March 10, 2010

Virginia Defense Force Commanders Conference stresses professionalism and mission centered training

By 2nd Lt. Henry Howells
Virginia Defense Force Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia Defense Force held its annual Commanders Conference on March 6-7 at Fort Pickett. About 150 senior officers and NCOs from all regions of the commonwealth attended as division and brigade commanders detailed the direction of the VDF for the upcoming year.

  VDF Commanders Conference

The Virginia Defense Force held its annual Commanders Conference, March 6-7 at Fort Pickett. About 150 senior officers and non-commissioned officers from all regions of the commonwealth attended as division and brigade commanders detailed the direction of the Virginia Defense Force for the upcoming year. (Photo by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs) 

Maj. Gen.  John D. Taylor, VDF Commander, reflected on the gains made in 2009 in recruitment and emphasized the need for continued leadership to “set the standard” for the upcoming year.  He challenged those present to raise, even further, the professionalism of the VDF through National Incident Management Systems training and Military Emergency Management Specialist qualification. 

Brig. Gen., Stephen L. Huxtable, Assistant Adjutant General of Virginia, cited the increased role the VDF plays in the commonwealth given the continued mobilizations of the Virginia National Guard in support of the War on Terror.  Recognizing the “high quality” of VDF personnel, Huxtable reinforced that “NIMS training is critical” and makes the VDF “more relevant.” He also recognized the VDF for its increased professionalism in its alignment of promotion standards with that of the VNG and expressed his appreciation for the VDF support of the VNG during the recent snow storms in the Commonwealth.

Col. Thomas A. Smith, VDF G-3, outlined the resource and skill requirements needed by the VDF in support of its emergency response mission. Specifically, he noted the need to develop three Incident Management Assistance Teams per brigade, as well as two Armory Coordinating Teams. Further, he outlined the communication mission of the VDF between JOC and field teams. Smith reiterated the NIMS training requirements to fulfill the mission.

Brigade commanders presented their plans for achieving the 2010 recruiting goals which include obtaining a year end force of 1,200 personnel with 60% sourced from prior service personnel and 40% sourced from civilian personnel. Other topics covered during the conference included workers compensation processes, emergency operations personnel requirements and training initiatives.

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