Biden nominates Gen. Charles Q. Brown as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden intends to nominate General Charles Q. Brown, the chief of staff of the Air Force, as the country’s most senior military officer on Thursday, formalizing one of the men who had been the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. Washington’s Best Kept Secret.

If confirmed by the Senate, General Brown would become the second black man, after Colin Powell, to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and top military adviser to the president.

General Brown succeeds General Mark A. Milley, whose tenure spanned a tumultuous four years that included President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to use active-duty troops against protesters in the United States; Congress, Jan. 6, 2021 riots in Mansion; the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan; and the war in Ukraine.

General Brown’s confirmation also means that, for the first time in history, the two top Pentagon leaders will be black, along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.

General Brown, who has extensive experience in the Middle East and Asia, will join Mr. Austin in advising Mr. Biden on national security issues ranging from the war in Ukraine to China’s military expansionism in the Asia-Pacific. The pair will also testify before Congress on behalf of the Pentagon, following complaints from often hostile Republican lawmakers that the Department of Defense has become too “sober.”

Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberwell of Alabama, for example, complained in a radio interview this month that the Biden administration’s efforts to diversify the military are weakening the military. “On the military side, we are rapidly losing readiness in terms of recruitment,” Mr Tuberwell said. “Why? I’ll tell you why. Because the Democrats are attacking our military and saying we need to get rid of the white extremists, the white nationalists.”

He said that while Democrats see white nationalists as racists, “I call them Americans.”

Mr. Biden could set off a period of controversy on Capitol Hill in appointing another African-American to a top Pentagon job. But the president is also recasting the figures in Mr. Trump’s photo, surrounded by Pentagon leaders who are all white.

Fighter pilot General Brown beats his closest rival, the Marine Corps commander, general david bergerGeneral Brown, widely known as “CQ,” was less talkative than General Milley, who favored long historical discourses linking modern military to past political tactics. But General Brown brings to the job an ability to meet it the moment it arises.

Take, for example, the nationwide protests sparked by the June 2020 death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Mr Trump wants to invoke the Insurrection Act to send in the military to fight the protesters.General Brown has been away from him for a few days. Senate confirmation vote Serving as chief of staff of the Air Force in the Republican-led Senate didn’t stop him from posting a five-minute video online to get rank-and-file soldiers excited.

“I’m thinking, I’m full of emotion not only for George Floyd, but for the many African-Americans who suffered the same fate as George Floyd,” General Brown said in the video. Speak on sensitive and politically charged issues.

“I’m thinking about the protests in my country, it’s about you, sweet land of freedom, the equality expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, which I’ve sworn an oath of adulthood to support and defend. I’m thinking about race history and my own experience, which has not always been a celebration of liberty and equality.”

It was an extraordinary move for one of Mr. Trump’s most recent promotions, a general that was angry at what he believed to be the Pentagon’s intransigence to his willingness to deploy troops. But General Brown’s video was also immediately identified as General Milley’s potential successor — should he survive the remaining months of Mr Trump’s term.

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