Virginia Defense Force; localities may appropriate money, etc., for Force. (HB559)

Introduced By

Del. Rich Anderson (R-Woodbridge)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Defense Force. Authorizes a locality to appropriate such sums of money and real and personal property as it may deem proper to the Virginia Defense Force, when that organization is maintained within the limits of the locality. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/06/2014Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/14 14101643D
01/06/2014Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety
01/10/2014Assigned MPPS sub: Subcommittee #3
01/20/2014Subcommittee recommends reporting (8-Y 0-N)
01/24/2014Reported from Militia, Police and Public Safety (21-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/27/2014Read first time
01/28/2014Read second time and engrossed
01/29/2014Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (99-Y 0-N)
01/29/2014VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2014Constitutional reading dispensed
01/30/2014Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
02/10/2014Reported from General Laws and Technology (15-Y 0-N)
02/11/2014Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)
02/12/2014Read third time
02/12/2014Passed Senate (39-Y 0-N)
02/17/2014Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB559ER)
02/17/2014Signed by Speaker
02/19/2014Signed by President
02/27/2014G Approved by Governor-Chapter 30 (effective 7/1/14)
02/27/2014G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0030)


Old Redneck writes:

Exactly what is the "Virginia Defense Force" and why do we need to support the VDF with special legislation?

Sounds to me as though this does nothing but encourage a bunch of overweight clowns dressed in camouflage to run around the woods playing soldier at our expense.

Notice there are other pending bills granting VDF members special tax treatment for their private vehicles that are used in their "official duties." What "official duties" does the VDF perform . . . beer run??

R. Longmire writes:

Among other official duties, the VDF has mission taskings to man evacuation shelters on state property, to provide High Frequency Radio Command Posts for the Department of Emergency Services. VDF personnel train at their own expense (that is, their time of service to the Commonwealth is UNPAID.) Defense Force personnel, when activated to State Active Duty are then paid as are National Guard troops.

Several Corps and sections of the VDF have attained interoperability status with the Virginia Army National Guard. Defense Force 'official duties' are written into National Guard operations orders.

In the last several years there has not been a domestic National Guard deployment for an emergency in Virginia that did not include VDF personnel. Sometime 10% or 12% of the deployed soldiers on State Active Duty have been VDF personnel.

For deployment status VDF personnel must meet physical height/weight as do National Guard troops.

If the VDF troops were to be paid for their training time the annual cost to the Commonwealth would exceed $1,000,000.00 per budget year (as of eight years ago, I do not have the current data at hand, it is likely higher.) The VDF budget is always a small fraction of the return the Commonwealth receives.

This is very similar to the services Volunteer Fire Fighters. Many communities in Virginia could not have fire fighters if they had to pay for them. But many communities maintain buildings and contribute to fire trucks, etc. Very few of the 100 counties and independent cities in Virginia have a National Guard armory. This bill enables one way for localities to be more involved in civil defense in the local community. I doubt anyone is going to build buildings for the VDF, but often there are surplus buildings or portions of public buildings that are under used.

As for running around in the woods, VDF missions are administrative, involve radio and satellite communications, and disaster relief and the care of displaced persons. The VDF is not armed! Virginia is not worried that Ohio might invade! But responsible leaders in government do have to think about Hurricanes and Civil Defense and FEMA preparedness certifications.