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Grass Nominated as Next National Guard Chief: President Obama nominated Army Lt. Gen. Frank Grass for promotion to the rank of general to oversee the National Guard Bureau, announced the Pentagon. If the Senate confirms him, Grass would become the 27th NGB chief, replacing Gen. Craig McKinley who's led the National Guard since November 2008 and is retiring after some 38 years of Active Duty and Air National Guard service. "I am thrilled and humbled by the opportunity, if I am confirmed, to lead the best National Guard in our nation's history—a force of more than 460,000 men and women proven on the battlefield and during domestic crises," said Grass in a June 29 NGB release. Grass, deputy commander of US Northern Command since September 2010, enlisted in the Missouri National Guard in 1969 and was commissioned in 1981. McKinley was the first four-star general to lead the National Guard. Later in his tenure, he became the first NGB chief to be a statutory member of the Joint Chief of Staff. Briefing reporters on June 29, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said he was "pleased" with Grass' nomination; he praised McKinley for doing "an outstanding job." (Panetta-Dempsey transcript)