VDF continues to test communications capabilities

A member of the Virginia Defense Force tests a communications system during a statewide exercise June 3, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. (Virginia Defense Force photo by 2nd Lt. (Va.) Michael Porter)

RICHMOND, Va. — Members of the Virginia Defense Force continued to test their communications capabilities June 3, 2017, at locations across the state. In addition to exercising their internal networks, they also took part in the State Defense Force “United Resolve 17-1” where they established communications with the New York State Guard.

According to Lt. Col. (Va.) Rick Murdock, the VDF communications officer, the exercise was part of a new “White Star” initiative where the VDF will test the systems each month to keep them in top working order.

“While the initial exercise revealed some shortcomings, these factors will be the basis for ongoing training and refitting to ensure that VDF communication assets are ready to assist as needed in support of the VANG and the Commonwealth.” he said.

The VDF also worked with the Virginia National Guard joint communications section to install a state-of-the-art high frequency radio system in the communications room at the Guard’s joint operations center in Sandston.

“This radio will be used by VDF personnel in conducting regular communication exercises helping to ensure that VDF communication assets are ready for state active duty,” he said. “Adding this radio to the existing Guard communication assets also increases the capability of the the VDF’s Joint Operations Center Augmentation Resource team to complete its assigned command, control and communications mission with deployed units in times of state active duty.”

Murdock explained that United Resolve is an ongoing event where various state defense forces can exercise their communication skills which would be needed in times of emergency. In addition to working with the New York State Guard, the VDF also communicated with the Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

He said there is ongoing planning to make the exercise more relevant to the participating states and to continue to build viable nets across the United States. The next United Resolve exercise is slated to be held on Aug. 5, 2017.

The Virginia Defense Force 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 Va. 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 state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.

VDF members bring a wide variety of military, law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical services, network security, radio communications and other civilian skills to mission sets including emergency communications support, operations center augmentation, resource management, operational planning, incident management assistance, cyber defense, access control and public information.

Learn more about the VDF by visiting http://vdf.virginia.gov.