Sullivan Votes to Confirm General Brown as Air Force Service Chief

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today joined his colleagues in voting unanimously to confirm General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. as the next chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. Sullivan spoke on the Senate floor shortly before the confirmation vote.


Mr. President, this is going to be a historic day for the U.S. Senate as we come down to the floor after the recess to be voting on the confirmation of General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. to be the chief of staff of the United States Air Force. I will be certainly voting for General Brown because he's the right man at the right time for this very important job. Let me explain why General Brown has an impressive academic record and a sterling record of service to our great nation and, of course, to the United States Air Force. 

He is a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps with the Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech. The presiding officer might like that, as well as a master's degree in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Currently, General Brown is the commanding officer and the four star general in charge of our Pacific Air Forces, all Pacific Air Forces and, of course, Mr. President, you know that that's really important, because he is literally on the front lines in implementing the National Defense Strategy, which has a focus on great power competition, particularly China, as the pacing threat to our nation for the next 50 to 100 years. General Brown is in that battle right now, [on the] frontlines every day in his current billet, so that's really important.

Prior to being commander of Pacific Air Forces, he was the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command for two years. So he knows all about the national security challenges that we have from that region of the world, which are still very significant, particularly extreme violent extremist organizations, like Al Qaeda, that continue, and ISIS, to threaten the United States.

From 2015 to 2016 he served as the U.S Air Force Central Command's combined force component air commander, where he oversaw the strategic bombing campaigns against ISIS in Iraq, in Syria, as well as operations against insurgent groups in Afghanistan. So, with a record like that, pretty remarkable. He understands the threats that we're currently facing. He understands the big challenges that we're seeing over the horizon with regard to China, and he is ready to lead the Air Force to take on those threats as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

The Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said of General Brown, “He has unmatched strategic vision, an operational expertise. His leadership will be instrumental as the Air Force continues to focus on the capabilities and talent we need to implement the National Defense Strategy.” That's the Secretary the Air Force on General CQ Brown.

In my conversations with him, I certainly believe these qualities and these characteristics that the Secretary the Air Force described to certainly be true. I've had many, many good conversations with him on strategy, strategic basing, including in the Asia-Pacific region. And I am very, very confident that, again, he is the right person for the right job at this moment.

Mr. President, I also want to mention that he will be the first African American service chief in our military's history. I've known General Brown for some time, but I was actually surprised when I realized this. Colin Powell was Chairman of Joint Chiefs. [He] did an amazing job, but we have not had an African American service chief in any of the other services in the history of the United States. I think that's very important, right now…This is a historic nomination, particularly as our country is roiling over the killing of George Floyd and the protests that are taking place peacefully now. [This] is great to demand justice for him and his family … as we look at some of the challenges we have in our nation with regard to countering racism.  

In a very moving video address last week, General Brown recently talked about what's on his mind, in terms of some of these challenges. He talks about many of the things that are on his mind, many aspects of his career. Very powerful. I would recommend people who care about these issues take a look at that very powerful speech [where] he said he was thinking about the conversations his wife of 31 years, Shereen, and his two sons, Sean and Ross, have had on these times recently, but also the immense responsibility that comes from his historic nomination. And he was thinking, of course, about how he could make our country better for others from a national security standpoint. And, with regard to other issues, Mr. President, think about that. That's a tremendous weight for anyone to carry. But I firmly believe that General Brown’s shoulders are broad and strong enough to carry this weight.

So I'm going to be voting enthusiastically “Yes” with regard to the vote we're going to take here at  2:15 this afternoon. I want encourage all of my colleagues to vote “Yes” so that we have a 100-to-0 vote for this important, impressive nomination to be the chief of staff of the United States Air Force. I yield the floor.  

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