operators. Read more about VDF communications capabilities at https://go.usa.gov/xMGzM.
Virginia Defense Force conducts statewide readiness exercise
Oct. 20, 2021
Members of the Virginia Defense Force conducted the Highland Guardian 21 field training exercise Oct. 2, 2021, at multiple locations across Virginia to test their regional liaison, incident management assistance, access control and interoperable communications support capabilities.