The president’s top military advisor
Air Force Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown has been overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate 83-11 as the 21st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the senior uniformed officer in the American armed forces. Brown replaces outgoing Army Gen. Mark A. Milley as the president’s top military adviser. With his promotion, two African-American men now hold the most senior civil and military positions at the Pentagon, since retired Gen. Lloyd Austin is presently the Secretary of Defense, a post he has held since 2021.
A commissioned officer since 1984, Brown is a command pilot with more than 3,000 ﬂying hours and 130 combat hours in a variety of aircraft, including the F-16 “Fighting Falcon.”
As previously reported in Our Weekly, Brown was nominated on May 24, but the confirmation dragged on largely due to opposition by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, (R-Ala). Tuberville’s objection stems from his disapproval of the current Pentagon policy on abortions. Presently service members who are stationed in states banning abortions may be reimbursed for traveling to areas where these procedures are legal.
His blockade has drawn criticism from a slew of Democrats as well as some of Tuberville’s fellow Republicans, including Rep. Michael McCaul, (R-TX.), who voiced his disapproval on CNN’s “State of the Union,” last week. “To hold up the top brass from being promoted and lower brass, I think, is paralyzing our Department of Defense,” McCaul declared.
Even with Brown’s confirmation, Tuberville’s critics note that military readiness is stymied across the individual services due to the backlog of 300 nominations, including “flag officers” (admirals and generals, pay grade O-7 and above) in limbo. The U.S. Marine Corps has been without its Commandant since July 10, when Gen. David H. Berger relinquished his command.
Waiting in the wings to be promoted are Gen. Eric M. Smith, who will replace Berger, and Gen. Randy A. George who will become the new Army Chief of Staff. These positions will be voted on separately by the Senate via a motion by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), who has also voiced his disappointment with Tuberville’s blockage of these military advancements.
Schumer reluctantly compromised to allow Tuberville and the rest of the Senate to vote separately on these key, high-profile positions. The remaining nominations remain up in the air pending the decision to approve these candidates in groups, or individually. Should these officer promotions be determined individually, the process could take perhaps 700 hours of Senate floor time, according to the Congressional Research Service.