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McKinley Confirmed to Lead National Guard: The Senate yesterday confirmed Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley for appointment to the rank of general to head the National Guard Bureau as its 26th chief. McKinley, who has led the Air Guard since May 2006, becomes the first four-star general in the nearly 372-year history of the National Guard and the first Air Force officer to lead the NGB since 2002, according to a statement issued today by the bureau on McKinley’s confirmation. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended McKinley for the top Guard post in July; President Bush nominated him last month. McKinley succeeds Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, who has run the NGB since April 2003. The Senate confirmed Blum yesterday to become the first National Guard deputy commander of US Northern Command.