The Virginia Defense Force (VDF) recently participated in a large-scale training exercise named “Highland Guardian 23,” aimed at honing their operational readiness in response to severe weather or statewide emergencies. This exercise was a critical test of the VDF’s capabilities, particularly focusing on communications and access control, vital elements in managing crises effectively. Participants engaged in a range of activities designed to reinforce their skills in operations center augmentation and the utilization of systems essential for maintaining a common operating picture. This approach was demonstrated through a simulated severe winter storm scenario, allowing the VDF to practice supporting the Virginia National Guard’s integral role within the state’s multi-agency response team. The training, which took place in Richmond, was multifaceted, encompassing cyber security awareness and practical exercises in access control, including vehicle and personnel searches. The exercise also featured a simulated joint operations center, providing a realistic environment for operations center augmentation training.
The significance of “Highland Guardian 23” extends beyond just tactical training; it underscores the importance of having a robust emergency communication network. In times of severe weather or statewide emergencies, such a network is indispensable for the National Guard to effectively communicate with its units across Virginia. This capability is crucial for coordinating efforts with local authorities and providing timely assistance to Virginians in need. By enabling swift and efficient communication, the National Guard can mobilize resources, disseminate critical information, and execute rescue and relief operations with greater precision and speed. Exercises like Highland Guardian 23 not only prepare the Virginia Defense Force for real-world scenarios but also ensure that they can maintain seamless communication under challenging conditions, thereby enhancing their ability to serve and protect the community during crises.
Members of the Virginia Defense Force conduct the Highland Guardian 23 statewide readiness exercise Oct. 14, 2023, in Richmond, Virginia. The exercise tested the VDF’s communications and access control capabilities as well as provided training opportunities on operations center augmentation and systems used to maintain common operating picture. The exercise simulated a severe winter storm and how the VDF would support the Virginia National Guard’s role as a member of the state multi-agency response team. Training in Richmond included cyber security awareness, hands-on training for access control for vehicle and personnel searches and operations center augmentation as the simulated joint operations center for the exercise.
Source: Virginia Defense Force