COLUMBUS, Ohio — The commander of the Ohio National Guard is stepping down next year.

The Guard says Maj. Gen. Deborah Ashenhurst will continue her service as a special assistant at the National Guard Bureau in Washington. She is leaving her post as Ohio's adjutant general effective Jan. 10.

Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) appointed Ashenhurst to the job in 2010. She is the state's first female adjutant general and first female general officer for the Ohio Army National Guard. As Ohio's adjutant general, she oversees the state's military readiness and commands more than 18,000 personnel.

She has been serving in the Guard since 1978.