Chief of the National Guard Bureau

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB) is the highest-ranking officer of the United States National Guard[1] and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).[2]

Chief of the National Guard Bureau
Seal of the National Guard Bureau
Flag of the Chief
Gen Joseph L. Lengyel, USAF

since 3 August 2016
National Guard Bureau
Member ofJoint Chiefs of Staff
Reports toChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Formation14 February 1908
First holderCOL Erasmus M. Weaver Jr.
DeputyVice Chief of the National Guard Bureau
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is a federally recognized commissioned officer who has served at least 10 years of federally recognized active duty in any of the Reserves of the Army or Air Force,[3] either from the United States Army Reserve, the Army National Guard of the United States, the United States Air Force Reserve or the Air National Guard of the United States. The Chief is nominated for appointment by the President from any eligible National Guard officers holding the rank of major general or above,[4] who also meets the requirements for the position as determined by defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,[4] under the advice and/or recommendation from their respective state governors and their service secretary. The nominee must be confirmed via majority vote from the Senate.[4] The Chief serves a four-year term of office at the pleasure of the President.[4] By statute, the Chief is appointed as a four-star general[4] in the Army or Air Force, serving as a reserve officer on active duty.[4]


In 1908, the United States Army created the Militia Bureau to oversee training and readiness for the National Guard as part of implementing the Militia Act of 1903. From 1908 to 1911, Erasmus M. Weaver Jr. served as head of the Army's Militia Bureau, the first person to hold the position.[5] The National Defense Act of 1920 included a provision that the Chief of the Militia Bureau be a National Guard officer.[6][7][8] In 1921 Pennsylvania National Guard officer George C. Rickards became the first Guardsman to serve as Chief, and he held the post until his 1925 retirement.[9]

In September 1947, the Air National Guard was created, and the positions of Chief the Army Division Chief and Chief of the Air Division were established, with the directors subordinate to the NGB Chief.[10] In 1953, Air National Guard Director Earl T. Ricks served as acting Chief of the National Guard Bureau, making him the first Air Guard officer to hold the chief's position.[11] In the mid-1970s, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau position was upgraded from major general to lieutenant general, and La Vern E. Weber became the first NGB chief to wear three stars.[12]

In 2009, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Craig McKinley was granted the rank of full general, the first bureau chief to hold that rank. The position also became the seventh member of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2012 with third expansion of the Joint Chiefs in the 2012 defense bill signed on 31 December 2011. McKinley was also bureau chief at that time. The sitting Joint Chiefs had opposed the addition of another member, but President Obama promised in his 2008 campaign to do so.[13]

On 30 June 2016, Lieutenant General Joseph L. Lengyel, the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, was confirmed by the United States Senate for appointment as CNGB and promotion to General.[14] He was promoted and completed a transfer of authority ceremony with his predecessor on 2 August.[15]

