FORT BARFOOT, Va. — Virginia Defense Force personnel volunteered their time to conduct classroom and hands-on training focused on civil support security and communication capabilities during a multi-day unit training assembly Nov. 3-5, 2023, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia.
“You as volunteer members of the Virginia Defense Force are a very important part of our commonwealth’s fabric,” said Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia during a troop visit on the final day of training. “You are part of Virginia’s constitutional force who raised your right hand freely to join this organized militia to be always ready, always there in the event the commonwealth calls you.”
Ring said that over his three decades of service in the Virginia National Guard he has seen the tremendous value and capabilities that the men and women of the VDF provide to the Virginia National Guard’s mission.
“It starts first and foremost with each of you individually and the fact that you bring your spirit of volunteerism to come forward and willingness to serve, not on behalf of yourself, not on behalf of your teammates, but serving on behalf of your communities when they may be at a point in need.”
Ring expressed his appreciation for VDF service.
“Thank you for who you are, and please extend that thanks to your families and loved ones as you take time away from what would have normally been a free weekend,” Ring said. “The fact that each and every one of you volunteered to freely be here to improve your skills as a member of the VDF is of great value and an important part of the resilience of the great state of Virginia.”
Classroom training during the weekend included instruction on access control procedures, tabletop exercises focused on a severe weather events and administration of the Federal Communication Commission amateur radio license exam. Hands on training included inspection of communication trailers, traffic control practical exercise and participation in a multi-state cyber competition.
“The intent for the weekend was to conduct fundamental civil support security and communication training, along with two FEMA tabletop exercises intended to expand workable knowledge of the state active duty cycle,” explained Capt. (Va.) Michael Perini, deputy G3 operations officer.
VDF personnel assigned to the 11th Signal Battalion took the FCC amateur radio license exam during the MUTA. The VDF Radio Group administered the exam, and 10 VDF members passed and qualified for the entry-level Technician class license and are now authorized to wear the “Technician” tab on their uniform.
“The FCC Technician License exam covers basic regulations, operating practices and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications,” Perini explained. “HF knowledge and application is a component of communication support provided to the Virginia National Guard.”
Another 20 troops passed traffic control training focused on the direct purpose of applying traffic control hand signals and knowledge of traffic control standards in a simulated environment, Perini said.
Twenty-five VDF personnel attended two tabletop exercises replicating both winter storm and hurricane events.
“These exercises are intended to provide an interface for VDF personnel to test and augment their ability to respond to natural disasters,” Perini explained. “Participants identify the appropriate response and coordinate issues that may arise during the variety of methods and decisions necessary to resolve that complexity of issues. It further provides a holistic understanding of the state active duty cycle in which the VDF supports the VNG.”
VDF personnel assigned to the 31st Cyber Battalion took part in the State Guard Association Capture the Flag Cyber Exercise during the MUTA. The exercise was open to all Title 32 service members and senior military colleges, and teams of two to four people engaged in escalating problem-solving tasks designed to hone their skills in defensive cyber operations.
Fifteen different states and 29 different teams took part in the exercise.
“The training value of the Capture The Flag competition is significant,” said Lt. Col. (Va.) John Congson, commander of the 31st Cyber Battalion. “While we are focused on defensive cyber operations in the form of cybersecurity assessments, the skills used in CTF competitions showcase the types of cyber tradecraft required to understand adversary threat vectors so we can better help the commonwealth defend against them.”
Congson said that tasks such as log analysis showcase the VDF cyber specialists understanding of network events and are key in conducting cybersecurity assessments.
Read more about the SGAUS cyber exercise at https://ngpa.us/27691.
The VDF is authorized by Title 44 of the Code of 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 National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard. Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and are only paid when called to duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.
Photos: VDF conducts multi-day unit training assembly
~ Photos on Flickr at https://ngpa.us/27692.
Photos: AG visits VDF training at Fort Barfoot
~ Photos on Flickr at https://ngpa.us/27693.
Photos: Ceremony marks VDF awards, promotion
~ Photos on Flickr at https://ngpa.us/27694.