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Administered by the National Guard Bureau (a joint bureau of the departments of the Army and Air Force), the National Guard consists of both the Army National Guard (ARNG) and the Air National Guard (ANG). The National Guard has both a federal and state mission involving combat and non-combat army and air force units. Throughout its long history, Guard army units have been deployed overseas to fight in America’s wars, including the recent Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) campaign waged by the Bush administration. The National Guard is also charged with assisting state governments during times of natural disasters. However, some state National Guards have reportedly found themselves stretched too thin from overseas deployments of men and equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan, which has prevented Guard units from adequately responding to state emergencies.


The National Guard is the oldest component of the US military. Before there was the National Guard, there were state or colonial militias. The guard’s lineage dates back to 1636 when the Massachusetts Bay Colony organized three militia regiments to defend against the growing threat of the Pequot Indians. Patterned after the English Militia systems, all males between 16 and 60 were obligated to own arms and take part in the defense of the community.
The National Guard has participated in every US war, beginning with the French and Indian War (before “National Guard” was coined). In the War for Independence, more than 164,000 militiamen from the 13 colonies served under the command of the former Virginia militia colonel, George Washington. While the Continental Army, with militia support, fought the main battles of the Revolutionary War, other militia regiments kept British forces in check by harassing, foraging and raiding parties and limiting the royal troops to the cities.
The term “National Guard” originates from the Marquis de Lafayette, who commanded a Virginia brigade during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette coined the phrase "Garde Nationale" for his French Revolutionary Army during the French Revolution in the 1790s. Lafayette popularized the term in the United States during a return visit in 1824, by applying it to all organized militia units in America. The term immediately began to appear in newspapers and magazines as popular slang for the militia.
The 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment of Artillery, New York Militia voted to rename itself the "Battalion of National Guards" in 1824 in tribute to Lafayette's command of the Paris militia. New York, by state statute, adopted the term National Guard for its militia during the Civil War. Many states followed New York's lead after the Civil War by renaming their militias “National Guard.” The term was not recognized as the militia's formal title by federal legislation until the 1916 National Defense Act.
With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, close to 165,000 National Guardsmen volunteered for active duty. Although only a few National Guard regiments were sent to Cuba, many Guardsmen were shipped to the Philippines to fight. One of the most famous regiments of the war was the Rough Riders, made up of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas Guardsmen who, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, assaulted San Juan Hill (which in actuality was Kettle Hill). Despite heavy enemy fire, the Rough Riders seized the heights overlooking the city of Santiago, which led to the Spanish surrender two weeks later.
The modern image of today's National Guard began to emerge in 1903, when the landmark Militia Act (also called the Dick Act) established procedures for a more direct and active role by the federal government in organizing, training and equipping the National Guard in line with Army standards. The legislation divided all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 into the organized militia (National Guard) and the reserve militia. In addition, it mandated that, within five years, the organization, pay, discipline and equipment of the National Guard equal that of the Army.
Increased federal funding compensated Guardsmen for summer training camps and joint maneuvers with regular Army. States were required to hold at least 24 drills (instructional periods) each year, and some National Guard officers attended Army schools. The War Department assigned Army officers to each state as advisors, instructors and inspectors and enabled states to exchange outdated weapons and equipment for current issue. The War Department also created the Division of Militia Affairs, the forerunner of the National Guard Bureau, to oversee National Guard organization and training.
Membership in the National Guard remained voluntary, and governors retained control over National Guard mobilization. The Dick Act limited federal service by Guardsmen to nine months. However, a 1908 amendment lifted the nine-month restriction as well as permitted Guardsmen to serve outside the continental United States.
