Virginia Defense Force

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The VDF is authorized by Title 44 of the Code of the Virginia as the all-volunteer reserve of the Virginia National Guard, and it serves as a force multiplier integrated into all Guard domestic operations. The VDF reports to the Adjutant General of Virginia as part of the Virginia Department of Military Affairs along with the Virginia Army and Air National Guard.

Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.

In recent months when severe weather struck the commonwealth, VDF personnel worked in a number of different capacities. In the Virginia Emergency Operations Center, they assisted with processing requests for support in Emergency Support Function 16, the Guard’s response cell in the VEOC. They also assisted with mission tracking in the Guard’s Joint Operations Center and helped with public information support as well as providing interoperable communications and incident management assistance to units in the field.

During domestic operations, the Virginia National Guard receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist the Virginia State Police and other state and local emergency service organizations as part of the state emergency response team.
In addition to current mission sets like interoperable communications, operations center augmentation, incident management assistance and public information, the VDF will train personnel for more general support to civil authorities and emergency response capabilities.
The VDF is also growing cyber defense capabilities and has assisted with numerous Virginia National Guard network security assessments for Virginia localities in a state active duty status.

The VDF plans to conduct four three-day training assemblies at Fort Pickett this year that will focus on professional military education, small unit leadership and headquarters staff operations as well as refresher training on communications equipment and initial entry training for new members. Operational readiness evaluations will also be conducted to ensure personnel and equipment are ready for possible state active duty response missions.

In the last 18 months, members of the VDF volunteered in their communities assisting organizers and law enforcement at events like the Virginia War Memorial during Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the Winchester Apple Blossom Festival and the World War II Commemoration in Richmond.
The Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force trace the heritage and traditions of citizen service to the founding of Jamestown when Capt. John Smith organized the colonists for defense. Since the colony’s founding on May 14, 1607, there has not been a day since without a military presence in Virginia to protect citizens at home and defend freedom overseas.

Virginia Defense Force News

A Certificate of Recognition signed by Governor Ralph Northam recognizes the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force support to Virginia's COVID-19 response.
Governor's certificate recognizes VNG, VDF COVID-19 response support
Oct. 15, 2021
A Certificate of Recognition signed by Governor Ralph Northam recognizes the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force support to Virginia's COVID-19 response.

Capt. (Va.) Deb O'Neil-Lewis, a chaplain in the Virginia Defense Force, conducts a Sunday service August 8, 2021, at Bulla Chapel at Fort Pickett, Virginia. VDF chaplains volunteered their time through the summer to provide religious support for units training at Fort Pickett. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Holden Russell)
VDF chaplains provide support at Fort Pickett chapel
Sept. 28, 2021
Virginia Defense Force chaplains volunteered their time to conduct Sunday services at the Maneuver Training Center Fort Pickett Bulla Chapel throughout the Summer of 2021 in order to provide religious support to Soldiers conducting training on the installation.

Army Chaplain Corps crest
Online training provides valuable collaborative experience for VNG chaplains
July 14, 2021
Religious support personnel from all components of the Virginia National Guard participated in a virtual training event June 5, 2021, designed to not only provide required training but also to increase communication and improve collaboration between the services. “It was a really good mix of Army, Air and Virginia Defense Force, as well as active duty,” said Capt. Will Cochrane, chaplain for the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group. “There was a great joint aspect with different elements represented. It was unique to be with them and collaborate. I honestly don’t remember a time when we’ve done that before. Everyone had a piece of the training.”

Virginia Defense Force personnel assigned to the Communication Battalion, Support Operations Group relay message traffic in a Mobile Communication Platform June 5, 2021, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
VDF Communication Battalion conducts readiness exercise
June 16, 2021
The Virginia Defense Force Communication Battalion, Support Operations Group conducted an operational readiness exercise June 5, 2021, at multiple locations across Virginia to validate unit readiness in the event of activation in support of civil authorities.

Virginia Defense Force personnel assigned to the 1st Regiment and Support Operations Group take part in the Highland Guardian field training exercise Nov. 7, 2020, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
VDF conducts statewide response exercise
Dec. 7, 2020
LYNCHBURG, Va. — Members of the Virginia Defense Force conducted the Highland Guardian field training exercise Nov. 7, 2020, at multiple locations across Virginia to test their regional liaison, incident management assistance and interoperable communications support capabilities.