Carter Praises Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel as National Guard Bureau Chief Nominee

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Defense Secretary Ash Carter today congratulated Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel on his nomination to serve as the next chief of the National Guard Bureau and, if approved by Congress, to receive his fourth star.

Lengyel, now the Guard Bureau's vice chief, would succeed Army Gen. Frank J. Grass in the position and serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Over the course of more than three decades in the Air Force, whether in the cockpit of an F-16 or serving as a defense attache overseas, Lengyel has demonstrated "strong and steady leadership," Carter said in a statement.

"During his most recent role as vice chief of the National Guard Bureau," the secretary said, "he has helped to ensure our 470,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and provide combat resources to the Army and Air Force. 

'Visionary Leadership'

The secretary added that he is "supremely confident" that Lengyel will bring "the same visionary leadership and sound counsel" that Grass has brought to the position for nearly four years. He thanked Grass for his "distinguished service" as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the Defense Department's official channel of communication to the governors and state adjutants general. 

"On so many occasions over the past 15 years, the men and women of the National Guard have gone above and beyond to meet their country's call, performing selfless service both at home and abroad," Carter said. Under the direction of Grass and Lengyel, he added, "the men and women of our Army and Air National Guard have been able to count on having confident leadership and strong advocates at the highest levels of the department."

Prior to his current assignment, General Lengyel served as the Senior United States Defense Official; Chief, Office of Military Cooperation; and Defense Attaché, Cairo, United States Central Command, Cairo, Egypt.

General Lengyel was commissioned in 1981 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Texas State University, Denton. He served in various operational and staff assignments, primarily as an F-16 Instructor Pilot and Weapons Officer. His experience in the F-16 includes tours in Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, United States Air Forces in Europe and the Texas Air National Guard. He has commanded a fighter squadron, operations group, air expeditionary group and the Air National Guard Readiness Center.

General Lengyel is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours primarily in the F-16.