Decorated general makes history as first African-American to lead a branch of service.
In a display of bipartisanship on June 9, 2020, the US Senate confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. to be 22nd Air Force chief of staff with a vote of 98-0. The unanimous vote cleared the way for the decorated pilot and experienced commander to become the first African-American in history to lead a branch of the U.S. military as its highest-ranking officer.
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 and carrying on the strategic vision of the current Air Force chief of staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein. “I join leaders, Airmen, and Space Professionals from across the forces in congratulating Gen. Brown and his wife Sharene,” Barrett said. “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.”
In advance of the vote on his confirmation, Brown testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing May 7 where he pledged to ensure Air Force readiness to support the National Defense Strategy if confirmed. “I am committed to the Air Force achieving irreversible momentum towards implementation of the National Defense Strategy and an integrated and more lethal joint force,” Brown said.
Brown was commissioned in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech University. A command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours (130 in combat) primarily in the F-16A/B/C/D and 15 additional fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, he currently serves as the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. U.S. Pacific Air Forces support more than 46,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam.
Chief of Space Operations and fellow service chief, Gen. Jay Raymond also congratulated Brown on his confirmation. "Gen. Brown is an innovative leader who clearly understands the complex and evolving strategic environment we face today as a Department," Raymond said. "He clearly understands the importance of leading across all domains to compete, deter, and win — especially in war-fighting domains like space. I am thrilled with Gen. Brown’s confirmation. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.”
Brown will replace Goldfein August 6 at a swearing-in ceremony.