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Blum for Northern Command: We failed to note that Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum to become deputy commander of US Northern Command. In remarks before the National Guard Association conference in Baltimore Monday, Gates noted that this summer he had recommended Blum, current head of the National Guard Bureau, for the deputy commander post, saying, "Beyond recognition of a fine and deserving officer, I had a broader purpose in General Blum's nomination: To place a senior Guard officer in a combatant command leadership role and thus position him to succeed to command." Gates added that the latter would be "a matter, of course, for my successor to decide." Gates recommended Blum for the new post at the same time he tapped Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley to lead the NGB and receive a fourth star, which would make him the first to hold that position with that rank. The Senate placed McKinley's name on its to-be-confirmed list Sept. 8. And, it posted the Blum nomination on Sept. 9.