The National Guard Bureau is the federal instrument responsible for the administration of the United States National Guard established by the United States Congress as a joint bureau of the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force. It was created by the Militia Act of 1903. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, elevated the National Guard to a joint function of the Department of Defense. This act also elevated the Chief of the National Guard Bureau from Lieutenant General (Three Stars) to General (Four Stars) with the appointment of General Craig R. McKinley, U.S. Air Force. The National Guard Bureau holds a unique status as both a staff and operation agency.