In June 1916, the National Defense Act essentially created the modem National Guard. The act provided increased federal support and regulation of the Guard. When officers and units reached Army standards in regard to strength, equipment and skill, they were federally recognized and eligible for federal support. These changes proved pivotal when America involved itself in World War I, with more than 379,000 Guardsmen ordered to active duty. During the war the National Guard supplied 17 combat divisions, or about 40% of the entire American Expeditionary Forces.
Following a rapid and haphazard demobilization after the end of the war, many states had to rebuild their Guard units, while the National Guard as a whole was reorganized into four cavalry divisions and 18 infantry divisions. The National Defense Act of 1920 established that the Army of the United States would consist of the regular Army, an Organized Reserve Corps and the National Guard when called into federal service.
An amendment to the National Defense Act passed in 1933 created a new Army component, the National Guard of the United States. This component, while identical in personnel and organization to the National Guard of the states, was a part of the Army at all times and could be ordered into active federal service by the president whenever Congress declared a national emergency. Thus it became possible for the National Guard to be given an Army mission without having to wait for a “call” to be issued by state governors.
In August 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the National Guard of the United States into active service. Between September 16, 1940, and October 6,1941, the National Guard brought into federal service more than 300,000 men, in 18 combat divisions, as well as numerous non-divisional units, including 4,800 men from the 29 National Guard observation squadrons. The number of Guardsmen federalized doubled the strength of the active Army, and the National Guard observation squadrons, due to their high state of training, helped to expand the U.S. Army Air Force.
During World War II, National Guard units participated in 34 separate campaigns and numerous assault landings in Europe and the Pacific. Guard units served well, with 148 presidential citations awarded for outstanding performance of duty or for conspicuous valor or heroism. Individual Guardsmen received 20 Medals of Honor, 50 Distinguished Service Crosses, 48 Distinguished Flying Crosses and over 500 Silver Star Medals.
Once the war was over, the Secretary of War approved plans calling for the reorganization of the National Guard and giving it a dual status and mission. The National Guard of the United States, as a reserve component of the Army, was to be an "M-day" (Mobilization Day) force, thoroughly trained, equipped and ready for immediate service to the nation in case of enemy aggression or a national emergency. The National Guard of the states was to provide organizations and personnel for the Reserve (federal) Component and to preserve peace, order and public safety in their states during local emergencies. The Secretary of War's policies provided that the federal government supervise military instruction, furnish field training facilities, pay, uniforms, equipment and ammunition and contribute a fair portion of the expenses for construction of National Guard armories.
The other major post-war change for the Guard was the establishment of the Air National Guard (ANG). On September 18, 1947, the same day that U.S. Air Force was officially established, the Air National Guard too was born. The ANG was a product of the politics of postwar planning and inter-service rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard. They were convinced that reserves could not operate complex modern weapons without extensive post-mobilization training.
But decisions by the White House forced Air Force leaders into accepting a place for the ANG. President Harry Truman wanted not only to trim defense spending but also split defense dollars evenly among the Army, Navy and Air Force. This compelled the Air Force to plan for a far smaller active duty force than it had envisaged during World War II. The Air National Guard had to help fill the gap.
Another key post-war development for the Guard occurred in 1946 when New Jersey became the first state to officially integrate its National Guard, two years before the Army stopped segregating African-Americans in separate units. In spite of this move, the Guard remained an almost exclusively white organization throughout the 1950s. In 10 states with large black populations, Guard units still had no black soldiers or airmen in their ranks as late as 1961.
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara tried to encourage voluntary integration in the early 1960s, with little success. The Guard’s leadership disputed McNamara’s legal authority to force integration while the Guard was under state control. It had also argued that integration would be political suicide for some governors and would hurt the military capabilities of their units. Despite these concerns, Guard units played key roles during the Civil Rights Era. In 1956 President Eisenhower federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard for a month to prevent a segregationist governor from using it to stop the court-ordered integration of Little Rock High School. The scene was replayed in 1962 during the desegregation of the University of Mississippi. In both cases, Guardsmen obeyed the President and helped enforce the law, even though real progress in effectively integrating the Guard did not come until the 1970s.

