Biden taps Brown to be Joint Chiefs chairman

By Tony Bertuca / May 25, 2023 at 2:00 PM

President Biden today announced that he will nominate Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Brown, if confirmed, would succeed Army Gen. Mark Milley as chairman. Milley, who has held the post since 2019, is set to retire in September.

Brown’s nomination, however, comes as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is holding up more than 200 military nominations and promotions over his opposition to DOD’s leave and travel reimbursement policies for military servicemembers seeking abortion services.

Prior to serving as Air Force chief of staff, Brown served as commander of Pacific Air Forces and has also commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and the U.S. Air Force Weapons School.

If Brown is confirmed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he would join Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as one of the Pentagon’s top two leaders, marking the first time in U.S. history that both posts are held by African Americans.

The job has not been held by an Air Force officer since Gen. Richard Myers retired in September 2005.

Brown would also be assuming the post at a time when Milley, the current chairman, has called for significant technological transformation of the U.S. military.

At a recent appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brown said he believes artificial intelligence presents an opportunity to “make decisions much faster, or at least cull through the data, so you can actually [know] where you need to prioritize, as an individual to make decisions or employ weapons.”

Additionally, Brown said he believes the United States must strengthen its relationships with key allies.

“You can't guarantee that they're going to be there one way or another, but you can guarantee they're not going to be there if you don't work with them,” he said.

Earlier this year, news broke than an Air Force commander had released a memo predicting that China would invade Taiwan in 2025. Other defense officials have said the United States should be prepared for the invasion by 2027.

Brown, in a February appearance at the Brookings Institute, said speculation about a Taiwan scenario was “not necessarily helpful.”

“It takes away from what we’re really trying to get to do, which is to make sure we’re going to be ready,” he said. “I can’t predict the future, but I can shape it by being ready.”