African-American general confirmed to lead USAF amidst racial unrest

The United States Senate has confirmed General Charles Q. Brown as the new Air Force Chief of Staff for the United States. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence presided over the unanimous vote to confirm General Brown on Tuesday, June 7, 2020.


While General Charles Q. Brown has amassed a remarkable record of outstanding leadership since he was commissioned in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech University that also includes a long history of successful and progressive leadership throughout his career, his confirmation is being lauded as a positive move for the U.S. Air Force set against the backdrop of weeks of racial unrest in the United States.

Brown’s confirmation makes him only the second African American appointed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The first was General Colin Powell in October, 1989. Powell went on to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 until 1993.

In addition to his extensive leadership education and experience, General Brown brings the perspective of a combat fighter pilot to his new post. He worked as an F-16 instructor at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and has amassed 2,900 flying hours, including 160 hours in combat.

He has commanded an operational fighter squadron, two fighter wings and the entire U.S. Air Forces Central Command. He has flown four different versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and another fifteen types of rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft.

General Brown’s strategic perspective was influenced by his March 2014-June 2015 Directorship of Operations for the Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Headquarters of the U.S Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa, at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Although General Brown’s career, combat experience, leadership and academic achievements over his 36-year career are structural to his confirmation as Air Force Chief of Staff, his confirmation provides the Air Force with favorable optics amid the ongoing racial tensions in the U.S.

General Brown posted a widely-lauded video to the Pacific Air Forces YouTube Channel on June 5, 2020 about his experiences as an African American in the U.S. Air Force and throughout his life. The video has meet with nearly universal praise.