FAIRFAX, Va. — Members of the Virginia Defense Force’s Fairfax-based 31st Cyber Battalion, 1st Regiment received official notification Dec. 2, 2022, they successfully completed a validation exercise administered by the Fort Belvoir-based 91st Cyber Brigade and Fairfax-based Information Operations Support Center. The validated personnel are now eligible for participation in cybersecurity missions in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Once again, the Virginia Defense Force demonstrates why they are an invaluable element of the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Department of Military Affairs team along with the Virginia Army National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “VDF personnel bring extensive civilian skills and expertise in a variety of domains to help augment the capabilities the VNG brings to help our fellow Virginians. In this case, they posses significant cybersecurity credentials validated by the 91st Cyber Brigade and Information Operations Support Center to ensure they are 100 percent good to go to assist with cyber defense mission support requested by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is also important to remember VDF personnel volunteer their time for training, so we owe a special thanks to them, their families and employers.”
The hands-on portion of the exercise was conducted Nov. 6, 2022, in Fairfax using the 91st’s ShadowNet virtual training environment.
“The volunteers from the Virginia Defense Force bring a rich experience from past military and civilian service and current cyber technical experience to assist the commonwealth,” explained Col. Rusty McGuire, commander of the 91st Cyber Brigade. “These additional validated cyber teams will ensure more resilient networks across the commonwealth that are better prepared to defend against bad actors who seek to exploit our networks.”
VDF cyber specialists are recruited based on their existing experience and qualifications in the cybersecurity profession, and VDF service gives them an opportunity to put those skills to work to serve their fellow Virginians. The validation by the 91st and IOSC confirms their ability to properly support and execute state missions and augment existing Virginia Army and Air National Guard cyber personnel.
“The VDF personnel were highly motivated during the validation exercise and showed up with the proper knowledge and skills,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 William Bayse, the 91st’s subject matter expert for the exercise from the brigade S3 operations section. “The additional validated personnel increases capabilities which enables enhancement of cybersecurity readiness for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The VDF personnel will receive training certificates to represent their successful validation and qualification.
Bayse acknowledged the critical support of the 91st’s ShadowNet Team who made “special efforts to deliver a top-notch technical solution on short notice which provided a realistic, modernized training environment representative of a network which the analysts would encounter on a real mission.”