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Chief of the National Guard Bureau

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB) is the highest-ranking officer of the United States National Guard[1] and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).[2]

Chief of the
National Guard Bureau
Flag of the National Guard Bureau.svg
Gen Lengyel (2016 4-Star Photo).jpg
Gen Joseph L. Lengyel, USAF

since 3 August 2016
Formation14 February 1908
First holderCOL Erasmus M. Weaver Jr.
DeputyVice Chief of the National Guard Bureau
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is a federally recognized commissioned officer who has served at least 10 years of federally recognized active duty in any of the Reserves of the Army or Air Force,[3] either from the United States Army Reserve, the Army National Guard of the United States, the United States Air Force Reserve or the Air National Guard of the United States. The Chief is nominated for appointment by the President from any eligible National Guard officers holding the rank of major general or above,[4] who also meets the requirements for the position as determined by defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,[4] under the advice and/or recommendation from their respective state governors and their service secretary. The nominee must be confirmed via majority vote from the Senate.[4] The Chief serves a four-year term of office at the pleasure of the President.[4] By statute, the Chief is appointed as a four-star general[4] in the Army or Air Force, serving as a reserve officer on active duty.[4]


In 1908, the United States Army created the Militia Bureau to oversee training and readiness for the National Guard as part of implementing the Militia Act of 1903. From 1908 to 1911, Erasmus M. Weaver Jr. served as head of the Army's Militia Bureau, the first person to hold the position.[5] The National Defense Act of 1920 included a provision that the Chief of the Militia Bureau be a National Guard officer.[6][7][8] In 1921 Pennsylvania National Guard officer George C. Rickards became the first Guardsman to serve as Chief, and he held the post until his 1925 retirement.[9]

In September 1947, the Air National Guard was created, and the positions of Chief the Army Division Chief and Chief of the Air Division were established, with the directors subordinate to the NGB Chief.[10] In 1953, Air National Guard Director Earl T. Ricks served as acting Chief of the National Guard Bureau, making him the first Air Guard officer to hold the chief's position.[11] In the mid-1970s, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau position was upgraded from major general to lieutenant general, and La Vern E. Weber became the first NGB chief to wear three stars.[12]

In 2009, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Craig McKinley was granted the rank of full general, the first bureau chief to hold that rank. The position also became the seventh member of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2012 with third expansion of the Joint Chiefs in the 2012 defense bill signed on 31 December 2011. McKinley was also bureau chief at that time. The sitting Joint Chiefs had opposed the addition of another member, but President Obama promised in his 2008 campaign to do so.[13]

On 30 June 2016, Lieutenant General Joseph L. Lengyel, the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, was confirmed by the United States Senate for appointment as CNGB and promotion to General.[14] He was promoted and completed a transfer of authority ceremony with his predecessor on 2 August.[15]

