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Guard Chief Becomes Statutory Member of Joint Chiefs: The National Guard Bureau chief now has a permanent seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff thanks to the Fiscal 2012 defense authorization act. President Obama signed the legislation into law on Dec. 31. Gen. Craig McKinley, NGB chief, said the bureau was grateful to the various proponents of this measure, which he championed despite the fact that the service Chiefs were unanimously opposed. He noted that the Guard was looking forward to "working alongside the other Joint Chiefs to provide our nation's senior leaders with a fuller picture of the non-federalized National Guard as it serves" in both homeland defense and civil support missions. The act also requires the Guard's vice chief to be a three-star general officer, and eliminates the two-star position of director of the bureau's joint staff. (AFPS report by Army SSgt. Jim Greenhill)