The National Guard again was heavily involved in the Korean War, with more than 183,000 National Guard personnel serving on active duty. Air Guardsmen flew 39,530 combat sorties and destroyed 39 enemy aircraft during the Korean War. But the ANG paid a high price in Korea as 101 of its members were either killed or declared missing in action during the conflict.
No massive call-ups of National Guard troops occurred during the Vietnam War. This was due to President Lyndon Johnson's attempt to portray the war as a limited conflict that could be fought with resources already available to the regular Army. Approximately 7,000 Guardsmen did wind up serving in Vietnam, mostly in response to the Tet offensive launched by North Vietnam in 1968.
Many National Guard units saw action of a different sort during the 1960s. Beginning with Newark, New Jersey, in 1964, racially motivated riots broke out in many large American cities. Units of the National Guard were called out to stop burning and looting in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Detroit and a host of other cities. Guardsmen also were used to maintain order during large demonstrations protesting the Vietnam War. The most controversial moment came on the campus of Kent State University in 1970 when, during a protest over America’s invasion of Cambodia. Ohio National Guardsmen shot to death four students.
The 1970’s were a watershed time for the National Guard. The administration of President Richard Nixon implemented a new military doctrine that further integrated the Guard with the Army for the purpose of gaining political support for overseas military campaigns. “Total Force Concept” required increased reliance on the combat readiness of the National Guard and the reserves. General Creighton Abrams, United States Army Chief of Staff, reorganized the "Total Army" so that the regular Army could not conduct an extended campaign without mobilizing the Guard and Reserves, thus gaining the involvement and, hopefully, the support of small-town America.
During the 1970s, as America entered the “all-volunteer era” and the Total Force Policy was implemented, the National Guard began receiving more modern equipment in larger quantities than it had in decades, including newer helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, upgraded tanks, artillery pieces and antitank missiles. The Guard also began taking in more women during the decade. The first female in the National Guard was a nurse, First Lieutenant Sylvia Marie St. Charles Law, who was commissioned in the Air National Guard in January 1957. During the 1950s and ‘60s, nurses were the only women in the Guard. A 1968 law authorized prior-service enlisted women to join the Guard, but the numbers recruited were small. In 1971 non-prior-service women were allowed to enlist. As all branches of the military began opening previously restricted jobs to women, the number of women in both the Army and Air National Guard rose dramatically.
With more modern equipment and communications capabilities, the Guard was used more for state missions in the 1980s than ever before in the Guard's history. Floods, forest fires, tornadoes, snow emergencies and energy shortages led to hundreds of call-ups during the decade. Civil disturbances, police and firemen's strikes and walkouts by state prison employees resulted in other call-ups for domestic emergencies to maintain safety and law and order.
The Eighties also saw the Guard become part of the Reagan administration’s war on drugs. In 1984, when the National Guard was asked to take active roles in the nation's effort to stop the flow of illegal drugs, 14 states participated in anti-drug missions. The 1989 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to provide funding to governors who submitted plans to use their National Guard members to support drug enforcement agency requests. Since that time, the National Guard has played a major role in supporting federal, state and local anti-drug operations.
With the invasion of Panama in 1989, the Guard found itself at the beginning of a new era of involvement in overseas military operations. Missouri's 1138th Military Police Company and Minnesota's 125th Public Affairs Detachment participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama to oust strongman Manuel Noriega. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Air National Guard units helped fly elements of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division to Saudi Arabia in rapid deployment to protect the kingdom. During the Gulf War, the mobilization of the National Guard affected units in 51 of the 54 states and territories.
In the first real test of the Total Force Policy, Guard units were on active duty only two weeks after Operation Desert Shield began. A majority of the first Guard units to be mobilized were transportation, quartermaster and military police units. Later, two field artillery brigades arrived in Saudi Arabia. When coalition forces launched their ground offensive in 1991 against Iraq, National Guard units, fully integrated into the coalition forces, supported attack. The Oklahoma Army National Guard was one of the many Guard units assigned to support the advance into Iraq.
During the remainder of the decade, Guard units participated in other, smaller military campaigns. Guard Special Forces and aviation soldiers took part in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti in 1995. Also that year, the 4th Battalion, 505th Infantry, consisting of 70% Guard soldiers, deployed to the Middle East as part of the Multinational Force and Observers that monitors the border between Egypt and Israel. Beginning in 1996, Guard personnel began taking part in Operation Joint Endeavor, now Joint Guard, as part of the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia.

