The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, elevating the Air Force chief to become the nation’s most senior military officer.
(Bloomberg Government) — The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, elevating the Air Force chief to become the nation’s most senior military officer.
The 83-11 vote came after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) maneuvered to break a months-long blockade of military promotions by Alabama Republican Tommy Tuberville. Brown’s confirmation means that — along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin— the top two Pentagon leadership posts would be held by Black men for the first time in American history.
The temporary opening in the blockade doesn’t resolve more than 300 nominations still being held up.
“My hold is still in place,” Tuberville, who voted “no,” said on the floor Wednesday.
Brown, currently the Air Force Chief of Staff, will replace Gen. Mark Milley as the US’s top military adviser to the president. Brown will take his post as the US continues to arm Ukraine in a bloody war of attrition against Russia and as Washington finds itself locked in an intense competition with China.
US Senate Leader Seeks to Break Gridlock on Military Promotions
Brown’s promotion had been ensnared for months by Tuberville, who has used Senate rules to stand in the way of what is normally routine Senate confirmation for military officer promotions. The former football coach opposes the Defense Department’s policy that lets personnel take leave and travel for abortion care. Tuberville wants to see the policy scrapped—a move that the Biden administration and Senate Democrats are resisting.
The Alabamian recently dug deeper on his single-senator blockade, saying his complaint has been compounded by liberal “woke” sentiment among officers in line for top jobs.
Tuberville Digs In on Blocking 300-Plus US Military Promotions
Brown had become a target of those complaints for his embrace of diversity, equity, and inclusion. After the killing of George Floyd in 2020, the general released a video in which he spoke about how the nation’s history of racial injustices, and his own experiences, “didn’t always sing of liberty and equality.”
Brown, known as a measured speaker, previously served as commander of Pacific Air Forces, and will probably play a significant role in assisting President Joe Biden as he develops his strategy for countering China in the Indo-Pacific. Competition with Beijing—especially in the air—has intensified in recent years, with China debuting hypersonic missiles and a new nuclear bomber.
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Schumer on Wednesday set up votes for three top military positions: Brown, the Marine Corps commandant and the Army chief of staff. The effort aimed to head off Tuberville’s own planned procedural move to force a vote on the appointment of Gen. Eric Smith as Marine Corps commandant, which he’s blocked for months.
The votes to confirm the Army chief of staff and Marine Corps commandant likely will be scheduled this week. The Senate will vote Wednesday evening on a procedural step in the confirmation of Gen. Randy George, the Army chief of staff nominee.
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