The United States Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously to confirm Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the 22nd Air Force chief of staff. According to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for Public Affairs, the vote was 98-0. Brown, a decorated pilot, will become the first African American in history to lead a branch of the U.S. military.
“My decision to appoint @usairforce General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!”
Brown currently serves as the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander and the air component commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. The U.S. Pacific Air Forces is responsible for Air Force activities in a command that supports more than 46,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.
“It is an absolute privilege for Sharene and I to represent our Airmen and families and we remain committed to serving them each day with the unwavering support that will ensure we remain the greatest Air Force in the world,” Brown said in March.
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett congratulated Brown on his confirmation and highlighted the important role he will play leading the Air Force into the future. Brown will replace Gen. David L. Goldfein on Aug. 6 at a swearing-in ceremony.
“I join leaders, Airmen and Space Professionals from across the forces in congratulating Gen. Brown and his wife Sharene,” Barrett said in a statement. “Leaders of their caliber will perpetuate the legacy of excellence that Gen. Goldfein and Dawn Goldfein have epitomized over the last four years. Gen. Brown’s unrivaled leadership, operational experience and global perspective will prove crucial as we continue modernizing the Air Force to meet tomorrow’s national security challenges and protect our nation.”
Goldfein also congratulated Brown and cited his unparalleled qualifications to be the next Air Force chief of staff.
“There is no one I know who is better prepared to be chief of staff, no one who has the experience and the temperament to lead the Air Force,” Goldfein said. “The Air Force and our nation will be in good hands under his leadership.”
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond said Gen. Brown is an innovative leader who clearly understands the complex and evolving strategic environment.
“He clearly understands the importance of leading across all domains to compete, deter and win — especially in war-fighting domains like space,” Raymond said. “I am thrilled with Gen. Brown’s confirmation. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.”
Brown graduated in 1984 from Texas Tech University with a degree in civil engineering and earned his commission –with distinction–through Air Force ROTC. A command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, including 130 combat hours, Brown held key roles in operations against Libya and in the air war against the Islamic State group.
Across his career, Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, and U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the deputy commander, U.S. Central Command. He also held other senior positions that will serve him well as the service’s chief military officer. They include serving as commandant of the Air Force Weapons School from 2005 to 2007 and, from March 2014 to June 2015, as director, Operations, Strategic Deterrence, and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
He also served as Aide-de-Camp to the 15th Chief of Staff, Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, and as the Executive Action Group Director for the 22nd Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley and 19th Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz. He was a National Defense Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses.