Joint Chiefs Testimony

July 12, 2023
An American flag

Having led warfighters abroad shapes my thinking.

Air Force Gen. “CQ” (Charles Q) Brown Jr. during his nomination hearing for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Why It Matters: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is America's highest ranking military officer. The position serves as the top military advisor to the President of the United States and the National Security Council.

The term for the current Joint Chiefs' Chair (Gen. Mark Milley) will end in September and Gen. Brown is Pres. Joe Biden's choice for a replacement.

In a nomination hearing in front of the Senate's Armed Services, Gen. Brown answered a series of questions including about how he would handle recruitment challenges, whether he would recommend reinstating military members who left or were discharged due to COVID vaccine policies, concerns about munition supplies in light of the war in Ukraine, and questions about issues of "diversity, equity and inclusion" driving decisions vs. war fighting.

It's worth noting that although the Joint Chiefs serves as the top military officer in the nation, he has limitations as to what he can influence unilaterally and practically as far as policy (i.e. he can't simply force his will on different branches of the military, although he can advise).

Important Context: Currently, military nominations have not advanced in the Senate as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has blocked this process due to his unhappiness with the military policy to pay for the travel of service members who may have to go out of state to receive an abortion or other specific reproductive care. So far, more than 260 nominations, including the head of the Marine Corp., remain paused: "… the Marine Corps is operating without a Senate-confirmed commandant for the first time in 164 years." (CBS)

P.S. There is a way for the Senate to confirm all of these nominations and that is to vote on them one by one; that would be time prohibitive and a break with tradition of voting in blocs on group nominations to quickly confirm nominees, but it is possible for both the Joint Chiefs and the Marine Corp Commandant. (READ MORE)

Joint Chiefs nominee wins over lawmakers but faces uncertain fate because of senator’s hold

by Jenna Lee,