WASHINGTON – In a strategic move to bolster the nation's defense capabilities and address emerging security challenges, the District of Columbia Army National Guard officially activated Delta Company, 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion (LING), during a ceremony at the D.C. Armory Dec. 9.
Maj. Gen. John Andonie, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, underscored the day's significance, saying, “Events like this do not happen every day. It is a rare occasion when a state, territory, or district activates a unit.”
This new addition under the 74th Troop Command, which is synonymous with high-visibility missions, including the COVID-19 mission, First Amendment demonstrations and Presidential Inaugurations, will contribute to national security by providing intelligence and linguistic support to all Army echelons. The activation comes amid a rapidly changing threat landscape, marked by technological advancements and requiring a more agile and adaptable intelligence response.
“The mission of the battalion has evolved to address the dynamic environment we now find ourselves in,” said 1st Lt John Ibrahim, D Co, 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion commander. “While our company mission of providing intelligence and linguist support remains the same, we've shifted focus to emphasize integrated technological advancements and large-scale combat operations.”
Delta Company comprises highly trained and skilled personnel, enhancing the D.C. Guard’s multi-domain capabilities by providing intelligence and language proficiencies not found in standard U.S. Army units. The unique skillsets and robust training requirements are critical for supporting Army operations.
“Linguists are very hard to find in some places of our country, but not in D.C.,” said Andonie. “We are in one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., if not the world. It is that diversity that will allow us to find the individuals to serve in this unit and provide the Army with the capability it needs for the wartime mission.”
Recruiting additional Soldiers for the unit will involve traditional and digital channels while leveraging existing networks within the intelligence community in D.C., engaging in local community outreach events, and collaborating with educational institutions. Prospective recruits can pursue a role as human intelligence collectors and linguists. The unit also has career opportunities for Officers and Warrant Officers. The activation provides a unique pathway for individuals interested in contributing to national security through diverse intelligence roles, broadening the appeal and scope of the D.C. National Guard's recruitment efforts.
While this element is new to the D.C. Guard, it brings a wealth of expertise. The unit was previously part of the Massachusetts Army National Guard and earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for efforts in Operation Iraqi Freedom leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein. During their deployment to Kosovo, the unit was responsible for multiple multinational intelligence collection teams.
“What fills me with the most pride is the unwavering dedication demonstrated by my Soldiers towards this organization,” Ibrahim said. “The transition from Massachusetts to D.C. presented unexpected challenges for many, yet their resilience and commitment to the unit have truly showcased the exceptional character of these individuals.”
By integrating these capabilities, the D.C. National Guard can better protect the nation and its residents, ensuring a comprehensive and adaptable approach to safeguarding national security.