Biden names Air Force secretary as top U.S. military general

WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden has selected U.S. Air Force Commander Charles Q. Brown to be the top U.S. military, the White House said Wednesday, a former combatant with wartime experience in the Pacific. He announced that he had promoted a plane pilot. Tensions with China escalate.

Brown’s long-awaited appointment, which requires Senate confirmation, is the second black officer to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after Colin Powell two decades ago.

“In the afternoon, the president will announce his intention to nominate General Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Biden’s official schedule for Wednesday said.

The move follows Biden’s appointment of Lloyd Austin as the first black U.S. secretary of defense, the top civilian post at the Pentagon.

A senior Biden administration official said he accepted Austin’s recommendation to run Brown for the post because he believes Biden “understands the strategic challenges facing the United States around the world.”

“He helped build and direct the air force operations against ISIS. He has a deep understanding of the challenges China poses, and a deep understanding of the perspectives and capabilities of our NATO allies,” the official said.

Brown’s approval would mark the first time a black American holds the top two positions in the Pentagon. This is a major milestone for an organization with a diverse workforce at the bottom, but a majority of white men at the top.

Brown is a self-professed introvert whose public personality contrasts starkly with outgoing Chairman General Mark Milley, a talkative Boston native who has served in both the Trump and Biden administrations.

Speaking at a security forum last year, Brown joked that his wife would ask, “Did you run out of words at work today?”

Following the 2020 killing of a black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police, Brown shared his experience in an emotional video posted online.

During his Air Force career, he said he was “often the only African American in my squadron, or the only African American in the room as a senior officer,” and that he was the only African American in a fixed-wing flight. He said he was wearing the same flight uniform as the corps. People were asking if his chest was still a pilot.

Known to his colleagues as “CQ,” Brown’s experience includes overseeing coalition air operations against Islamic State from top Air Force bases in the Middle East.

But his experience as commander of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific from 2018 to 2020 has served as a primer on tensions with China’s rapidly escalating military, and the issue loomed large during his four-year term as chairman. likely to stand in your way.

Heather Wilson, then secretary of the Air Force, praised Brown’s leadership style and experience in the Pacific.

“He is thoughtful, well-respected by his colleagues and subordinates, and will provide steady leadership and good advice for the country,” he told Reuters.

Despite being widely respected, it is unclear how quickly Mr. Brown will be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Tommy Tuberville has blocked a push for military nominations since February because he believes the Pentagon is misusing funds to cover travel expenses for military personnel’s abortions. The White House on Wednesday urged the release of detention on the Pentagon candidate, saying Mr. Tuberville is a threat to national security.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; additional reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Don Durfee and Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Phil Stewart

thomson Reuters

Phil Stewart has reported from over 60 countries including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and South Sudan. An award-winning Washington-based national security reporter, Phil has appeared on NPR, PBS NewsHour, Fox News and others, and has hosted national security events such as the Reagan Defense Forum and the German Marshall Foundation. I’m here. He has received the Edwin M. Hood Diplomatic Communications Award and the Joe Galloway Award.

Idolless Ali

thomson Reuters

National Security Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C., Department of Defense. Reports on U.S. military activities and operations around the world and their impact. He has covered over 20 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Asia and most of Europe. He is from Karachi, Pakistan.

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