Thursday, June 11, 2009

More from Virginia

The following is extracted directly from the Virginia Defense Force web site. Thanks to Maccabee.

The Virginia Defense Force (VDF) is the Commonwealth's military reserve. The force is governed by the military laws of Virginia and managed by the Virginia Department of Military Affairs. The chain of command for the force consists of the Governor of Virginia (Commander-in-Chief), Adjutant General of Virginia, and Commanding General of the Virginia Defense Force.

(Code of Virginia 44-54.4)

The Virginia State Defense Force with a targeted membership of at least 1,200 shall be organized within and subject to the control of the Department of Military Affairs.

When called to state active duty, the mission of the Virginia State Defense Force shall be to

  • provide for an adequately trained organized reserve militia to assume control of Virginia National Guard facilities and to secure any federal and state property left in place in the event of the mobilization of the Virginia National Guard

  • assist in the mobilization of the Virginia National Guard

  • support the Virginia National Guard in providing family assistance to military dependents within the Commonwealth in the event of the mobilization of the National Guard

  • provide a military force to respond to the call of the Governor in those circumstances described in § 44-75.1

Please note that the relevant legislation calls for a minimum of 1200 members. Note that no reference is made to the VDF being subject to call up or command by federal authorities. The VDF appears to be largely oriented towards providing a training cadre to supplant the Virginia National Guard in the event the Guard is federalized.

Recruits Needed:

If you are looking for a way to enhance your current job skills, learn a new skill or give back to your local community, the Virginia Defense Force (VDF) is currently recruiting volunteers to fill a variety of service needs. Virginia residents with experience or education in the following areas are invited to apply: legal, medical, law enforcement, communications, chaplaincy, logistical/supply, administrative, and other areas.

Membership in the VDF is open to Virginia residents with or without prior military service, ages 16 to 65. Members must have a valid social security number and no felony convictions.

For additional recruiting information, contact VDF Division Headquarters at 804.228.7018 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays or email LT. Henry Howells (

Frequenty Asked Questions:

What are the eligibility requirements for membership in the Virginia Defense Force?

· United States citizens
· A valid Social Security number
· Age 16 to 65 (Minors require written consent of parent or legal guardian.)
· Physical ability to perform in any assigned billet
· No felony convictions
· Good moral character

Are members of the Virginia Defense Force armed?

The Code of Virginia states that "members of the Virginia State Defense Force shall not be armed with firearms during the performance of training duty or state active duty, except under circumstances and in instances authorized by the Governor." (§ 44.54.12)

Are members of the Virginia Defense Force paid?

Members receive pay only while on active duty authorized by the Governor. Pay rates are based on the U.S. Department of Defense's military pay scale and members' rank. Members are not paid for monthly drills or annual field training exercises.

How long are enlistments in the Virginia Defense Force?

Membership in the Virginia Defense Force is voluntary and members may request discharge at any time.

How are ranks assigned to new members of the Virginia Defense Force?

New members of the Virginia Defense Force with prior federal service may enter the force at the same grade held in federal service, provided a billet of matching grade is vacant at time of appointment or enlistment. New members without prior federal service shall be enlisted. New members with certain professional occupations (doctors, lawyers, nurses and pilots) may join the force as commissioned officers if assigned to a billet matching their civilian occupations.

Are members of the Virginia Defense Force required to wear uniforms?

The Code of Virginia requires the force to be uniformed, conforming to standards of dress and appearance prescribed by the Adjutant General of Virginia. The uniform for the Virginia Defense Force is a modified version of the United States Army's legacy Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) which conforms to state specific requirements contained in National Guard Bureau Regulation 10-4. (§ 44.54.9)

What are the medical requirements for membership in the Virginia Defense Force?

While the Virginia Defense Force does not require formal physical testing or training, members must be physically able to perform assigned duties.

Is my job protected if I am ordered to state active duty with the Virginia Defense Force?

The Code of Virginia provides employment protections for members of the Virginia Defense Force and the Virginia National Guard. (§ 44.9

Note that the standards for enlistment more nearly reflect and in some respects exceed the federal definition of militia as defined in the US Code. There is clearly no expectation that VDF personnel will serve under the command of federal armed forces. Aside from the website, I have not as yet dound any other evidence of attempts to recruit to the VDF. The VDF appears to be composed of 3 brigades (infantry?), an aviation battallion, a riverine detachment tasked with domestic maritime search and rescue, a military police company, and a command formation.

Finally, note that VDF personnel are not authorized to be armed except at the orders and discretion of the Commenwealth Governor.

Sharp Cheddar

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