Air National Guard History



What it Does  

Administered by the National Guard Bureau (a joint bureau of the departments of the Army and Air Force), the National Guard consists of both the Army National Guard (ARNG) and the Air National Guard (ANG). Both Guards have a federal and state mission, resulting in Guardsmen holding membership in both the National Guard of their state and in the U.S. Army or the U.S. Air Force. The National Guard is organized into 54 separate entities: the 50 states, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The National Guard's federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances). During peacetime, units carry out missions compatible with training, mobilization readiness, humanitarian and contingency operations.
The Army National Guard currently consists of 15 enhanced Separate Brigades, eight divisions and three strategic brigades. The ARNG also maintains two Special Forces groups. As of April 2006, more than 39,000 Guardsmen were serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom (139,733 to date), 14,000 in Operation Enduring Freedom (37,700 to date) and 652 in Operation Noble Eagle.
The Air National Guard provides almost half of the Air Force's tactical airlift support, combat communications functions, aeromedical evacuations and aerial refueling. In addition, the Air National Guard has total responsibility for air defense of the entire United States.
When National Guard units are not under federal control, the governor is the commander-in-chief of his or her respective state, territory (Guam, Virgin Islands), or commonwealth (Puerto Rico). A governor can activate National Guard personnel to “State Active Duty” in response to natural or man-made disasters or homeland defense missions. The President commands the District of Columbia National Guard, although this command is routinely delegated to the Commanding General of the DC National Guard. Each of the 54 National Guard organizations is supervised by the Adjutant General of the state or territory who also serves as the director or commanding general of the state military forces (in DC, only the Commanding General title is used). 
A map of the country with links to all state National Guard offices can be found here.
Whether it is fighting overseas or helping to maintain law and order at home during disasters, the Guard has multiple programs and mission operations to perform its myriad duties. In recent years special Guard units have formed as part of the United States Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). These units include those skilled in dealing with weapons of mass destruction, in which case the Guard can deploy its Civil Support Team (PDF) or Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (PDF). The Guard also has a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force (PDF) it can put into action, along with its rapid response Reaction Force (PDF) designed to handle incidents before federal authorities or army units can arrive on scene. Reaction Forces are organized as temporary task forces and perform their missions primarily under the command of the governors of their home states. The Guard also maintains Critical Infrastructure Protection-Mission Assurance Assessments (PDF) detachments that can assist with maintaining transportation, communications and water systems in states during a crisis.
The Guard continues to support the federal government’s war on drugs through its
National Guard Counter Drug Program (PDF). In 2006 the Guard claimed to have supported law enforcement in the seizure of nearly two million pounds of drugs with an estimated street value in the billions of dollars, including four million marijuana plants, and 1.7 million ecstasy pills and other “designer drugs.” It was also involved in the arrest of 80,838 individuals.
In preparation for military assignments with the Army and Air Force, the Guard participates in several military exercises. In May 2007 Guard units from Indiana, Illinois and Ohio took part in a simulated 10-kiloton nuclear device detonation dubbed the Vigilant Guard Exercise (PDF). The National Guard of Alaska practiced what to do in case terrorists attacked the country’s northern most state in the Northern Edge Exercise (PDF). Seven New England states sent Guard units in 2007 for the HURREX Exercise (PDF), a simulated category 3 hurricane (Hurricane “Yvette”) that hit Newport, RI.

