Biden picks history-making Air Force fighter pilot to serve as next Joint Chiefs chairman
May 24   

Eds: UPDATES: Adds his age. With AP Photos.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that he is tapping Air Force Gen. CQ Brown Jr., a history-making fighter pilot with deep knowledge of China, to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Brown's confirmation would mean that, for the first time, both the Pentagon's top military and civilian positions would be held by African Americans. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black Pentagon chief, has been in the job since the beginning of the administration. The only other Black person to serve as Joint Chiefs chairman was Army Gen. Colin Powell.

The nomination has been long expected. If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would replace Army Gen. Mark Milley, whose term ends in October, as the nation's next top military officer. The president plans to unveil Brown as his pick during a Rose Garden event Thursday afternoon.

Biden saw Brown as the right person for the job because of his work modernizing the U.S. fleet of aircraft and its nuclear arsenal and his years of experience in shaping U.S. defenses to meet China's rise, a senior administration official said. He's also been deeply involved in the Pentagon's efforts to equip Ukraine with billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry as Kyiv tries to fend off Russia's 15- month old invasion.

Brown, 60, has commanded at every possible level in the Air Force and in joint commands, including in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He also helped build and lead the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State militant group.

Brown is a career F-16 fighter pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours and command experience at all levels. He has broken barriers throughout his career. He served as the military's first Black Pacific Air Forces commander, where he led the nation's air strategy to counter China in the Indo-Pacific as Beijing rapidly militarized islands in the South China Sea and tested its bomber reach with flights near Guam.

Three years ago he became the first Black Air Force chief of staff, the service's top military officer, which also made him the first African American to lead any of the military branches. By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023