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Frank Grass

33 - Army Gen. Frank Grass
2012 Rank: 11

Chief, National Guard Bureau
Grass leads a force of 470,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel who over the past decade played a key role in America’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And at a time when deep defense cuts have arrived at the Pentagon, it’s important to remember that Grass represents the nation’s most politically formidable organization, with support from 50 governors and 535 lawmakers. He’s the second Guard chief to sit on the Joint Staff, which has traditionally comprised the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. The move was met with heated opposition from the sitting chiefs, who argued it would create confusion among command authorities. Grass took over at a time when the role of the Guard was also being hotly debated due to the postwar budget trimming. While publicly released plans for Guard end strength show that the force should stay relatively constant, Grass has said that he sees 460,000 personnel as a limit for how low it could go. Since enlisting in the Missouri Army National Guard in 1969, Grass has served in a variety of staff roles in the Army National Guard, as well as deputy commander of US Northern Command.

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