Air National Guard Fact Sheet


Where Does the Money Go  

As extensions of the US Army and Air Force, National Guard units utilize much the same weaponry and equipment, most of which is provided to the US government through defense contractors. Some of the largest are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon and BAE Systems. These six are among the top defense contractors, according General Dynamics manufacturers the M1 Abrams tank, the Guard’s and Army’s main battle tank. The Bradley Fighting Vehicle, another mainstay of armored units, is built by BAE Systems Land and Armaments. The primary assault rifle used by Guardsmen is the M16, built by Colt, in use by the military since Vietnam. However, the Army and Guard are expected to replace the M16 with the XM8 Light Assault Rifle, produced by Alliant Techsystems and Heckler & Koch.

The Air National Guard, like the Army National Guard, has numerous

contractor stakeholders.

Some of the largest are the same as the ARNG, such as Lockheed Martin, builder of the C130 Hercules and the mammoth C5 Galaxy transport jets and the F-16 Falcon fighter jet. Boeing manufactures the C17 Globemaster transport jet and F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. The

top 25 defense contractors

providing weaponry and equipment for the Air Force and Air National Guard received $54.4 billion in contracts in 2004.



Local Resources Sent to Iraq and Afghanistan
The ongoing deployment of National Guard units to Iraq and Afghanistan has caused considerable strain on this branch of the armed services. According to a report (PDF) by the Center for Transatlantic Relations, every Enhanced Brigade in the National Guard (Enhanced Brigades are the Guard’s most important combat units) has been deployed at least once overseas since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and two have been deployed twice. In 2005 alone, 14 of the Guard’s 25 brigades were stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. This reliance on Guard units to help carry out GWOT has created problems for numerous states when disasters have struck.
In May 2007 a tornado largely destroyed the Kansas town of Greensburg. Emergency assistance was slow in large part because the Kansas National Guard was without much of its equipment, which had been shipped overseas. For nearly two days after the storm, there was a lack of heavy machinery and an army of responders. By Sunday afternoon, more than a day and a half after the tornado, only about half of the Guard troops who ultimately responded were in place. It was not until Sunday night that significant numbers of military vehicles started to arrive, many streaming in a long caravan from Wichita about 100 miles away.
When Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) complained about the state of her state’s Guard units, the White House shot back and blamed the governor. Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said the governor should have followed procedure by finding gaps after the storm hit and asked the federal government to fill them — but did not. “If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it,” Snow said in the New York Times. The debate was similar to the Bush administration’s skirmishes with Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana, also a Democrat, after Hurricane Katrina.
At the time of the tornado, the Kansas National Guard was operating with 40% to 50% of its vehicles and heavy machinery. Ordinarily, the Guard would have had about 660 Humvees and more than 30 large trucks to traverse difficult terrain and transport heavy equipment. When the tornado struck, the Guard had about 350 Humvees and 15 large trucks. The Guard also had only 30 of its 170 medium-scale tactical vehicles available to transport people and supplies.
