​MDDF Supports MDNG COVID-19 Response Efforts

​May 16, 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
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LTC (MD) Michael Behringer with MD National Guardsmen at Dundalk Readiness Center​​​​​​​ 
​In March Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. activated the Maryland National Guard (MDNG) to support the state’s efforts to combat the impact of the Covid-19 virus.  From the outset of this state activation, the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) has been integrated into National Guard operations and called upon to support MDNG efforts to fight this global pandemic.  The MDDF has been relied upon to provide medical, Joint Staff and cyber support to the State of Maryland during this crisis.

In mid-March as the MDNG ramped up to increase the numbers of National Guard troops on State Active Duty, the MDDF was brought in to help with the in-processing at the Dundalk Readiness Center.  “Our job was to make sure that the guard members had the necessary paperwork and then we guided them through a pre-medical screening process,” shared Lt. Col. (MD) Fred Sanford who oversaw the effort.  “This was the first step before the guard members received a series of briefings and were given their respective assignments,” Sanford continued.

Maryland Defense Force personnel have also been activated to support the coordination of the statewide National Guard efforts while being detailed to the MDNG Joint Staff.  “The Joint Staff is the epicenter of Maryland National Guard Covid-19 response activity.  Missions are planned, executed and monitored through the Joint Staff,” Lt. Col. (MD) Sanford continued.  “The MDDF has supplied ongoing Joint Staff support to help the MDNG carry out its important supplemental support for civilian authorities across the state,” Sanford concluded.

The MDDF Cyber Defense Unit has also been very busy.  As a part of Joint Task Force Cyber, MDDF personnel have worked with their counterparts in the MDNG and the Maryland Department of Information Technology to assess hundreds of state IP addresses and websites for vulnerabilities.  The results of these assessments were shared with state officials so that corrective action could be taken.  This initiative was undertaken to make sure that the public could be confident in the information that was being communicated by the governor and various state agencies.  “This has been a great opportunity for our MDDF cyber security experts to play an important role in the protection of statewide cyber assets,” stated Maj. (MD) James Lai who leads the MDDF Cyber Defense Unit.

“I am extremely proud of the work that the MDDF has done to date to support the Maryland National Guard and the State of Maryland during this Covid-19 global pandemic.  However, we are far from being finished with this fight.  The MDDF will continue to carry out our missions and support the state as needed in the months and days ahead,” shared Brig. Gen. (MD) Gregory Juday, commanding general of the MDDF.

The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer militia unit providing competent, supplementary, professional and technical support and soldiers to the Maryland Military Department and the State of Maryland as needed. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 200 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland.