President Joe Biden has nominated Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. to succeed Army Gen. Mark A. Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a White House Rose Garden announcement, Biden called Brown "a proud, butt-kicking American airman" and an operational leader with intimate knowledge of how the U.S. joint force operates. Brown is currently Air Force chief of staff.
If confirmed by the Senate, Brown will become the 21st chairman; he would be the first chairman from the Air Force since Gen. Richard B. Myers held the position in 2005.
Biden said the general has the respect of all those in the U.S. armed forces and also "the respect of our allies and partners around the world, who regard Gen. Brown as a trusted partner and a top-notch strategist. No matter how complicated the mission — from helping build and lead the coalition now more than 80 nations strong to counter ISIS threats in the Middle East to positioning our Air Force for the future in Indo, in the Indo-Pacific — Gen. Brown has built a reputation across the force as an unflappable and highly effective leader, as someone who creates an environment of teamwork, trust and … executes with excellence."
The president said Brown "doesn't play for second place, he plays to win." He said that mindset is an enormous asset to the commander-in-chief.
The president also spoke about Brown's signature approach, which he summarized as "accelerate, change or lose."
"Our world is at an inflection point, where the decisions we make today are going to determine the course of our world for decades to come," Biden said. "And to keep American people safe, prosperous and secure, we have to move fast and adapt quickly. We have to maintain a combat-credible force capable of defeating any potential threat. And we have to manage our competition with China and meet the reality of renewed aggression in Europe."
The U.S. military must also retain its competitive edge in an age where emerging technologies could fundamentally change the character of conflict.
The president said Brown is also a deliberate leader "unafraid to speak his mind as someone who will deliver an honest message that needs to be heard and will always do the right thing even when it's hard. That's the No. 1 quality a president needs in a chairman."
The president noted that 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of an integrated military, the 75th anniversary of women serving in the force, and the 50th anniversary of the all-volunteer force. "We're celebrating the root of our national strength, the most American of ideas, most self-evident truth, that all women and men are created equal," Biden said. "There is no more powerful testament to this than the armed forces of the United States of America. The steps we've taken over the decades, to harness the full diversity of our nation have grown our armed forces into the greatest fighting force … in the history of the world."
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III called Brown "an outstanding joint warfighter and a thoughtful, strategic leader who will bring his trademark skill, talent and judgment to this critical role."
Brown began his service as a pilot. He has served as both instructor and commandant at the Air Force Weapons School. He was also the commander of the 8th Fighter Wing, dubbed the Wolf Pack, in Kunsan, South Korea. Austin said Brown "has developed the expertise, the vision and the warfighting acumen to help the president and senior DOD [Defense Department] leaders navigate today's toughest national security challenges. In his tenure leading the U.S. Air Force, he has been a model of strategic clarity and a powerful force for progress."
Both the president and Austin thanked Brown's wife, Sharene, and sons for everything they have done.
Austin also applauded the distinguished service of current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley. "He has been a reliable partner in challenging times, and I am thankful for his counsel, his vision and his unflagging love of country," the secretary said. "Our nation and our military are stronger because of his superb leadership and sound advice. I am grateful to him and his wife, Hollyanne, for their service and selflessness."