Other states’ officials expressed similar concerns about their Guard units. In Ohio, the National Guard reported a shortage of night vision goggles and M-4 rifles. Col. Jon Siepmann, a spokesman for the Guard in California, said, “Our issue is that we are shortchanged when it comes to equipment. We have gone from a strategic reserve to a globally deployable force, and yet our equipment resources have been largely the same levels since before the war.” Gov. Mike Beebe (D) of Arkansas echoed Sebelius’ concerns. “We have had a significant decrease in equipment traditionally afforded our National Guard, and it’s occasioned by the fact that it’s been sent to the Middle East and Iraq.” All 50 governors signed a letter to President Bush asking for the immediate re-equipping of Guard units sent overseas.
Two reports supported the concerns of the nation’s governors over the readiness of the National Guard. The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves released a report saying: “In particular, the equipment readiness of the Army National Guard is unacceptable and has reduced the capability of the United States to respond to current and additional major contingencies, foreign and domestic.” Likewise, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have “significantly decreased” the amount of equipment available for National Guard units not deployed overseas, while the same units face an increasing number of threats at home.
Kansas Tornado Renews Debate on Guard at War (by Susan Saulny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times)
Spying on Anti-War Grandmothers
According to Robert Dreyfus, writing in Rolling Stone (April 18, 2006),”In May 2005, a California group called the Raging Grannies ran afoul of military spies when it helped organize a peaceful Mother's Day demonstration to protest the war in Iraq. Unbeknownst to them, their action was brought to the attention of a new intelligence unit at the California National Guard -- a program that went by the cumbersome title of Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management, and Intelligence Fusion. According to internal e-mails, the Guard forwarded information about the protest ‘to our Intell folks who continue to monitor.’
Asked why the Guard was spying on the Grannies, a spokesman suggested that terrorists might try to take advantage of the activists. ‘Who knows who could infiltrate that type of group and try to stir something up?’ Lt. Col. Stan Zezotarski told reporters. ‘After all, we live in an age of terrorism, so who knows?’
Joe Dunn, a California state senator, was having none of it. He launched an investigation and helped force the Guard to shut down its intelligence center. ‘What got us to the point of the National Guard setting up units in which, at least in California, they start down the path of domestic spying?’ he asks. ‘Our fear is that this was part of a federally sponsored effort to set up domestic surveillance programs in a way that would circumvent the Posse Comitatus Act."’”
New Jersey Guard Strafes School and Sets Wildfire
In New Jersey, Guard units found themselves in local news reports over mishaps involving the accidental strafing of an elementary school and causing a brush fire that forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.
An Air National Guard F-16 Viper from the 121st FS/113th FW at Andrews AFB was on a nighttime training mission when it fired 25 rounds of ammunition that tore through Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School. The only one at the school at the time was a custodian who was unharmed by the bullets. The pilot of the F-16C was supposed to fire at a target on the ground three and half miles away from school. It was unclear how the pilot made such a mistake.
Another ANG F-16 from the New Jersey dropped a flare during a routine training sortie over the Warren Grove Gunnery Range in Ocean County that caused a fire and forced thousands to flee the area. A Guard spokesman said the pilot had dropped the flare during a routine exercise to practice the use of the F-16’s self-defense system to decoy heat seeking missiles. “Sometimes during the training, the flare goes slightly off and hits a patch of woods, but we see it and are able to quickly put it out,” said the spokesman. “In this case, the flare may have been taken by the wind to where we couldn't see it go down and it was able to spread.” The fire burned 12,000 acres.
F-16 "Fly-by shooting" on New Jersey school (by Lieven Dewitte,

