Diddams named Virginia Defense Force commanding general

Col. (Va.) Richard Diddams delivers the keynote address at a Virginia Defense Force Officer Candidate School graduation ceremony Sept. 16, 2023, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Diddams was named the VDF commanding general in an announcement made May 28, 2024, by Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. — Col. (Va.) Richard Diddams has been named the new Virginia Defense Force commanding general, according to an announcement made May 28, 2024, by Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Ring named Diddams as the interim commander April 22 while a search was conducted following the retirement of Brig. Gen. (Va.) Justin P. Carlitti Sr.

“Col. Diddams’ assignment as the commanding general, Virginia Defense Force, follows a highly competitive selection process,” Ring said. “He is uniquely qualified to advance the goals and objectives of the Virginia Defense Force in a manner consistent with the Virginia Defense Force’s 40 years of outstanding service.”

Ring also commended Carlitti for his extended and distinguished service as the Commanding General for the last 10 years.

Read the full VDF interim commander announcement at https://ngpa.us/29332.

In his civilian career, Diddams is the current Vice Provost of Engineering and Technology & Professional Engagement and Interim Dean School of Business at Liberty University. He has held numerous leadership positions in industry including president and CEO of a mid-size engineering firm operating in 17 states and overseas.  He served as a Marine Infantry officer for more than 20 years where he led Marines in peacetime and combat, and he also served on the Joint Staff and at the White House as a senior advisor on counterterrorism. 

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 National Guard and Virginia Air National Guard.