Biden Picks Air Force Chief Charles Q. Brown as Top US General

Biden Picks Air Force Chief Charles Q. Brown as Top US General
President Joe Biden shakes hands with Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. as he announces his intent to nominate him to serve as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 25, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has picked U.S. Air Force Chief General Charles Quinton Brown to become the top U.S. military officer, elevating a former fighter pilot with experience in the Pacific at a time of rising tensions with China.

Brown will be the second black officer to become chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after Colin Powell two decades ago.

Biden on Wednesday announced his intent to nominate General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The move follows Biden’s appointment of Lloyd Austin as the first black U.S. Secretary of Defense—the top civilian position at the Pentagon.

According to a senior Biden administration official, Austin had recommended Brown for the position, as he believed Brown has a good understanding of “the strategic challenges the United States faces around the world.”

“He helped build and lead the air campaign against ISIS. He is deeply versed in the challenges posed by the PRC (Peoples Republic of China). And he has a strong understanding of our NATO allies’ perspectives and capabilities,” the official said.

Brown, a self-described introvert, will replace outgoing Trump appointee Army General Mark Milley, who has served since 2019 as the 20th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Brown was born in 1962 into a military family in San Antonio, Texas. He began his military career in the U.S. Air Force, and quickly rose to become fighter squadron commander. He clocked more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours, and even earned a spot as an F-16 flight instructor at the Air Force Weapons School—an elite aerial fighting school similar to the Navy’s TOPGUN.

In 2013, Brown was promoted to major general. Two years later, he was appointed to the United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT), tasked with overseeing coalition air operations against the ISIS terrorist group in the Middle East.

From 2018 to 2020, Brown served as commander of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific, which provided him with a good perspective on China’s rapidly strengthening military—an issue likely to loom large over his four-year term as chair.

Heather Wilson, who was secretary of the Air Force at the time, praised Brown’s leadership style and experience in the Pacific.

“He’s thoughtful, respected by his peers and subordinates, and will provide steady leadership and good advice for the country,” she said.

His Senate confirmation vote was 98-0.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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