Flare from F-16 ignites wildfire

(by Asif Shamim,


Suggested Reforms  
Congressional Oversight  

House Armed Services Committee           

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs


Former Directors  

Craig McKinley - 2/28/2012 10:15:31 PM              
falando, how about you try doing your own research for your school project, instead of asking me to do it for you? you're using the internet right now, for god's sake, so fire up a search engine--it'll take ten minutes. my goodness, what has happened to the youth of america?

Falando - 2/24/2011 8:28:03 AM              
Hi,I'M contacting you in reference to a question I have to answer for a school project,and I was wanting to know if you can answer that question for me.The question is:How is the National Guard deployed to assist in response to a disaster? I''LL appreciate a fairly quick response if possible.Thank you very much... FALANDO

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Table of Contents

Founded: 1916
Annual Budget: $38 billion
Employees: 456,000

National Guard Bureau
McKinley, Craig

General Craig R. McKinley has served as chief of the National Guard since November 2008, and in the process became the first four-star general in history to command the Guard.

McKinley received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1974 as a graduate of the ROTC program at Southern Methodist University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
He spent his first year in the U.S. Air Force at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia studying to be a pilot. After completing this training in November 1975, he became a T-38 instructor pilot at Craig AFB in Alabama.
From March 1977 to May 1979, he was the equal opportunity and treatment officer at the Air Force Military Training Center, Lackland AFB, in Texas. During this time he was promoted to first lieutenant. He also received an M.S. degree from Webster College in 1979.
He went back to being a T-38 instructor pilot while at Laughlin, before spending six years as an F-106 alert pilot with the 125th Fighter Interceptor Group in Jacksonville, Florida. There, McKinley also served as chief of safety, an F-16 instructor pilot, chief of standardization and evaluation, deputy commander for operations and commander of the 125th Fighter Wing. He rose in rank during this period from captain to major to lieutenant colonel to colonel.
From May 1994 to June 1995, McKinley attended the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC. He then went back to commanding 125th Fighter Wing, until becoming the Air National Guard vice commander for the Southeast Air Defense Sector, stationed at Tyndall AFB in Florida.
In January 1998, he made brigadier general and served as deputy director of the Air National Guard and commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Andrews AFB in Maryland.
From March 2001 to July 2002, McKinley was deputy inspector general of the Air Force, during which time he was promoted to major general.
He commanded the 1st Air Force, Air Combat Command, and was commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (NORAD) at Tyndall AFB from August 2002 to October 2004.
Unfortunately for McKinley, his tenure at NORAD coincided with the 9/11 Commission’s hearings into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. McKinley was put in the awkward position of trying to explain why the U.S. Air Force was ineffective in countering the attacks. He conceded that NORAD did not track possible threats within the U.S., but was focused on bomber attacks from the east, which he referred to as “a Cold War vestige.”
He attempted to say that NORAD could not have been expected to prepare for an attack that used hijacked planes as weapons. However, commission member Richard Ben-Veniste pointed out to McKinley that in September 1994, a Cessna 150L had crashed into the White House lawn; that in August 1998, U.S. intelligence had identified a plot by unnamed Arabs to fly a plane into the World Trade Center; that the following month U.S. intelligence had warned that Osama bin Laden may have been planning to crash a weapons-laden plane into a U.S. airport; that in July 2001, when President Bush attended the G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy, surface-to-air missiles were deployed to prevent an air attack; and that as early as 1996, when the Olympics were held in Atlanta, the U.S. government, as part of its security planning, prepared for the possibility that terrorists might fly an airplane into the main stadium. Ben-Veniste concluded his summary by asking McKinley, “Was not this information, sir, available to NORAD as of September 11th, 2001?” McKinley replied, “It's obvious by your categorization that those events all took place and that NORAD had that information.”
After his public grilling, McKinley returned to the military cocoon. He completed his NORAD service and was next sent to Germany to serve as director of the Mobilization and Reserve Affairs Directorate, U.S. European Command, in Stuttgart-Vaihingen for one year.
From November 2005 to May 2006, McKinley was assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and programs at Air Force headquarters in Washington, DC.
He was then promoted to lieutenant general and served as director of the Air National Guard in Arlington, Virginia.
McKinley became general and chief of the National Guard Bureau in November 2008.
McKinley has logged more than 4,000 hours as a pilot, primarily in the T-38, F-106, F-16 and F-15. Additionally, he has been a pilot in command in the C-131 and C-130 operational support airlift aircraft.
McKinley and his wife, Cheryl, have a son, Patrick, and a daughter, Christina.
General Craig R. McKinley (National Guard)
Gen. Craig R. McKinley (WhoRunsGov, Washington Post)
Blum, H. Steven
Previous Chief
Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum has served since April 2003 as chief of the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia. Blum graduated in 1968 from the University of Baltimore with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He received his commission from Officer Candidate School on August 28, 1971, along with a Master of Science in Social Science from Morgan State College in Baltimore in 1973.
From 1971 to 1996, Blum held numerous commands in the Maryland National Guard, including several Special Forces posts. From 1996 until 2001 he served as assistant division commander and then commanding general of the 29th Infantry Division (Light), Maryland Army National Guard. He then served as commanding general of the Multi National Division (North) as part of Operation Joint Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 2002. Blum served as chief of staff for the United States Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, before being selected for his current post.
Blum stirred a minor controversy when, in a speech to the NAACP on July 19, 2006, he implied that agnostics and atheists change their beliefs on the battlefield.
General Praises NAACP for Making National Guard Better (by Rudi Williams, American Forces Press Service)