List of chiefs of the National Guard Bureau

1COL Erasmus M. Weaver, Jr.USA14 February 190814 March 1911
2BG Robert K. EvansUSA15 March 191131 August 1912
3MG Albert L. MillsUSA1 September 191218 September 1916
(Acting)COL George W. McIverUSA18 September 191626 October 1916
4MG William A. MannUSA26 October 191626 November 1917
5MG Jesse McI. CarterUSA26 November 191715 August 1918
(Acting)BG John W. HeaveyUSA15 August 19185 February 1919
5MG Jesse McI. CarterUSA5 February 191928 June 1921
6MG George C. RickardsUSA29 June 192128 June 1925
7MG Creed C. HammondUSA29 June 192528 June 1929
(Acting)COL Ernest R. RedmondUSA29 June 192930 September 1929
8MG William G. EversonUSA1 October 192930 November 1931
9MG George E. LeachUSA1 December 193130 November 1935
(Acting)COL Herold J. WeilerUSA1 December 193516 January 1936
(Acting)COL John F. WilliamsUSA17 January 193630 January 1936
10MG Albert H. BlandingUSA31 January 193630 January 1940
11MG John F. WilliamsUSA31 January 194030 January 1944
(Acting)MG John F. WilliamsUSA31 January 194431 January 1946
12MG Butler B. MiltonbergerUSA1 February 194629 September 1947
13MG Kenneth F. CramerUSA30 September 19474 September 1950
(Acting)MG Raymond H. FlemingUSA5 September 195013 August 1951
14MG Raymond H. FlemingUSA14 August 195115 February 1953
(Acting)Maj Gen Earl T. RicksUSAF16 February 195321 June 1953
15MG Edgar C. EricksonUSA22 June 195331 May 1959
(Acting)Maj Gen Winston P. WilsonUSAF1 June 195919 July 1959
16MG Donald W. McGowanUSA20 July 195930 August 1963
17Maj Gen Winston P. WilsonUSAF31 August 196331 August 1971
18MG Francis S. GreenliefUSA1 September 197123 June 1974
19LTG La Vern E. WeberUSA16 August 197415 August 1982
20LTG Emmett H. Walker, Jr.USA16 August 198215 August 1986
21LTG Herbert R. Temple, Jr.USA16 August 198631 January 1990
22Lt Gen John B. ConawayUSAF1 February 19901 December 1993
(Acting)Maj Gen Philip G. KilleyUSAF2 December 19931 January 1994
(Acting)MG Raymond F. ReesUSA2 January 199431 July 1994
(Acting)MG John R. D'Araujo, Jr.USA1 August 199430 September 1994
23LTG Edward D. BacaUSA1 October 199431 July 1998
24Lt Gen Russell C. DavisUSAF4 August 19983 August 2002
(Acting)MG Raymond F. ReesUSA4 August 200210 April 2003
25LTG H Steven BlumUSA11 April 200317 November 2008
26Gen Craig R. McKinleyUSAF17 November 20086 September 2012
27GEN Frank J. GrassUSA7 September 20123 August 2016
28Gen Joseph L. LengyelUSAF3 August 2016Present

Previous flag

This positional flag for the Chief of the National Guard Bureau was used from 1998 to 2008. The dark blue represented the Army National Guard, the light blue represented the Air National Guard. The badge in the center is the branch insignia of the National Guard Bureau. The two triangles in the upper fly are "flight devices" and represent the Air National Guard.

The version of the flag which appears in the information box at the top of the page was adopted in 2008 when the position of Chief of the National Guard Bureau was upgraded to full General (four stars).

See also


  1. "10 USC 10502 Chief of the National Guard Bureau: appointment; adviser on National Guard matters; grade; succession". Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  2. United States Congress (2008). "SEC. 1812. Establishment of National Guard Bureau as Joint Activity of the Department of Defense". H.R. 4986 (110th): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. govtrack. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  3. U.S. Congress (28 January 2008). "Public Law 110-181: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008". Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Office.
  4. Public Law 110-181.
  5. United States Infantry Association, Infantry Journal, Volume 5, 1908, page 292
  6. Dodd, Mead, Inc., The New International Year Book, 1934, page 575
  7. United States Field Artillery Association, The Field Artillery Journal, Volume 15, 1925, page 308
  8. Pittsburgh Press, "Maj. Smathers becomes First in Command", April 13, 1919
  9. Doubler, Michael Dale; Listman, John W. (2003). The National Guard: An Illustrated History of Americas Citizen-soldiers. Dulles, VA: Brassey's, Inc. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-57488-389-3.
  10. "New Commanding General of the Air Force Division". Flying. Chicago, IL: Ziff-Davis Publishing. 1 December 1948. p. 10.
  11. "Chief of the National Guard Bureau". The National Guardsman. Vol. 7. Washington, DC: National Guard Association of the United States. 1953. p. 8.
  12. Frazier, David L. "Biography, Weber, La Vern Erick". Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  13. Thompson, Mark (4 January 2012). "The Changing of the Guard". Time. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. Staff, News (15 July 2016). "Texan Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel Leads National Guard Bureau". Focus Daily News. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  15. "Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to Host Change of Responsibility Ceremony for National Guard Bureau" (Press release). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense. Press Operations. 2 August 2016.

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