The White House on Monday named the first African-American military service chief, nominating a veteran combat pilot and a longtime officer to lead the Air Force.
President Trump nominated Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., now the head of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, as the next Air Force chief of staff, the highest-ranking uniformed position, Mr. Esper said.
An Air Force officer since 1984, Gen. Brown is an F-16 pilot who has served in Asia and the Middle East, flying nearly 3,000 hours, including combat missions. He has led the Air Force command in Qatar that oversees operations in the Middle East and has been a senior aide to both the uniformed and civilian leaders of the Air Force.
Gen. Brown, once confirmed by the Senate, would lead a service that has tried to fulfill the U.S. National Defense Strategy, which mandates a focus on potential threats from “near-peer” competitors like Russia and China.
However, the Air Force, like other military services, has faced a continuing demand for resources and personnel for operations in the Middle East and to counter threats from Iran.
Gen. Brown, who is known by the nickname “C.Q.,” has long been considered a top candidate for the post of Air Force chief. He would be the first African-American officer to lead any military service branch and the first senior African-American Pentagon leader since retired Army Gen. Colin Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.
Before that, Gen. Powell was President Reagan’s national security adviser, and later served as secretary of state under former President George W. Bush.
Gen. Brown would replace Gen. David Goldfein, who is expected to retire later this year.