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Dr. Rich Diddams named new Commanding General of the Virginia Defense Force

Photo courtesy of Virginia Defense Force

Liberty University’s Vice Provost of Engineering and Technology & Professional Engagement, Dr. Rich Diddams, has been appointed Commanding General of the Virginia Defense Force (VDF), as announced on Tuesday by Major General James W. Ring, Adjutant General of Virginia. With this assignment, Dr. Diddams is promoted from Colonel (VA) to Brigadier General (VA) effective June 1.

“Rich Diddams is an exemplary and uniquely qualified leader who brings extensive experience from his background in military service, entrepreneurship, and education,” said Liberty Provost and Chief Academic Officer Scott Hicks. “Liberty University is proud of Dr. Diddams for this well-deserved honor and new assignment. The Virginia Defense Force could not find a more competent and capable man, whose faith is deeply rooted in Christ, to lead our reserve military forces.”

“We congratulate Dr. Diddams on his promotion and thank God for the high honor of serving as Commanding General of the Virginia Defense Force,” said Liberty President Dondi Costin. “Rich Diddams’ devotion to Christ, his family, our Liberty students, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and our nation is truly remarkable. Most importantly, he has modeled for our students, faculty, and staff what it means to be a Champion for Christ. I urge every freedom-loving Virginian to pray for General Diddams as he assumes this position of great responsibility.”

Diddams served as a Marine Infantry Officer for over 20 years in peacetime and combat. He also served on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon and as a White House senior advisor on counterterrorism. He was appointed interim commander of the VDF on April 22, at the retirement of Brig. Gen. (Va.) Justin P. Carlitti Sr., who served in this post for 10 years.

Diddams has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career, including president and CEO of a mid-size engineering firm operating in 17 states and overseas. He has over 15 years’ experience in the engineering and construction industry with projects on over 400 bases, totaling more than $4 billion in construction. He joined the Liberty University faculty in 2017, and last year he expanded his role as Vice Provost of Engineering and Technology & Professional Engagement by serving as Interim Dean for the School of Business.

The VDF was formally established on April 18, 1984, as an all-volunteer reserve to the Virginia National Guard (VNG) and all Guard domestic operations. Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and community support and can be called into active duty by authorization from the Governor of Virginia. The VDF focuses on supporting VNG with operations center augmentation, interoperable communications, agency liaison, cyber defense, logistics, medical, chaplain, legal, and public information capabilities.

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