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 communications, 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.
Domestic Response Support in 2023
When the VNG mobilized for domestic response operations in a state active duty status, the VDF was right there to provide support capabilities to help ensure mission success.
In July when the VNG mobilized Soldiers and Airmen to assist the Texas Military Department and Operation Lone Star border security operation, members of the VDF provided administrative and logistical support to get the troops ready for the mission. View photos of VDF support on Flickr at https://ngpa.us/2796.
In September, the VNG staged approximately 35 Soldiers with tactical trucks capable of high water transportation at VNG facilities in the Hampton Roads area in order to support the response to impacts of Tropical Storm Ophelia, and the VDF provided administrative and public information support.
In November, the VDF provided logistics distribution, administrative and public information support when the VNG deployed ground and aerial support to the Department of Forestry to help fight wildfires at multiple locations across the state. View photos of VDF support at https://ngpa.us/27972.
Traffic Management, Access Control and Professional Services in 2023
Members of the VDF volunteered their time to help make sure multiple events ran smoothly and provided chaplain, medical and legal support to the VNG.
The VDF provided traffic management and access control assistance for multiple events including the Fort Barfoot redesignation ceremony in March, the Adjutant General change of command ceremony in June at Defense Supply Center Richmond, and for Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at the Virginia War Memorial. View photos of VDF support to Fort Barfoot redesignation ceremony on Flickr at https://ngpa.us/27967.
VDF chaplains supported the 2023 summer annual training season to conduct Sunday services at the Fort Barfoot Bulla Chapel in order to provide religious support to Soldiers conducting training on the installation. The annual training schedule of services included 16 dates between May 14 and August 27.
Members of the VDF assigned to the Medical Services Section, Support Operations Group assisted with instruction at the Virginia Army National Guard 68W combat medic recertification course in August at Fort Barfoot, Virginia.
VDF lawyers provided legal support at VNG Soldier Readiness Processing events as well as legal advice to VDF senior leaders and legal services to fellow VDF members.
Read the full VDF 2023 Year in Review at https://ngpa.us/28088.
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.
Read the latest news about the VDF on the Virginia National Guard news web site.