CQ Brown to Become First African-American Service Chief

Another milestone has been reached.

We’re about to see another barrier broken. Military.com:

The White House has nominated Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown to be the next top general to lead the U.S. Air Force. The nomination, announced by the Defense Department Monday afternoon, would make him the first African American officer to serve as the top uniformed officer for any of the military branches.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Monday that Brown, currently the head of Pacific Air Forces, would be tapped for 22nd Air Force chief of staff, following Gen. David Goldfein, who is set to retire this summer after four years in the position. Brown would also be the first black officer to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since then-Army Gen. Colin Powell served as chairman between 1989 and 1993.

“The [Air Force] will be well served by the formidable talents of CQ Brown,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said in a tweet following the announcement. “He has unmatched strategic vision and operational expertise. His leadership will be instrumental as the service continues to focus on the capabilities and talent we need to implement the [National Defense Strategy].”

Before his post at PACAF, Brown was the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He also served as the head of Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) between 2015 and 2016, during the height of the air campaign against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The highly decorated commander, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot by training, commissioned in 1984 and has accumulated more than 2,900 flight hours, including 130 combat hours in various aircraft.

Granting that there have, until the recent creation of Space Force, only been four services, it’s rather remarkable that it has taken this long.

As the report notes, Colin Powell was made Chairman of the Joint Chiefs—the highest uniformed position in our armed forces–over thirty years ago. And Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., also an Air Force fighter pilot, became the nation’s first four-star officer almost forty-five years ago.

I don’t know much about Brown beyond what’s in the report. That he was commissioned the year I graduated high school—and just four years before I was—makes me feel old.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    I don’t know much about Brown beyond what’s in the report.

    I know even les than that.

    But given the age we live in, and the administration(*) that nominated him, I keep asking myself “What’s wrong with him?”

    I hope nothing is, and he is the able officer he seems to be. I really do. but the questions don’t go away.

    (*) So-called administration.

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  2. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I know Gen Brown. He is an amazing leader that Airmen and women respond to. The Air Force couldn’t have made a finer choice. He will do a great job expanding on the institutional changes Gen Goldfiend made to ensure toxic leaders stay out of Command positions and more officers that actually believe in service before self get a fair evaluation for Colonel and above.

    Also, the Space Force is part of the Department of the Air Force so he will have his work cut out for him resourcing this new Service AND modernizing an aging fleet of Airframes while refocusing from Counter Terrorism to State Competition with Russia & China.

    He’ll knock it out of the park.

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  3. James Joyner says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Also, the Space Force is part of the Department of the Air Force so he will have his work cut out for him resourcing this new Service AND modernizing an aging fleet of Airframes while refocusing from Counter Terrorism to State Competition with Russia & China.

    As I understand it, Space Force is akin to the Marine Corps–a completely separate service just not its own department. So, the Space Force Chief of Staff will haandle the space mission and the Air Force Chief of Staff will handle the other missions. And both will report to the civilian Secretary of the Air Force—just as the CNO and Commandant report to the Secretary of the Navy.

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  4. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Joyner:
    Yes, the organize, train, and equip piece for Space Force will be handled through Department of Airforce