List of chiefs of the National Guard BureauEdit

Number Name Service From To
1 COL Erasmus M. Weaver, Jr. USA 14 February 1908 14 March 1911
2 BG Robert K. Evans USA 15 March 1911 31 August 1912
3 MG Albert L. Mills USA 1 September 1912 18 September 1916
(Acting) COL George W. McIver USA 18 September 1916 26 October 1916
4 MG William A. Mann USA 26 October 1916 26 November 1917
5 MG Jesse McI. Carter USA 26 November 1917 15 August 1918
(Acting) BG John W. Heavey USA 15 August 1918 5 February 1919
5 MG Jesse McI. Carter USA 5 February 1919 28 June 1921
6 MG George C. Rickards USA 29 June 1921 28 June 1925
7 MG Creed C. Hammond USA 29 June 1925 28 June 1929
(Acting) COL Ernest R. Redmond USA 29 June 1929 30 September 1929
8 MG William G. Everson USA 1 October 1929 30 November 1931
9 MG George E. Leach USA 1 December 1931 30 November 1935
(Acting) COL Herold J. Weiler USA 1 December 1935 16 January 1936
(Acting) COL John F. Williams USA 17 January 1936 30 January 1936
10 MG Albert H. Blanding USA 31 January 1936 30 January 1940
11 MG John F. Williams USA 31 January 1940 30 January 1944
(Acting) MG John F. Williams USA 31 January 1944 31 January 1946
12 MG Butler B. Miltonberger USA 1 February 1946 29 September 1947
13 MG Kenneth F. Cramer USA 30 September 1947 4 September 1950
(Acting) MG Raymond H. Fleming USA 5 September 1950 13 August 1951
14 MG Raymond H. Fleming USA 14 August 1951 15 February 1953
(Acting) Maj Gen Earl T. Ricks USAF 16 February 1953 21 June 1953
15 MG Edgar C. Erickson USA 22 June 1953 31 May 1959
(Acting) Maj Gen Winston P. Wilson USAF 1 June 1959 19 July 1959
16 MG Donald W. McGowan USA 20 July 1959 30 August 1963
17 Maj Gen Winston P. Wilson USAF 31 August 1963 31 August 1971
18 MG Francis S. Greenlief USA 1 September 1971 23 June 1974
19 LTG La Vern E. Weber USA 16 August 1974 15 August 1982
20 LTG Emmett H. Walker, Jr. USA 16 August 1982 15 August 1986
21 LTG Herbert R. Temple, Jr. USA 16 August 1986 31 January 1990
22 Lt Gen John B. Conaway USAF 1 February 1990 1 December 1993
(Acting) Maj Gen Philip G. Killey USAF 2 December 1993 1 January 1994
(Acting) MG Raymond F. Rees USA 2 January 1994 31 July 1994
(Acting) MG John R. D'Araujo, Jr. USA 1 August 1994 30 September 1994
23 LTG Edward D. Baca USA 1 October 1994 31 July 1998
24 Lt Gen Russell C. Davis USAF 4 August 1998 3 August 2002
(Acting) MG Raymond F. Rees USA 4 August 2002 10 April 2003
25 LTG H Steven Blum USA 11 April 2003 17 November 2008
26 Gen Craig R. McKinley USAF 17 November 2008 6 September 2012
27 GEN Frank J. Grass USA 7 September 2012 3 August 2016
28 Gen Joseph L. Lengyel USAF 3 August 2016 Present

Previous flagEdit

This positional flag for the Chief of the National Guard Bureau was used from 1998 to 2008. The dark blue represented the Army National Guard, the light blue represented the Air National Guard. The badge in the center is the branch insignia of the National Guard Bureau. The two triangles in the upper fly are "flight devices" and represent the Air National Guard.

The version of the flag which appears in the information box at the top of the page was adopted in 2008 when the position of Chief of the National Guard Bureau was upgraded to full General (four stars).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "10 USC 10502 Chief of the National Guard Bureau: appointment; adviser on National Guard matters; grade; succession". Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  2. ^ United States Congress (2008). "SEC. 1812. Establishment of National Guard Bureau as Joint Activity of the Department of Defense". H.R. 4986 (110th): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. govtrack. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  3. ^ U.S. Congress (28 January 2008). "Public Law 110-181: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008". Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Office.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Public Law 110-181.
  5. ^ United States Infantry Association, Infantry Journal, Volume 5, 1908, page 292
  6. ^ Dodd, Mead, Inc., The New International Year Book, 1934, page 575
  7. ^ United States Field Artillery Association, The Field Artillery Journal, Volume 15, 1925, page 308
  8. ^ Pittsburgh Press, "Maj. Smathers becomes First in Command", April 13, 1919
  9. ^ Doubler, Michael Dale; Listman, John W. (2003). The National Guard: An Illustrated History of Americas Citizen-soldiers. Dulles, VA: Brassey's, Inc. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-57488-389-3.
  10. ^ "New Commanding General of the Air Force Division". Flying. Chicago, IL: Ziff-Davis Publishing. 1 December 1948. p. 10.
  11. ^ "Chief of the National Guard Bureau". The National Guardsman. Vol. 7. Washington, DC: National Guard Association of the United States. 1953. p. 8.
  12. ^ Frazier, David L. "Biography, Weber, La Vern Erick". Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  13. ^ Thompson, Mark (4 January 2012). "The Changing of the Guard". Time. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. ^ Staff, News (15 July 2016). "Texan Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel Leads National Guard Bureau". Focus Daily News. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to Host Change of Responsibility Ceremony for National Guard Bureau" (Press release). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense. Press Operations. 2 August 2016.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Chiefs of the National Guard Bureau at Wikimedia Commons