Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday recommended that Lieutenant General Craig McKinley be nominated as the next chief of the National Guard Bureau.

McKinley is now the head of the Air National Guard. If he becomes the National Guard Bureau chief he will also become the first four-star general to lead the Guard based on the recommendations of the National Guard Commission.

McKinley will succeed Lieutenant General Steven Blum, who is slated to become the first ever National Guard deputy to Northern Command. Blum has overseen the Guard during both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. During his tenure the Guard has significantly grown not only in numbers but also in congressional and national attention.

-Roxana Tiron