White House names country’s first African-American military service chief


The White House has appointed General Charles “CQ” Brown to be the next General-in-Chief to lead the US Air Force. The appointment, announced by the Defense Department on Monday afternoon, would make him the first African-American officer to be the senior uniformed officer in one of the military branches.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Monday that Brown, currently the Pacific Air Force commander, would be appointed 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff, following General David Goldfein, who is expected to take his post. retirement this summer after four years in this position. Brown would also be the first black officer to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since then-Army General Colin Powell served as chairman between 1989 and 1993.

“The [Air Force] will be well served by the formidable talents of CQ Brown, ”said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett in a tweet following the announcement. “He has unparalleled strategic vision and operational expertise. His leadership will be instrumental as the service continues to focus on the capabilities and talents we need to implement the [National Defense Strategy]. “

Prior to his post at PACAF, Brown was Deputy Commander of US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He was also the head of the Central Air Force Command (AFCENT) between 2015 and 2016, at the height of the air campaign against ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The highly decorated commander, a training F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, was commissioned in 1984 and has accumulated over 2,900 flight hours, including 130 combat hours in various aircraft.

With posts that took him across Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East, Brown also “commanded a fighter squadron, the US Air Force Weapons School and two fighter squadrons” throughout his career. career, according to his bio.

Despite the publicly declared efforts in the military services to attract and retain minority troops, the highest ranks remain largely homogeneous. A 2015 USA Today report found that, of 280 Air Force generals at the time, only 18 were from minority groups, and only 13 – or 4% of the total – were African American.

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Between 2014 and 2015, Brown served as the Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration of the US Air Force in Europe. Meanwhile, the general told Air Force Times he focused on monitoring Russian activities in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, but quickly had to shift gears to the during his tour to focus on deterring ISIS forces from winning in Iraq and Syria.

“When you ask me what has been my greatest achievement during this period of my [AFCENT] order, [strategic] targeting. That was it, ”Brown told the reporter in a 2016 interview.

Brown’s goal in command was to streamline processes between the Air Force, coalition air components, and the intelligence community to create better dynamic and deliberate targeting operations for battlefield success.

“Over the last 15 years or so we’ve been doing a lot of close air support for the troops in contact and on guard, and the process of deliberate targeting – we’ve lost a bit of muscle memory compared to what we had in the past, “he said. said, referring to operations in Afghanistan. “So I think it’s something that will help us in the [Central Command area of operations] and other eventualities down the road that we as a nation or as a coalition team may face in the future. “

Like his PACAF predecessor, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Brown has strived to improve collaboration with partner forces, with an emphasis on integrating fifth generation combat capabilities , such as those of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, in the theater.

“Our allies and partners are at the forefront of fifth generation integration in the Indo-Pacific,” Brown said in 2018, referring to how the United States, Australia, Japan and Korea of the South will all operate the F-35s in the years to come.

– Oriana Pawlyk can be contacted at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her at @ oriana0214.

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