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National Guard Leadership Change: Army Gen. Frank Grass replaced Gen. Craig McKinley as National Guard Bureau chief during a change-of-responsibility ceremony at the Pentagon. The Sept. 7 event also marked the end of McKinley's Air Force career that began in 1974. "It is because of leaders like you, and the soldiers and airmen of the National Guard [whom] you are privileged to lead, that we remain . . . the world's pre-eminent military force," said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs Chairman, at the ceremony. McKinley, NGB chief since November 2008, was the first Guard leader to wear four stars and he was also the first to serve as a statutory member of the Joint Chiefs. "The National Guard has been an integral part of our active force for decades, and I don't think we've ever reached a point where it's been more relevant, or reliable, or competent," he said. Grass, who previously served as US Northern Command's deputy commander, received a fourth star at the event prior to taking charge of the National Guard. He acknowledged that there is a lot of "hard work to do," specifically with current budget challenges, but added: "I think I'm ready for that." (AFPS report by Cheryl Pellerin and second Pellerin report)