Brown will step into the position after the current Air Force chief, Gen. David Goldfein, retires at the end of the month.
President Trump nominated Brown for the post in March of this year, and the nomination went through after Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) reportedly lifted a procedural hold on the process to leverage negotiation for the basing of a new aerial refueling tanker.
Brown graduated from Texas Tech University in 1984 with a degree in Civil Engineering and was commissioned as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at the Lubbock university.
Since then, Brown became a command pilot accumulating over 2,900 flying hours and 130 combat hours, flying primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
He has served across the globe in Europe, Africa, the Middle-East, and — most recently — as the commander of the Pacific Air Forces.
According to a press release from the military branch, Brown will lead the Air Force as it transitions “from a decades-long priority on combating and containing terrorism to a new era of Great Power Competition.”
“As part of that new focus, the Air Force and entire U.S. military must be trained, ready and properly equipped to confront, deter and if necessary, defeat, challenges from Russia and China,” said the release. “It also comes at a time of heightened challenges from North Korea and other geopolitical shifts across Asia.”
Brown’s nomination is also notable in that he will become the first African-American to fill the role of the chief of staff for any branch in the military.
In a video titled “What I’m thinking about” that was published earlier this week, Brown addressed the significance of his confirmation amidst the current events surrounding George Floyd’s tragic death.
“I’m thinking about how my nomination provides some hope, but also comes with a heavy burden,” said Brown. “I can’t fix centuries of racism in our country, nor can I fix decades of discrimination that may have impacted members our Air Force.”
“I’m thinking about without clear-cut answers, I just want to have the wisdom and knowledge to lead during difficult times like these,” said Brown. “I want the wisdom and knowledge to lead, participate in, and listen to necessary conversations on racism, diversity, and inclusion.”
Upon being confirmed by the Senate in a 98-0 vote with Vice President Mike Pence presiding, Brown was congratulated by several Texas elected officials, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Greg Abbott.
“Congratulations to Texas Tech alum, Gen Charles Q. Brown, Jr., on being confirmed by the Senate to be the 22nd Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force,” said Cruz. “Gen. Brown will be making history, serving as the first African-American to hold this position.”
“Congratulations to San Antonio native and Texas Tech alum, General Charles Brown on his historic confirmation as the next Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force,” tweeted Abbott. “General Brown is a great Texan and a great American.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.