Defense Secretary Mark Esper has formally nominated Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown to become the Air Force’s next chief of staff. If confirmed, Brown would become the first African American chief of staff for any of the U.S. military services.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Brown’s impending nomination March 2, with a Defense Department release confirming the official move Monday afternoon. As PACAF commander, Brown also serves as the air component commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and executive director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
Gen. David Goldfein has served as Air Force chief of staff since July 2016 and is expected to retire this summer. He tweeted Monday his support of Brown’s nomination, saying the former F-16 pilot has led “worldwide – in the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. When it comes to global, operational savvy there’s nobody stronger–one of the finest warriors our @usairforce has ever produced.”
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said in a Monday tweet that the service would be “well served by the formidable talents of CQ Brown.”
“He has unmatched strategic vision & operational expertise,” she wrote. “His leadership will be instrumental as the service continues to focus on the capabilities & talent we need to implement the” National Defense Strategy.
Brown was named PACAF commander in 2018, after serving as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command since 2016. He has also served as U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s combined force air component commander, managing the air campaign against violent extremist groups including ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Brown’s global experience includes serving as commander of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, and of the 31st Figher Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy. He also served as aide-de-camp to former Chief of Staff Gen. Ron Fogelman in the 1990s.
The commander has completed more than 2,900 flying hours in aircraft including the F-16 as well as the B-1, B-2, B-52H, C-130J, E-8C, HH-60G, KC-135 and MV-22, and more, and including 130 combat hours.
He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and commissioned in 1984.