Four-star general to be U.S. Air Force’s first black Chief of Staff

Mohammed Awal March 04, 2020
U.S. Air Force courtesy photo

The United States Air Force is set to have its first black service chief.

It follows the nomination of General Charles Q. Brown Jr., widely known as C.Q to serve as the Air Force’s 22nd Chief of Staff.

Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper announced General Brown’s nomination on March 2. 

If confirmed by the Senate which isn’t in doubt, General Brown will make history as the first African-American to sit on the elite Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Air Force’s website, replacing General David L. Goldfein, who is retiring June 30 after four years at the helm.

“I am truly honored and humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force’s 22nd Chief of Staff,” he said. 

“If confirmed, Sharene and I look forward to building upon the legacy of Gen. Dave and Dawn Goldfein and the many airpower giants before who have served our Air Force and our nation with such dedication,” he added.

Four-star general to be U.S. Air Force’s first black Chief of Staff
U.S. Air Force courtesy photo

A decorated fighter pilot with several combat tours in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, General Brown is one of the only two African-American four-star generals currently serving. He is now the commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces.

“The United States Air Force will be well served by the formidable talents of C.Q. Brown,” said Barbara Barrett, the Air Force secretary. “He has unmatched strategic vision and operational expertise. His leadership will be instrumental as the service continues to focus on the capabilities and talent we need to implement the National Defense Strategy.”

General Brown graduated in 1984 from Texas Tech University with a degree in civil engineering and earned his commission – with distinction – through Air Force ROTC. Throughout his 35 years’ career, he’s guided by four tenets— execute at a high standard; be disciplined in execution; pay attention to the details, and have fun.

“Regardless of our respective ranks and positions, we must execute to the best of our abilities and we must do it right the first time because the application of airpower is serious business where half-hearted efforts and playing for second place are not options,” he said during a 2018 speech as reported by the Air Force’s portal.

General Brown has more than 2,900 flying hours primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, including 130 combat hours. He played key roles in operations against Libya and in the air war against the Islamic State group. Across his career, Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, and U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Before his current assignment, he served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command.

General Brown also held other senior positions including serving as commandant of the Air Force Weapons School from 2005 to 2007 and, from March 2014 to June 2015, as director, Operations, Strategic Deterrence, and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

He also has an up-close understanding of the Chief of Staff, having served as Aide-de-Camp to the 15th Chief of Staff, Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman and as the Executive Action Group Director for the 22nd Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley and 19th Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz. He also served as a National Defense Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

As Chief of Staff, General Brown will also be a principal ally and partner in supporting the newly created Space Force.

 “Gen. CQ Brown is the right strategic leader at the right time for the United States Air Force,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations. “He clearly understands the evolving and complex strategic environment we face and recognizes the importance of integrating across all domains to compete, deter and win. On behalf of the 16,000 men and women assigned to the United States Space Force, congratulations on the nomination!”

He will sit as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and represent the Air Force to the public, to Congress, industry partners as well as allies. The Chief of Staff is responsible for devising and articulating Air Force priorities, for shaping the service’s culture, budget and priorities as well as organizing, training and equipping the Air Force’s 685,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian personnel, according to Air Force’s website.

 “With Gen., CQ Brown’s nomination comes the right level of talent and experience for the job to hone Airman lethality and readiness; strengthen bonds with allied and partner air forces, and to do this efficiently,” Esper said.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 4, 2020


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